You want to make a suggestion for a movie we could show at Cinema without Borders? Or maybe even hold the rights to a movie you would like to submit to our program? Wonderful! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! (Please read through the text first to judge if the film will be suitable for our audience)
What kind of movies can you watch at Cinema without Borders?
At Cinema without Borders, we show mostly movies produced in the countries of origin of refugees living in Karlsruhe. We show them in the original language with German or English subtitles. To show movies from countries with difficult social, political and economic situations often means a long research, since these countries (not all of them, Iran and Nigeria are very productive exceptions!) do not have big film industries. Producing films takes lots of technical equipment and involves many people working together for a long time. It also usually takes a lot of money and often, production coasts can only be covered through making money at the box office. But what if daily life doesn’t allow for a night at the movies? How do you shoot a film if there is no stable supply with the so much needed electricity? What if there are not safe shooting locations? What if you don’t get permissions to film because you do not tell what your government wants to hear? And finally, what kind of stories do you tell if your every day surroundings speak of hunger, cruelty and loss?
Even though films which show these painful experiences are important and deserve their space on our screens to inform people all around the world about what’s going on and what’s going wrong, we chose not to screen these movies at Cinema without Borders. The reason why is simple: we are showing movies for refugees. Refugees not only already know about what’s wrong in the country they decided to leave, they mostly went through those painful experiences themselves. They have been there, and we don’t want to put them back. We don’t want to refresh trauma and painful memories. Instead, we want to give joy and hope. That’s why at Cinema without Borders, you won’t see movies about war, the violation of human rights or human trafficking. We know those things exist and we don’t want to ignore them, but this is not the place and not the time.
How do we chose the films and what needs to be done to bring them to the big screen?
This being said, you’ll probably understand why chosing the films is not easy. Most of the few films we encounter from countries like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan deal with very heavy and serious subjects. One thing we do is to talk to refugees here in Karlsruhe to find out about their favourite movies. Since film is such a universal medium, the titles they name come from all over the world. Some are from Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry), but also from Korea, France or their country of origin. At the same time, we do research on the internet. Once we find a promising title – either because someone tells us about a movie or because we find reviews and recommendations online, we try to find the production company or the international right’s holder for theatrical screenings (if there is no German distributor). We contact them, tell them about our project, ask if they think the film is suitable and wait for an answer. We also contact film festivals and initiatives with similar aims, and they are usually very helpful. Once we get a general positive reply, we ask for a screening link to watch the movie beforehand and of course also need to find out about the screening conditions: how expensive will it be? Is the movie available on DCP (digital cinema package, the standard file format for digital projection at the movie theatre), 35mm, BluRay or DVD? Which language versions exist? Are there subtitles? And so on. We might do this for 30 films or more in order to find one that fits. Yet, it makes us very happy to find treasures and share them with you!