It’s come, it’s gone, and it’s left behind a wake of enthusiasm and inspiration. We are delighted to report that the first-ever Let’s All Be Free Film Festival was an incredible success! We got to meet all sorts of talented filmmakers, film lovers, and others excited to discuss what being free means to them. We heard from a brilliant panel of varied guest speakers; engaged them with the audience; and challenged everyone to think and rethink their assumptions about the world.
We talked with Marijn Poels about his personal journey as a filmmaker and invaluable contribution to the promotion of human rights; with Sophie Farthing, Liberty human rights lawyer and Steve Crawshaw of Amnesty International about how governmental policy impacts social justice today. Sean Baine, Chair of the Board at The Equality Trust, and Professor Richard Disney, Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, debated the merits of the free market system and whether social equality is a feasible goal. Kim Longinotto, BAFTA nominated filmmaker, treated us to her perspectives on freedom, including a short clip of a young Iranian girl finding a clever way to be heard despite the powerlessness of her situation. The second night was finished off by a personalized performance by spoken word artist Charlie Dupré, who expressed liberation from the constraints of a conscious mind.
Each of the films screened were thoughtful, potent, and stirred a sense of awe within everyone who attended. The film selection made it clear just how many places freedom (or lack thereof) resides in our daily life. During every break, people were reflecting, talking, and making new friends from all across the globe. The atmosphere was truly inspired, more so than anyone could have anticipated. This sense of excitement was renewed by the filmmaker’s panel discussion, during which we discovered the unique perspectives of this group of stellar artists.
Mark Gill (director of the BAFTA nominated The Voorman Problem, starring Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander) spoke about film in relation to audience; Sophia Bösch (director of Summers Past) expressed her hope for worldwide gender equality; Matt DiGennaro (director of This Is A Love Story) shared his views on volition and determination; Assaf Kafri (director of Raizerman) expressed the universality of human struggling and conflict; José Tadeu Bijos (co-director of Still) spoke about the financial limitations of filmmakers; Deyan Bararev (director of Botev Is An Idiot) shared his experience of facing potential censorship; and Boris Seewald (director of Momentum) reflected on the relationship between creativity and funding. We are so pleased that so many came out to support this cause, share their views, and take advantage of this remarkable open forum.
We couldn’t have created that safe space to share, think, and express without the help of our fastidious staff, committed volunteers, admirable guest speakers, and talented filmmakers. We would like to thank our panel of judges, our mediator, and all those who made long (sometimes international) trips to attend. But most of all, none of this would have been possible without our participants, those people who donated their weekend to the cause of discussing freedom. You are the heart and soul of our exploration, and we hope to continue exploring with you for many years to come.