Racism, discrimination and Russia’s anti-gay laws are just some of the topics that will be explored as part of this year’s Foyle Film Festival’s Intercultural and Anti-Racism programme, which began yesterday and continues all this week.
Working with schools, universities, colleges and community groups the annual festival encourages children and young people, through the medium of film, to explore local and global issues like war, human rights abuses, and the environment. It is also aimed at raising awareness around issues such as racism, discrimination and harassment - including racist bullying.
Highlights of the main programme, open to members of the general public, include a screening of the powerful Channel 4 Dispatches documentary ‘Hunted’ this Fridayin the Nerve Centre Cinema. The documentary demonstrates, in shocking and harrowing terms, how gay men in Russia are being ‘hunted’ by vigilante gangs and beaten up because of their sexuality. Investigative reporter Liz Mackean will introduce the documentary and take part in a post screening discussion.
Liz Mackean specialised in Northern Irish politics and the peace process. Controversially her investigation into Jimmy Savile, which uncovered evidence he was a serial child abuser, was dropped by the BBC. Despite it not being aired, Liz and her colleague won a prestigious London Press Club award for Scoop of the Year.
Another highlight includes a screening of BAFTA and Emmy Award winning director John Pilger’s new film ‘Utopia’, which will be screened today in the Nerve Centre. It provides a powerful insight into a secret Australia and breaks what amounts to a national silence about the indigenous first people - the oldest, most enduring presence on earth.
As part of the five-day programme primary school pupils will enjoy a screening of ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and a host of hands-on digital workshops challenging them to create their own soundtrack and animated super heroes.
Special post-primary screenings include some of this year’s biggest releases; ‘The Book Thief’, ‘Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom’ and ‘The Butler’.
This year’s festival will also be extended into the Nerve Centre’s FabLab which is offering free activity sessions on Saturday, April 5 as part of its new parent and child Maker Club.
Young creatives, aged eight and up, and their parents will have the opportunity to use the latest in digital fabrication technology, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, 3D routers, vinyl cutters and milling machines to create almost anything they can imagine - turning ideas into reality!
Bernie McLaughlin, festival director and programmer said: ‘This year’s Intercultural & Anti-Racism Programme offers something for all ages and tastes across two main venues - Nerve Centre and Brunswick Moviebowl - with additional events taking place in primary and post-primary schools and colleges throughout the city and beyond. We’ve brought together a wide-ranging programme of thought-provoking films and documentaries from around the world that will prompt some interesting conversations’.
Foyle Film Festival Intercultural & Anti-Racism Programme is a project of the Nerve Centre and is funded by DCAL through Northern Ireland Screen. Its venue partner is Brunswick Moviebowl.