Special MFF Program Warning on Growing Populism

Make Poland Great Again
Populism for Beginners offering attractive documentaries about countries with strong populist movements • Streets of Motovun full of performances and interventions addressing populism

Until recently, populists could count on not more than eight percent of votes at elections. Nowadays, every fourth European voters supports populist parties. A sudden rise of populism, particularly extreme-right populism, has been recorded in the countries of the former Eastern bloc and Southern Europe: in Poland, almost half of the population supports populists and in Italy and Hungary as many as some 70 percent. The trend has not sidestepped the former Yugoslav countries.

Motovun Film Festival has always been a place of freedom of speech and thought. This festival edition (23-27 July) will therefore address populism in the form of documentary films, discussions and street performances. The films of the Populism for Beginners program deal with the countries where this trend is particularly strong.

Hungary 2018 tackles the extreme right and its growing strength on the wings of the populist agenda of Viktor Orbán. Make Poland Great Again wonders if the conservative-ruled Poland is turning from a democracy into a dictatorship. The developments in Italy, ruled by the comedian Beppe Grillo’s populist party, are analyzed in the documentary film Tutti a Casa – Power to the People?. As for Greece, Golden Dawn Girls shows how an ideology uncomfortably close to Nazism has cast its shadow on the country hitherto known by its beautiful beaches and friendly people. The consequences of such social trends are tackled in the documentary film Midnight Traveler, made by Hassan Fazili and his family on a cell phone while fleeing from the Taliban and passing the “Balkan Route” on their way to Europe. The film won numerous awards, including in Berlin and at Sundance.

In the countries of this region, populism has had its collateral victims: These are cultural projects, media and human right advocates – they get stigmatized as members of unwanted establishment. This is why our guests from the countries of the region, like Croatian emigrant, performer and pedagogue Siniša Labrović and Macedonian writer and university professor Rumena Bužarovska will be participating in our Daily Dose of Populism program which includes storytelling performances, street interventions and a few other surprises.

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