Take One Action Film Festival reveals 2019 programme

The festival focused on global change unveils a lineup that includes 20 feature films as well as shorts, masterclasses, workshop and community events

Article by Jamie Dunn | 14 Aug 2019
  • Everything Must Fall

Socially conscious film festival Take One Action is back with a packed programme of movies concerned with issues ranging from climate change and the ongoing refugee crisis to gender inequality and workers’ rights. As we mentioned earlier this month, the festival will kick off with Push, Fredrik Gertten’s fast-paced documentary concerned with the global housing crisis, which investigates the cause for concern in cities like Barcelona, Toronto, Berlin and London. Coincidentally, Take One Action’s opening takes place on Scottish Housing Day (18 Sep), which should give audiences the perfect opportunity to reflect on the challenges of affordable housing closer to home.

Closing the festival, meanwhile, is Ken Loach’s latest, Sorry We Missed You, which sees the great rabble-rousing filmmaker focus in on the heavy toll the gig economy and zero-hour contracts have on a family of four in Newcastle. Similarly powerful is Scheme Birds, the award-winning documentary from Swedish duo Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, which follows the turbulent life of a teenage girl from Motherwell. The film’s Scottish producer, Ruth Reid, will introduce.

There are plenty of other films in the programme which allow you to see life from the point of view of young people on the margins. Tiny Souls, from Palestinian-Jordanian director Dina Naser, offers a child’s-eye-view of the refugee crisis from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, while Anbessa is a dream-like portrait of a 10-year-old boy, looking at how his emotional state compares to the stark political and economic realities re-shaping Ethiopia. And we're told Gods of Molenbeek “explores the effects of violent world events through the prism of a six-year-old boy’s musings on gods, the origins of the universe and our place within it.”

The escalating climate crisis is the focus of TOA’s Shared Planet strand, which also places young people at its heart, highlighting the role youth activism plays in pushing the climate agenda forward. In Grit, for example, a young woman finds her voice as an activist when her community is devastated by a fracking disaster. Inventing Tomorrow, meanwhile, follows passionate teenage science students from around the world who are coming up with inventive solutions to myriad environmental threats.

Elsewhere in the Shared Planet strand there are films about preserving forests as wild places as opposed to plantations (Time of Forests), the threat of rising sea levels to the remote Easter Island (Eating up Easter) and the latest film from Edward Burtynsky (Anthopocene), in which the Canadian photographer and filmmaker travels the globe to document the impact humans have made on the planet

A celebration of women’s empowerment is the focus of TOA’s Sisters strand. Facing the Dragon sees two Afghan women strive to maintain their hard-won rights. In The Prosecutors, meanwhile, we follow dedicated lawyers who fight for victims of conflict-related sexual violence in war-torn countries across the globe. And in Everything Must Fall, the #FeesMustFall intersectional protest movement in South Africa, comes under the spotlight.

The Time of Forests

Other issues bubbling to the surface of this year’s TOA programme include workers’ rights in films like Ghost Fleet, which shines a light on the continued reliance on human trafficking, violence and enslavement in the Thai fishing industry. Meanwhile, a film like Hassan Fazili’s Midnight Traveler  which interrogates the current refugee crisis through a deeply personal account of the director and his young family’s flight from Afghanistan – is a perfect example of some of the community filmmaking you’ll find in this year’s programme.

Set up in 2008, Take One Action has always been a vibrant and thought-provoking festival, but a decade on from its inception it feels even more vital. “At a time when the very notions of solidarity, equality and environmental responsibility are being eroded, providing a direct and accessible connection to contemporary issues through inspiring stories of change feels really crucial,” says Tamara Van Strijthem, TOA’s executive director. “Our festival is not just a platform for the discovery of a rich array of films from five continents, it is an invitation to explore and challenge our current realities – and a direct invitation to reshape our world for the better.”

This is just a flavour of what to expect in this year’s Take One Action film festival. For full details and tickets, head to www.takeoneaction.org.uk