Another international guest at the festival is Memona Mohamed from Pedro Pérez Rosado's film Wilaya (2011). The film takes place in the Wilaya de Smara refugee encampment in Algeria. The Sahrawi people escaped occupation in Western Sahara and have lived at refugee camps since 1975, almost completely forgotten by the international community and the UN, and with no right for self-determination. The film follows Fatimetu, a young woman who was sent to Spain for adoption as a child, but who returns to the camp where she was born after being away for sixteen years. Mohamed, who won the best actress award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival for her performance in the role of Fatimetu's handicapped sister and who herself lives at a refugee camp, is present at the screenings of the film and speaks about the life of the Sahrawi people.
The closing film at the festival is the first part of the Creating Freedom trilogy, The Lottery of Birth (Raoul Martinez & Joshua van Praag, 2012). The film examines the relationship between power and freedom in a democratic society and investigates how, for example, education and economy shape individuals and communities. The film gives an alternative way of looking at the modern society and the future, and it stars a number of leading researchers and thinkers of our time, such as the historian Howard Zinn. The film is a part of the Creating Freedom project that includes films, essays and paintings with such themes as power, control and freedom.
The Slovenian performance artist Janez Janša, who visited Lens Politica in 2010, became known for officially changing his name along with two other artists to the name of Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša. The recently released documentary My Name Is Janez Janša (2012) examines what distinctive names mean both for an individual's identity and for the functionality of a society.
Jonathan Goodman Levitt's documentary Follow the Leader (2012) follows three teenagers wanting to become the President of the United States one day. This extremely topical documentary was premiered in the US on August 2012 at the Republican National Convention. Katri Myllyniemi provides a Finnish counterpart with her short documentary Vaalihässäkkä (2012) which follows a young man running for parliament for a third time and his campaigning in the 2011 parliamentary election.
At the heart of Lens Politica – culture jamming and discussions
As usual, Lens Politica is much more than just film screenings. These are our fabulous events this year:
The past year the Helsinki city centre has been covered with political street art by an unknown artist. Now the artist, "Sampsa", sheds light on the backgrounds of his works and presents an extensive exhibition of his art. Commenting on the use of public space as a forum for discussion on society, this kind of exhibition is unforeseen in Finland.
Makasiini L3, 28.11.–9.12.2012
A video and sound installation by Anna Nykyri and Timo Heinonen deals with our everyday fears. What are people afraid of in a welfare society like Finland? Terrorism? People from other cultures? Loneliness? Fears are entwined in politics, hidden power parses and structures of control. Covert Haven studies the qualities of fear: When does a fear become a phobia? Is there a reason to be scared?
Gallery Alkovi, 28.11.–2.12.2012, Free entry!
Turbo Orientalism & Syrian Democracy
The artist Riiko Sakkinen presents two digital slideshows at the festival. Turbo Orientalism deconstructs the racism by Western pop culture aimed at Arabs through the images on the Arab Street Hookers website. The images in Syrian Democracy have been taken only a couple of days before the civil war broke out in June 2012.
Dubrovnik, both shows on 1.12.2012
Food Liberation Army & Manifesto on food politics
The activist group FLA (Food Liberation Army), best known for kidnapping Ronald McDonald, will release their manifesto on food politics at the festival and demonstrate how the modern food production chain is one of the most important factors behind climate change, diseases and economic and social inequality. The event hosted by the artist Jani Leinonen will also reveal video material of the trial between FLA and McDonalds and of the kidnapping of Ronald McDonald.
Dubrovnik, 29.11.2012, Free entry!
Culture jammers in public space
Organised in co-operation with the Voima newspaper, this culture jamming panel discusses spoof ads, the overlapping of commercial and anti-commercial cultures, occupying the urban space and different types of communication from promotion and advertising to journalism and social influence. Among the panelists are the journalist Jari Tamminen, the artist Jani Leinonen and the publishing manager of Voima, Tuomas Rantanen.
Dubrovnik, 1.12.2012, Free entry!
A free screening of The End of the Line and a panel discussion: At the Shores of the Emptying Sea
The End of the Line (2009), a documentary by Rupert Murray portrays the astonishing and far-reaching global consequences of overfishing. Stocks of the most commercial fish have been predicted to collapse already in our lifetime. If this were to happen, it would be one of the largest environmental catastrophes in the history of man. After the film, there is a panel discussion featuring the authors of Kalavale (published by Into Kustannus, 2012), journalist and photographer Kukka Ranta and environmental expert Emma Kari, as well as the conservation officer at WWF Finland Matti Ovaska. The event will be organized in co-operation with WWF Finland.
Dubrovnik 2.12.2012, Free entry!
Being a woman and a migrant in Europe
Lens Politica, together with NYTKIS – The Coalition of Finnish Women ́s Associations, arrange an event to discuss the situation of undocumented migrants in Europe and the relevance of gender to the migration experience. Following the perspectives given in films screened at Lens Politica, the discussion delves into the challenges faced by female migrants from Eastern Europe and Africa, and how their rights are fulfilled in Europe. These themes will be discussed by Coordinator Elina Saaristo-Diatta from NYTKIS, as well as the actress of the film Wilaya, Memona Mohamed, among others.
Dubrovnik, 30.11.2012, Free entry!
Give us the Money – free screening
Late on Friday evening, there will be a free screening of the documentary Give Us the Money in which Bono and Bob Geldof, among others, explain where the money given to charity really ends up. The documentary is a part of the Why Poverty? series, co-produced by Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE. Why Poverty? is a non-profit international project that consists of 8 feature films and 30 short films. The aim of the films is to raise questions and discussion on poverty.
Dubrovnik, 30.11.2012, Free entry!
Lens Politica feat. Djs Wonderlust
Saturday culminates at the Lens Politica festival club with Balkan and gypsy rhythms played by the graceful duo Djs Wonderlust.
Dubrovnik, 1.12.2012, Free entry!