The Foyle Film Festival Intercultural & Anti Racism Programme which took place over ten days from Wednesday 21-Friday 30 March was an outstanding success. For the seventh consecutive year, this important annual event offered primary, post-primary schools, colleges, universities, community groups, and the general public, a programme of international films, documentaries, presentations, workshops, and outreach screenings, exploring the themes and issues involved. For the first time the Intercultural & Anti-racism Programme also included outreach events in Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast, the Alley Arts Centre in Strabane, and the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.
Highlights of this year’s event included three talks by human rights activist Peter Tatchell (two in Derry – one for schools and colleges and another for the general public, and a third talk at QFT in Belfast). Peter has been campaigning for human rights for more than 40 years, on issues of democracy, civil liberties, social equality, environmental protection, peace and global justice.
Other special workshops included two in-school sessions in a local primary school and a post-primary school delivered by Beatbullying. Beatbullying is the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity, creating a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable. Additional highlights included screenings of the film The Lady which is the extraordinary story of Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The screening included an introduction and Q&A with Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK.
Mrs Doreen Lawrence launched the Foyle Film Festival Intercultural & Anti-Racism Programme on Wednesday 21 March. Mrs Lawrence has dedicated the last 18 years of her life fighting to secure justice for her murdered son Stephen, and other victims of racially motivated crime. On Tuesday 3 January this year Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Mrs Lawrence delivered an emotional talk about the impact on her life, and her family, caused by the death of her beloved son Stephen, and her subsequent fight to have his killers brought to justice.
The festival enjoyed continued support from the Tower Hotel for a number of the special guest events this year, while the fesitval’s new partnership with the Brunswick Moviebowl as sponsors of the educational screenings was a huge success. The Equality Commission supported the special visits of Mrs Doreen Lawrence and Mr Peter Tatchell to this year’s festival. The festival acknowledges the continued support of its main funders NI Screen.