Where the artist meets the activist
Artivist Film Festival, the first international film festival dedicated to raising awareness for Humanity; Animals; and the Environment, came to London for 48 hours. Films with subject matters ranging from asylum seekers to polar bears, were shown and discussed at The Shaw Theatre. The festival itself is in its seventh year and has showcased over 400 films, some of which like Fast Food Nation have gone on to play for large international audiences.
Loose Lips went along for the opening night and attended the screenings of Out of Sight, Out of Mind and Children of War. Both docs focused on human rights issues, with Out of Sight, Out of Mind following three asylum seeking mothers in the UK and Children of War dealing with former Ugandan child soldiers. Needless to say, both subject-matters are important and deserving of attention and the films themselves offer a good, contemporary portrayal of these issues.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind has lots of human warmth to it and the sense of the film makers genuinely caring about their subjects is at its core. The three women portrayed in it, all have incredibly moving stories to share and their presence alone is powerful enough reminder of the flaws in the system. However, the short format along with the repetitiveness in narration, made it difficult to see these stories in a greater context. What do these women want from their lives on a long-term basis? What are their future plans? All we knew was the women were struggling and finding the wait unbearable. Groundbreaking conclusion? Perhaps not. Important message? Definitely.
Children of War offered its audience more to think about, and told a number of stories of former child soldiers and the internal struggles they have to face during the rehabilitation process at a children’s centre. Issues like sexual abuse, religion, love of ones country were all touched upon and combined with the beautiful cinematography it was difficult not to be moved; even more difficult not to think beyond the film and impossible not to wonder what a long term solution could be.
There’s no doubt that Artivist is an important festival and one would hope that in time, it will expand in size and draw in bigger crowds in the UK. (not enough folks attending if you ask me.) Its subject matters aside, one of the best points about Artivist is the fact that it showcases films of varying level of technical and artistic sophistication, making it come across like there is a forum for the smallest of the indies to make themselves heard.
Definitely worth a second visit. Please check it out for yourselves!