The Movies that Matter Festival announces its dates, a brand-new shorts strand and a special focus on Afghan cinema
- This year’s gathering will welcome prominent Afghan filmmakers Sahra Mani, Aboozar Amini and Dawood Hilmandi
This year’s edition of the Movies that Matter Festival will take place from 8-16 April in The Hague, in cinemas across the Netherlands and online. Over the course of nine days, the event will present over 80 documentaries and feature-length fiction films from around the world, along with debates, Q&A sessions and educational programmes. The new theme, “Take on Afghanistan”, will showcase urgent films from and about Afghanistan that deserve even more attention in light of recent events.
The first main guest is director Sahra Mani, who fled Kabul last year. Her latest film, A Thousand Girls Like Me (2019), won over 25 awards worldwide. Aboozar Amini (Kabul, City in the Wind [+see also:
film profile]) will also be taking part in the festival. One of the few filmmakers to return to Afghanistan after his training, he is one of the emerging talents forming part of a new wave of Afghan cinema. The third guest, Dutch-Afghan helmer Dawood Hilmandi, started his film career with Bekhawy (2009), which was screened at IFFR. Movies that Matter will put the three guests in the spotlight through retrospectives of their film works. They will also present their new efforts in master classes and take part in panel discussions with, among others, other Afghan makers.
“We want to give filmmakers who have to work under particularly difficult circumstances the attention and support they need. Especially now, it is important that independent stories from a country where censorship rules reach the entire world,” said Margje de Koning, the artistic director of the gathering.
Alongside “Take on Afghanistan”, this year’s edition will feature four other focuses. “Take on Future” will dissect the dilemmas of the transition to a sustainable future. “Take on Love” promises to be “a colourful, diverse and sparkling themed programme about the right to be yourself and love who you want”. “Take on Power” will showcase pictures about “unequal power relations, and about people who take on forces and structures that seem bigger than themselves”. Finally, in “Take on Voices”, the focus will be on freedom of speech, giving a voice to journalists, festival organisers, filmmakers, activists and artists whose rights are restricted.
For the second time, two international juries will decide on the winners of the Grand Jury Documentary Award and the Grand Jury Fiction Award, given out in competitions “where cinematography and content go hand in hand”. Both accolades consist of a €5,000 cash prize. Meanwhile, the Activist Competition will include eight documentaries revolving around the work of human rights activists, Camera Justitia will centre on the importance of the rule of law and the fight against impunity, whilst Dutch Movies Matter is set to celebrate local films that aim to open people’s eyes to human rights, with no fewer than six world premieres. A new strand debuting in 2022 is that of the Shorts Competition, showcasing shorts about social issues and human rights. Finally, for the Students’ Choice Award, three films will be eligible, and the winner will be chosen by a student jury from the University of Leiden.
The 2022 Movies that Matter Festival is made possible by the National Postcode Lottery, and partners such as Amnesty International, the ASN Foundation, Creative Europe – MEDIA, the Municipality of The Hague, Fonds 1818, Fonds 21, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Oak Foundation, vfonds, VEVAM and VSBfonds. The main media partners are Trouw and BNNVARA.
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