[Online workshop] Movies that Matter and the Asser Institute: the power of film in international justice

Published 29 March 2021

Photo: Shutterstock

The Movies that Matter Festival takes place online this year, because it is precisely in times of crisis that we remain in conversation and share stories that need to be heard.’ The Asser Institute and Movies that Matter share an interest in positively impacting social realities through the dissemination of knowledge and stories. Together, they organise the Global Justice Cinema workshop to show and discuss the power of film in the field of international law and politics. Two recent films will be discussed: 'Columbia in my arms' and 'President'.

Film can document human rights violations, uncover abuses of power or communicate a strong message of solidarity. It can magnify a struggle and translate into a call for action.

The workshop takes place 22-23 April and will give you the unique opportunity to discuss the power of film within a mixed group of international lawyers, film professionals and academics. You will get the chance to meet filmmakers and activists.

We will address how justice and international politics are conceptualised and visualised in documentary film and how impact is created through processes of editing and storytelling, but also through the promotional campaigns surrounding a film production. In the workshop, we will watch and discuss two remarkable films from the Camera Justitia selection.

Colombia in My Arms (Jenni Kivisto, Jussi Rastas) is a visually strong documentary about Colombia after the peace agreement between the government and the FARC guerrillas. Will the fragile peace deal survive the distrust and rancour built up by decades of war? Colombia in My Arms tells the story from different perspectives: guerrillas in the woods, preparing to hand in their weapons and trying to accept that their fight will be a political one from now on, the ‘old money’ elites, who shudder at the thought of FARC gaining power, the political establishment, cynically exploiting tensions in society for their own political gain. And finally, the workers on the cocoa fields who sum up the situation: ‘The chaos starts at the top, not at the bottom'. 

President (Camilla Nielsson) is a riveting account of the Zimbabwean 2018 presidential elections from inside the campaign of opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa – and its unbelievable aftermath. Zimbabwe is at a crossroads when charismatic Chamisa challenges ruling party ZANU-PF. But will the elections be fair? When the ballots are cast on election night, it turns out the real battle has just begun. A fly-on-the-wall account of Chamisa’s campaign, combined with hair-raising battleground reporting and a legal thriller about the fight for the soul of democracy.

Read more about the workshop


Camera Justitia competition
The workshop is part of the Camera Justitia competition, a special programme focused on law and justice. The nine films in this competition shed light on individuals who stand up against corruption, inequality and discrimination in their fight for justice. Underdogs who are supported by the legal system or obstructed by its failures.

Read more about the nine films competing for the Camera Justitia award