About the Festival
AGITPROP is an international festival of films that promote genuine peoples’ struggles all over the world. It takes the role of giving a much needed venue for films and filmmakers that dare present social realities, often silenced and confused by the dominant modes and channels of information. It is for films that take on the issue of imperialism and neoliberal globalization, resistance and liberation struggles, genuine democracy, human rights, and social justice among others.
BACKGROUND | Throughout the world, living conditions of majority of people remain difficult. Workers still don’t receive decent wages, farmers and peasants remain enslaved by feudal relations, indigenous peoples are driven away from their ancestral lands. Similarly, human rights violations are widespread even in so-called democratic societies. For these reasons, people have learned to stand up and fight. Unfortunately, however, the brave struggles of people oftentimes fail to reach its much-needed popular support because they don’t figure prominently in mainstream and commercial mass media. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of filmmakers and media activists who go out of their way to film these peoples’ struggles in the hope of spreading information and ideas that will lead to mobilizing people to support the plight of the oppressed. Through their works, we are able to hear and see social realities silenced and confused by the dominant modes and channels of information and imagination.
It is within this context that a festival of films about genuine peoples struggles is being organized. Through this festival, we seek to present alternatives to popular modes of imagining the nation and the world. To be featured in the festival are films about struggles in different countries. Through these films, we aim to cover the battles in two fronts: the reel and real. The name of the festival borrows the title of the educational campaign launched in Russia in the 1920s. It takes inspiration from AGITPROP’s position of promoting counter discourses through cinema, which is widely recognized for its crucial role in collective political mobilization. Ultimately, it recognizes that the visual is a critical site of struggle where the truth about our collective aspiration for a just and humane society is at stake.
Furthermore, the festival will be a venue where we can consolidate global efforts to produce a kind of cinema that is not only independent but also liberating. We’ve learned and validated from the history of our struggle that victories are won through committed collective action and this very much applies to cultural battles. As we drumbeat pressing issues such as human rights, welfare of the working class, and freedom from oppression among others, we also champion the cause of progressive artists and filmmakers who are encumbered by limited exhibition spaces for works teeming with artistic brilliance and social value and conscience. We seek to give them the audience they deserve in this festival. The screenings will be free of charge to accommodate more people. Simultaneously, we also provide filmmakers an opportunity to reach out to one another in the hope of forging unity in issues and concerns in their sector.
The 1st AGITPROP FILM FESTIVAL was first held in July 2-4 2011 at the University of the Philippines Diliman. It was organized alongside two historic occasions—the first International Festival on People’s Rights and Struggles (IFPRS) and the 4th International Assembly of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS).
The ILPS is an international organization which at present includes more than 350 member organizations from over 40 countries. The IFPRS, on the other hand, is an initiative of ILPS member organizations to give venue for the exchanges between sectoral groups around the word on issues of human rights, livelihood, welfare, women’s rights, culture, environment, and social justice, among others. Both events seek to forge a stronger and broader solidarity among organizations and individuals, including artists and cultural workers, in the struggle to advance and defend the people’s genuine democratic rights and aspirations throughout the world.
The first AGITPROP will feature a total of 30 entries including award winning films such as “Cultures of Resistance (U.S.),” “Mirage of El Dorado (Canada),” “The Yes Men Fix the World (U.S.),” and “DUKOT/Disappeared (Philippines).”
The 2nd AGITPROP FILM FESTIVAL will be held on November 11-12 at the University of the Philippines in Metro Manila. Afterwards, it will tour different parts of the country, especially in universities. It is open to anyone or any organization from any country willing to promote and mount the festival outside of the Philippines.
Proponents of the 2nd AGITPROP Film Festival
Organizers: ST eXposure in cooperation with PinoyMedia Center, Inc | AlterMidya
Program partner: EngageMedia
Co-presentors: CONTEND-UP | STAND-UP | Artists’ ARREST | Republika Katagalugan | International Festival on People’s Rights and Struggles
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