Movies That Matter Festival – The Hague March 2010

I will be attending the “Movies That Matter Festival” for the first time this year.
The Festival proposes an impressive list of fictions and documentaries on human rights.



The Movies that Matter Festival has taken the place of the Amnesty International Film Festival, ten editions of which took place in Amsterdam. In 2009 the festival moved to The Hague, city of peace and justice.
The Movies that Matter Festival is the Netherlands’ main platform for engaged cinema, with dozens of documentaries and movies of inspired film makers being screened every year. Films that stir the debate about human rights, human dignity and situations where these are at stake. The films often have their first and final screening at the festival.
Apart from the regular film programme an elaborate “in-depth” programme of talk shows and debates, among other things, enables the audience to exchange views with international human rights defenders, film makers, politicians and journalists.

The festival features a festive opening night, an award ceremony on the closing night, an educational programme, special private screenings and activities related to the festival, such as a photo gallery, a play and music performances. Thanks to the support of our partners, a selection of festival films find their way to television and the Internet, and go on a national roadshow in February, March and April.

The festival has two main sections: A Matter of ACT, Amnesty International’s competition programme consisting of ten documentaries that deal with remarkable human rights defenders, and Camera Justitia, the competition programme featuring films on international justice. The latter is organized in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Justice.

Each year a variety of themes are covered. This year’s edition puts the spotlight on gay rights, migration and moving. A selection of the best IDFA human rights documentaries and impressive human rights movies brought to the big screen in 2009, will also be presented.


Unlike other festivals the Movies that Matter Festival presents elaborate in-depth programmes for most film screenings.
In debates, Q&A sessions, workshops, talk shows, seminars and masterclasses visitors can enter into conversation with national and international guests. These programmes also inform the public about, for example, the film’s background and the choices that have been made during its shooting. The contribution of representatives from the world of theatre, politics, science and business, to name but a few, often leads to surprising discussions that give the audience a panoramic view of the subject.


The successful Movies that Matter Festival in April 2009, the first edition that took place in The Hague, was inaugurated by princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, in the presence of mayor Jozias van Aartsen. US broadcasting network CNN extensively covered the festival. Click here to view the broadcast.
More than forty short and long film screenings alternated with debates and talk shows on a daily basis, with the participation of numerous international guests, among which Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo and State Secretary for Justice Nebahat Albayrak.
The masterclass by minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin was attended by students of international law from all over the country. The masterclass is an annually recurrent programme event. The 2009 festival also featured a special screening of the movie Wit Licht, followed by singer/actor Marco Borsato presenting the first edition of the book War Child to deputy mayor Frits Huffnagel.

The 2009 prize for Best Documentary in the A Matter of ACT programme went to Anders Østergaard for Burma VJ. Etweda Cooper was awarded the Golden Butterfly for being the most imposing and inspiring human rights defender portrayed in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell.
The Silver Butterfly for best film in the Camera Justitia programme went to Patricio Lanfranco for The Judge and the General.
In the youth competitions the Students’ Choice Award and the Movie Squad All Rights Award were awarded to Resolution 819 by Giacomo Battiato and Burma VJ by Anders Østergaard, respectively.
The Heart of Jenin by Leon Geller and Marcus Vetter received the public award. This film will be broadcast on television late March 2010.

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