By labf

we the peoples film festival

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to David Wardrop from We The Peoples Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

The We the Peoples film festival is an annual event and a project of the United Nations Association Westminster Branch.

It sets out to screen films linked to the United Nations Three Pillars of Freedom: freedom from want, freedom from fear, and the freedom to live in dignity.

Best Film awards relate to these subjects and also to the environment and the rapprochement of civilisations.

Other annual projects are our International Law lecture and our conference to mark the International day of UN Peacekeepers which incorporates a diplomatic wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph.

we the peoples film festival
The winners of the annual #TweetAPitch competition.

How was your Festival created?

It started in 2004 as the Stories from the Field festival, using films screened at the New York film festival of the same name.

It adopted its current name in the following year which use the opening words of the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations.

Over the years, we have screened about 150 films.   

we the peoples film festival
Attendees at a Q&A session.

Describe your Festival in three words:

Humanity, challenges, justice.

we the peoples film festival
A full house at We The Peoples Film Festival.

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

There are too few festivals which are focused on the issues underpinning both festivals.

We all benefit through cooperation and we look forward to promoting the Let’s All Be Free festival in October.   

we the peoples film festival
The winner of the 2014 awards: Best Short Film & Best Director.

What does being free mean to you?

Knowing that boundaries do exist but that it can only be reason which determines whether these should be tested and, if necessary, breached.

we the peoples film festival
All the wonderful volunteers.

THE we the peoples FILM FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE novemBER 5-21, 2016. FIND OUT MORE: wethepeoples.org.uk
Tony Hawks

“Meet the Patrons” with Tony Hawks

We caught up with Tony Hawks to find out more about being a Patron for LABF…


What made you consider being a patron for LABF?

I’ve been to the Festival before, and I’m an admirer of its aims.

tony hawks
Tony on set of his film “Round Ireland with a Fridge” – based on his bestselling book.

How do your values correspond with the message of the Festival?

I’m a big believer in questioning everything without blindly following, simply because it’s the ‘norm’. I think this Festival encourages and nurtures free thinking.

tony hawks
Tony speaking at TEDxChisinau.

What compelled you to do the kind of work you do?

It’s in my heart. If I didn’t do it as a profession, I’d be doing a version of it as a hobby. I’m lucky to be getting away with it as a job!

tony hawks
Tony appearing on BBC Breakfast discussing his latest film, “Playing The Moldovans At Tennis”.

If you had to choose one thing that made you feel free, what would that be?

Thinking and expressing myself without persecution.

tony hawks
Tony on BBC’s “Have I Got News For You”.

If you could send one message to the whole world, what would that message be?

Work out what you really want. If that’s a peaceful happy world, then question everything that is done in the world (including everyday business and trade) and ask if that leads to the end goal you want.

tony hawks
Tony with Titch the micro pig on a charity cycle ride.

What does being free mean to you?

Being able to challenge and question without having to live in fear.


TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR LABF FESTIVAL 2016.. GRAB YOURS NOW!
HANNAH KHALIL

“Meet the Judges” with Hannah Khalil

We caught up with Hannah Khalil to find out more about being a Judge for LABF…


Tell us about yourself.

I am a Palestinian-Irish playwright living and working in London.

Last year I wrote my first short film script and it won a screenwriting award at the Underwire Film Festival.

We are currently in pre-production for that and I’m learning a huge amount about what is involved in making films and my respect for my filmmaking colleagues – which was already immense – is growing and growing.

Last of the Pearl Fishers
Hannah’s play “Last of the Pearl Fishers” featured on BBC Radio 4.

What makes a good film in your eyes?

A great story that is told in a way that could only be on screen. The idea has to be served by the medium.

Plan D
“Plan D” was nominated for the Meyer Whitworth Award.

What made you want to be a judge for Let’s All Be Free?

I’ve come to every iteration of the festival since it started and been constantly surprised and delighted by the breadth of content I have seen.

This opportunity to get up close and personal with a lot of short films and discover some filmmaking talent is too exciting to miss.

bitterenders
Her play “Bitterenders” won the Sandpit Arts’ Bulbul 2013 competition.

If you could change the world in one way, what would it be?

That’s not an easy question at all. There are too many things I’d like to change.

Let’s say I’d make it a world in which I’d be able to answer every question my very inquisitive and sensitive four-year-old asks honestly – that there would be nothing dark or injustice that I’d have to hide from her.

Scenes from 68* Years
Her latest play “Scenes from 68* Years” received numerous 5 star reviews.

What does being free mean to you?

It means a number of things, it means knowing that my family and friends are physically safe – not in danger, to be in a position where you don’t need to worry about such things is an immense privilege and an immense freedom.

Also having time to make work as well as having family and friends close by to support me.

The Scar Test
Her new stage play is “The Scar Test” produced by Untold Theatre which will tour the UK in autumn 2016.

TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR LABF FESTIVAL 2016.. GRAB YOURS NOW!

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to Ariana Cohen-Halberstam from Boston Jewish Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents films on Jewish themes. These films show the richness and diversity of the Jewish experience both today and throughout history.

We believe deeply in the importance of post-screen conversations so bring filmmakers and other special guests to Boston for Festival Q+As.

The Festival takes place during 2 weeks every November but the Boston Jewish Film Festival also has programs around the year – from previews and stand-alone screenings to an encore series in the summer.

boston jewish film festival
Cast and crew from the film “Dough” on stage speaking about their film.

How was your Festival created?

The Boston Jewish Film Festival was founded in 1989 by filmmaker Michal Goldman.

When Goldman founded the Festival, she thought it would be a one-time event which would exhibit the diversity of Jewish experiences and perspectives.

But the films and the programs around them were so enthusiastically received that  the Festival has continued to grow over the past 28 years.

boston jewish film festival
Attendees arriving for Opening Night 2015.

Describe your Festival in three words:

Art, community, conversation.

boston jewish film festival
A full crowd!

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

Like Let’s All Be Free, the BJFF believes that film has the power to help create a better world.

We hope to broaden people’s understanding of others’ lives and do so by showing unique, important stories on screen alongside more familiar reflections of our own lives.

So many of the films in the BJFF are about people who are working to create a better, freer world so a partnership with Let’s All Be Free was an obvious one!

boston jewish film festival
Artistic Director, Ariana Cohen-Halberstam and Board President, Denise Widman.

What does being free mean to you?

Freedom means being able to share ideas and beliefs openly and to live without persecution or fear of persecution.

boston jewish film festival
Attendees having fun at the FreshFlix Short Film Competition and Party.

THE boston jewish FILM FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE NOVEMBER 9-21, 2016. FIND OUT MORE: bjff.org
PINAR OGUN

“Meet the Patrons” with Pinar Ögün

We caught up with Pinar Ögün to find out more about being a Patron for LABF…


What made you consider being a patron for LABF?

I met Tariq through Hannah Khalil. I was one of the performers in her play about Palestine entitled “Scenes From 68 Years” at the Arcola Theatre. Tariq came to see the show and heard about my story through lovely Hannah.

After my training as an actress at LAMDA, I went back to my country Turkey in 2009, and continued working there as an actress. In 2011, I portrayed the real life story of a well-known activist Turkish doctor, Türkan Sayan on TV for 26 episodes and that made me a recognised actress in my country.

After this TV show, together with my husband, we decided to produce and work together on “Mi Minor”, a play written by Meltem Arikan. He directed and played the lead and I played the female lead in it. It was well received but not ended in a way that one could ever expect.

We were accused of rehearsing Istanbul Gezi Park Protests, the biggest environmental protest of the Turkish history in June 2013. Our lives turned upside down after the accusations. We decided to leave the country for our own safety and since then we have been living in the UK.

pinar ogun
Pinar in “Scenes from 68 Years” at the Arcola Theatre, which received 3 Off West End nominations.

I guess this short summary of my absurd story was parallel with what Tariq was trying to build with his festival Let’s All Be Free.

If you are not restricted in any way, or witness someone experiencing restriction you wouldn’t even think about what being free would mean to you. So it is actually a responsibility to think what it is in order to realise what is going on not just around you but also globally.

Once you realise that there are so many layers of obscure limitations around the world you begin to understand that it needs to be challenged and questioned all the time. That’s why platforms around this very issue have vital importance.

I feel privileged to be a patron of Let’s All Be Free, which I believe has the potential to bring people together around the thought of “being free” as a concept to be further discussed.

How do your values correspond with the message of the Festival?

I believe being free is a state of mind. Expressing one’s personal point of view and boundaries around issues, always have the potential to expand to a universal level and bring awareness that could connect people globally.

Without freedom of thought and expression we can not question what it means to be free or what being free means.

So in my opinion, the message of the festival integrates perfectly with the values of people in the creative industry including myself because self-censoring is a major issue.

And I believe LABF is holding the curtain up for those who challenge the sector as well as the ongoing system.

The sector has been heading towards a risk-free creativity in order to meet the expectations of the industry. Approval, which is simply ticking the boxes, is becoming the major concern for creative people. It shouldn’t be this way. We can break the chain and challenge these fears.

pinar ogun
Pinar in “Türken” – a Turkish TV series set in Istanbul.

What compelled you to do the kind of work you do?

Besides working as a professional actress, I am also the founder of Be Aware Productions. We aim to produce works with an international dimension and appeal that explore, challenge and expand the limits of the discipline in which they are produced.

My focus as a creative is mostly about how women either knowingly or unknowingly choose to act in certain ways in order to fit into the society. The first production of Be Aware, my first short film “Exhibit” was around this very issue. Now I am working on a feature film that focuses on similar concepts and we are in the process of pre-production.

We are also producing a live performance entitled “Enough is Enough” to tour around Wales. The show circulates around the issues of violence against women in the form of a gig.

I very much enjoy being in the process of generating an idea into a production. And I guess this is what compels me to do the kind of work I do.

pinar ogun
Pinar directing her first short film, “Exhibit”, which premiered at Cannes Short Film Corner.

If you had to choose one thing that made you feel free, what would that be?

Voicing what doesn’t make me feel free is what makes me feel free.

If you could send one message to the whole world, what would that message be?

Never underestimate the power of your own voice.

pinar ogun
Pinar with her husband, Memet Ali.

What does being free mean to you?

Being free is a personal responsibility.


tickets are now on sale for LABF Festival 2016.. Grab yours now!
Global Peace Film Festival

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to Nina Streich from Global Peace Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

The Global Peace Film Festival, established in 2003, uses the power of the moving image to further the cause of peace on earth.

From the outset, the GPFF envisioned “peace” not as the absence of conflict but as a framework for channeling, processing and resolving conflict through respectful and non-violent means.

People of good faith have real differences that deserve to be discussed, debated and contested. GPFF works to connect expression – artistic, political, social and personal – to positive, respectful vehicles for action and change.

The festival program is carefully curated to create a place for open dialogue, using the films as catalysts for change.

Global Peace Film Festival
Filmmakers at the Filmmakers Party.

How was your Festival created?

The GPFF was founded in response to the Iraq War with the first festival taking place in the year the war started. Since then, it has sought to inform and inspire the local community to get involved with action for peace and environmental sustainability.

The festival is based in Central Florida, very near the Pulse nightclub. The 2016 festival is dedicated to Orlando’s diverse community and to its inspiring response to that terrible tragedy.

Since 2012, there has also been an online component of the festival showing mainly short films that are available through the GPFF website 24/7 throughout the week of the festival.

Global Peace Film Festival
Attendees on the red carpet at the Opening Night Party.

Describe your Festival in three words:

Wow! That’s hard…  Engaging, provocative, inspiring.

Global Peace Film Festival
A panel discussion at Global Peace Film Festival.

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

There is a similarity to the missions of our festivals and we can help expand our audiences by partnering.

Global Peace Film Festival
A full house at Global Peace Film Festival.

What does being free mean to you?

Being free means living life to the fullest, with love and respect for all of humanity. Peace and freedom go hand in hand.

Global Peace Film Festival
Students learning about Global Peace Film Festival.

THE global peace FILM FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE september 19-26, 2016. FIND OUT MORE: peacefilmfest.org
ECU Film Festival

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to Scott Hillier from ÉCU Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival discovers, projects and promotes the best indie films from around the World. We are based in Paris and will be celebrating our 12th year in April 2017.

Every year we project around 100 of the best indie films from all over the planet during our 3-day main event in Paris.

After the festival we embark on our ‘ÉCU-On-The-Road’ tour which get’s our award-winning films a global tour and helps them to reach audiences they would normally not reach thanks to our more then 70 partners.

We pride ourselves on being a filmmakers festival – ÉCU IS run by filmmakers and we remain dedicated to helping indie filmmakers find and develop their creative talents.

ECU Film Festival
Opening night of ÉCU Film Festival 2016.

How was your Festival created?

ÉCU was founded by indie film director Scott Hillier in 2006.

Scott is an award winning film director (Behind the eyes of war) who spent several years as a war cameraman for The BBC, was the cinematographer of the Academy-Award winning documentary Twin Towers (2003) and has directed documentaries (National Geographic, Discovery Channel), commercials (GE) as well as theatre (Deadman’s Mail).

He believed that there was a market that wasn’t being served in Europe along the lines of Sundance and decided that there was a need for a festival that supported filmmakers that were on the fringe, worked hard, made great films but didn’t receive the recognition that they deserved.

ECU Film Festival
Interviewing filmmakers at ÉCU Film Festival 2016.

Describe your Festival in three words:

Indie. Open. Exceptional.

ECU Film Festival
Hitting the streets of Paris to spread the word about the ÉCU Film Festival.

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

We believe that there is nothing more important in a film festival then the films, and the filmmakers, themselves.

Hence we believe that collaboration is important in helping to discover and promote great cinema to as many people as we possibly can.

Let’s All Be Free seems to be a great fit for us – we don’t like boundaries and closed mindedness.

ECU Film Festival
Winning filmmakers receiving their awards.

What does being free mean to you?

Free to express. Free to create. Free to beat our fears.

ECU Film Festival
The ÉCU team at Cannes 2016.

THE ÉCU FILM FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE APRIL 21-23, 2017. FIND OUT MORE: ecufilmfestival.com
FOTFF NORDIC

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to Linnea Larsdotter from Nordic International Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

NIFF is a free film festival in New York, focusing on new and emerging films.

We have two categories for Nordic films, and we work hard to build and create an inspiring environment for filmmakers from all over the world.

nordic international film festival
One of the Festival’s many talented filmmakers.

How was your Festival created?

NIFF was founded by John Matton and Linnea Larsdotter, two Swedish filmmakers residing in New York.

Through their own festival seasons with their productions, they saw an opportunity to create a hub for Nordic and international films.

nordic international film festival
John Matton (Festival Director) and Linnea Larsdotter (Creative Director).

Describe your Festival in three words:

Nordic. Innovative. Premieres.

nordic international film festival
The busy red carpet at last year’s Festival.

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

We believe that films should be watched by as many people as possible, and by providing an excellent screening experience, we can give independent filmmakers an opportunity to share their work with a larger audience.

nordic international film festival
A couple members of the Nordic International Film Festival team.

What does being free mean to you?

We have a responsibility towards both the filmmakers and the audience. They should all feel individually seen and invited, and by being free, we can make sure that financial differences will have no effect on sharing and seeing good films.

nordic international film festival
One of the winning films from last year.

THE NORDIC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL TAKES PLACE OCTOBER 28-30, 2016. FIND OUT MORE: nordicfilmfest.org
FOTFF CITIZEN JANE

“Friends of the Festival” Friday!

This week we speak to Barbie Banks from Citizen Jane Film Festival…


Tell us about your Festival:

The Citizen Jane Film Festival, an intimate, four-day film festival celebrating and showcasing the work of female filmmakers from around the world, takes place November 3-6, in downtown Columbia, Mo., and features some of the best in independent filmmaking, filmmaker panels, workshops, and parties.

Founded at Stephens College, the second oldest women’s college in the country, Citizen Jane is changing opportunities for women in film through an internationally known Film Festival, Film Series and a Filmmaking Camp for young women.

Through education, connection, and artistic/unique experiences, Citizen Jane celebrates independent film by independent women.

citizen jane film festival
The Festival partners with the Stephens College Dance Department who put on performances throughout the Festival.

How was your Festival created?

Citizen Jane was created by a few Stephens College professors.  They wanted to showcase stories by women and give the students a real world experience running a festival.

9 years later we are still accomplishing these goals.  The festival would not be possible without the dedication of the students who put in hour after hour of work.

citizen jane film festival
The Citizen Jane Film School panel.

Describe your Festival in three words:

Feminist. Transformative. Home.

citizen jane film festival
Attendees at the Sneak Peak Party.

What compelled you to partner with Let’s All Be Free?

When reading the mission of LABF we thought… well that is what we are trying to do too!  So it just made sense to partner with an organization across the pond that is working towards the same goals.

citizen jane film festival
Attendees of all ages enjoying the films.

What does being free mean to you?

Being free is being in a place where saying yes, has little risk and only reward.

citizen jane film festival
Signing up to volunteer at the Festival.

The citizen Jane film festival takes place november 3-6, 2016. find out more: citizenjanefilmfestival.org
pinar ogun

What Is The Definition of Being Free?

Our Patron Pinar Ögün discusses what she thinks the definition of being free could be…


The answer to this question becomes even more difficult to answer when you face restrictions, censorship, banning, or discrimination or furthermore when your voice just echoes in the emptiness and there is simply no one to hear it.

The more you think of limitations and boundaries, the more you realise that we are all trapped in a vicious circle as human beings.

It is simply endless to question the boundaries to be free and sometimes you would either be ignored or silenced when you speak the truth.

Because truth does not come with a style, it is always very simple and raw and so it is so hard, almost impossible for people to accept it.

Revealing, expressing, voicing the truth may break the chain and disturb the ongoing routine of life and you may end up as an outcast of the society, and put yourself in a vulnerable position.

Being free is the most difficult state of mind.

It could be just a moment of peace within oneself.

And so for me creating that moment of liberation is the first step of being an artist.

I believe the result most of the time is: unique.

There are endless stories, thoughts that may actually make a difference but we are so compressed with obligations and restricted with certain way of expressing ourselves that most of the time we lose the essence of why we want to tell a story or need to do it.

We seek for a constant approval, rather then making a point.

We are so afraid to offend that we would rather stay put.

We avoid taking risks and so become null most of the time.

We sometimes feel like we are free, afraid to question anything and then we teach ourselves to get along with it.

In some situations, it’s so difficult to identify violence, and that is because we never had the chance to observe the loop we were trained to survive.

That is why it is crucial to portray our vision, thoughts, experiences to spread it and make it available for others to observe and begin to ask questions.

Whichever way or form we choose to express what triggered us, it will end up challenging the viewers and that would make us one of a kind.

In other words: out of the box.

Let’s All Be Free Festival simply exists for you, and it is now in its fourth year.

I feel privileged to be a part of this Festival as the main reason for its existence is for us to exchange these thoughts around being free.

Today most festivals have developed a certain way of accepting projects. For them in order to be a storyteller, you need to work on their way of story-listening.

Ticking the boxes should not be the purpose of art. And short films should not be just a teaser for developing feature projects for potential filmmakers.

That’s why Let’s All Be Free is important for you as an artist to deliver your statement with a unrestricted form of art that is a short film.


Article written by Pinar Ögün