EU National Institutes for Culture - EUNIC


First edition of the International Community Film Festival

Can you imagine a place where historically marginalized communities in Colombia teach an international audience what it means to build peace through art? An event where they are not only the protagonists but the hosts, and where their stories are the ones being understood and discussed?

Although the ex-combatant population has received significant international support for projects that allow them to meet immediate economic needs, cultural opportunities are limited or nonexistent. The first International Community Film Festival is an opportunity to bring the reality of the ex-combatants amid a cultural offer that engages the young population. The festival promotes the creation of audiences in these new generations and has a pedagogical offer tailored to them.

There is a need for peace-building through a camera.

Maria Fernanda Pinilla Segura, producer of La Rotativa

EUNIC Colombia has had a year-long alliance with Historias en Kilómetros (HEK) and the Colombian Truth Commission (CTC). Together they have trained community filmmakers to become sustainable production companies. These filmmakers are now ready to host this festival. Tierra Grata, Cesar, will host this unique gathering, a community born with the Colombian peace process, where former FARC guerrillas laid down their weapons and transitioned to civilian life. This festival will bring together local production companies from the regions most affected by the armed conflict to show the work they have created with the CTC.

An international network of community film makers building peace through art

They will have horizontal conversations with Colombian and international experts in disciplines relevant to the social challenges portrayed in their films. This event will have screenings of national and international documentaries selected by a jury of Colombian and international experts. It will host panel discussions with social representatives on how film can represent a community's resistance and a peaceful future.

This festival will serve as an annual meeting for an international network of community filmmakers. Primary audience of the project are the communities affected by the armed conflict in Colombia: ex-combatants, Afro-Colombian men and women, indigenous communities, farmers, LGBTIQ communities, and the urban youth. The local producers come from these communities and have become their cultural representatives.

The most important innovative aspect of the project is creating a horizontal relationship between local Colombian producers and national and international professionals, allowing the Festival to be built on a bilateral basis. In terms of content, the activities are designed in conjunction with the community of Tierra Grata, who will host the festival and present its own stories to international filmmakers. The decentralized location chosen allows the festival to reach areas where there is a lack of cultural projects due to scarce resources. It reinforces the institutional presence in these territories and makes them visible for international social initiatives.

Holding this festival in this space is being able to tell society that the peace process is a success. Being able to show Colombian society and the children who grew up seeing their parents in arms, who are now hosting a community film festival. It is the possibility of starting to build a new history and narrative through culture.

Yarledis Olaya, community leader of Tierra Grata

Tierra Grata is the first community of ex-combatants to consolidate itself thanks to its self-management. With the help of the EU, it has become "the first city of peace." In addition, the inhabitants of the Tierra Grata and neighboring villages will host the guests and provide the food and all other products for all the festival's needs. The Festival aims to become a reference for cultural initiatives for peace processes for the guest countries amid their own peace processes.

Whilst preparing the final proposal, the project team's visit to Tierra Grata was essential for developing the methodology for the first edition of the festival, as the different actors involved in the project met and worked face-to-face. Together, they contributed to the construction of the proposal and ensured the different actors involved were at the same starting point regarding how they viewed, understood, and planned to achieve this project.

The main result of the visit was that it allowed the international community to get to know the Tierra Grata territory, its history, and its organizational processes. All actors involved developed and defined the main objectives and activities that will take place during the festival, guaranteeing a sustainable impact, and with that, the central role each of the partners will play based on a horizontal dialogue.

Co-funded by the European Union Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.