At Ciné-ONU, we believe that great films are an effective means to reach out to individuals and by doing so, raise awareness of the work of the UN. They have a unique ability to engage and inform people, transform communities and improve societies.
In 2014 we have been continuing this work, with our usual packed-out monthly screenings in Brussels as well as some highly successful events further afield.
We commenced this year’s programme with a screening of State Builders in January, which follows the UN’s efforts to help to build the new state in South Sudan. Both directors were present as well as an expert from the EU and UN for an exploratory Q&A afterwards.
To mark the International Year of Family Farming, The Moo Man himself, Stephen Hook, travelled to Brussels with director Andy Heathcote, for our screening of his provocative and heart-warming documentary, which follows an unconventional farmer who turns his back on cost-cutting dairies and supermarkets to maintain his personal relationship with his herd of 55 cows.
Cost-cutting was the theme for our March screening of The Age of Cheap, which investigates the exploitative nature of businesses who maintain profit margins whilst offering low prices at the expense of fair conditions and pay for their employees. The director and experts from the European Trade Union Conference and International Labour Organisation discussed the fact that employees’ wages tend to grow at a much slower rate than labour productivity.
In April the audience were presented with the desperate situation for Uganda’s LGBT community, as we screened Call me Kuchu. The film follows an openly gay man and an Anglican bishop who struggle against the government and societal prejudice to attempt to prevent a bill from coming into effect which could make being gay a crime punishable by death. Former MEP Michael Cashman was joined by an expert from our Human Rights office and LGBT activist Ebale Zam Martin Paul to discuss the issues presented.
Diplomacy, negotiation and state interest all came to the fore when we screened The Agreement in May. The film follows an EU peace negotiator who has the task of getting Serbia and Kosovo to reach an agreement about peaceful coexistence. The film was followed by a discussion with a member of the European External Action Service, the director, and an expert from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In June we screened Who is Dayani Cristal? - a docudrama starring Gael Garcia Bernal which explores the issue of migration and the desperate situation that many migrants find themselves in. We were privileged to have a human rights activist and two UN experts on migration and refugees in attendance for a discussion afterwards.
Our last film before the summer break was Population Boom- a film which explored the idea that our planet is overpopulated, and considered the challenges presented by the ever-growing numbers of humans- including waste management, climate change and hunger.
We returned in September, when our screening of The Captain and His Pirate challenged the audience’s understanding of Somalian piracy, as a German cargo ship captain builds a strong bond with his captor. A detailed discussion with the film director and experts from the EU and the UN elucidated the economic and political background to the situation, and the efforts made by these organisations to stabilise the region and end the culture of impunity which exists.
There was great anticipation for our October screening of Project Wild Thing, in which director David Bond becomes the marketing director for nature. He attempts to encourage children to get outside and recapture the sense of adventure that has been lost as children spend more and more time indoors with computer games and television. The screening was attended by viewers of all ages, who afterwards commented on how the film had inspired them to get outside more often and explore.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485