There are people who accept to have their lives controlled by others and who, in various shapes and forms, become complacent with a given state of affairs, they learn the rules of the game and try to employ them as adroitly as they can in order to survive or to lead a comfortable life. These masses are what every political regime, be it democratic or authoritarian, relies on. However, there are also people or groups who from different reasons — either because they belong to underprivileged or marginalised social categories and are confronted daily with the problems of a certain political system, or by virtue of their own beliefs in abstract ideals which they would like to bring into fruition — challenge the established social order at a given moment in time and strive to reshape it to match their own vision.
This festival programme aims to celebrate those who fall under the latter category, citizens from all over the world who will not accept defeat, who believe they can bring change to the societies they are part of and who still hold on to ideals. Admittedly, they may be wrong in fighting for political systems that in the long run come up short or, worse, become atrocious. It wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. But without them progress would not be possible, either on a large scale, or in the particular issues society faces.
Whether it’s the neighbours from the Spanish film “The Divide”, who despite living from hand to mouth decide to oppose the municipality’s attempts to evict them from the already unsanitary housing where they live together with their families, or the activists from “Kinshasa Makambo” and their fight to bring democracy to their native Congo, whose president has been putting new elections off for years and responds to protesters with gunfire, the people and their stories depicted in the documentaries featured here have earned our admiration and respect. These men and women, who sometimes risk their own lives and make personal sacrifices that many of us would not be able to bear, represent real-life role-models of civic engagement who deserve to be commended, supported and emulated.