SUSY Film Festival – Lights, Camera, Action!

As part of our SUSY project work we put together a free film festival at the Yard Theatre in Hulme. Our Projects and Research Co-ordinator Amanda helped organise things and has written a blog all about the two days.

At the beginning of October we ran two packed programmes of prize-winning films about the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) for the SUSY project film festivals, accompanied by warming soup and a great crowd of people. The College worked in partnership with Paradigm Screenings who helped to curate a programme of films and speakers that combined the SUSY documentaries with other films to complement different themes, such as the success of community currencies strengthening local economies in the UK, Switzerland and Brazil, a celebration of people living on the Turkish Black Sea or the ‘Untouchable’ mayor of a village council in India or the emergence of alternative communities scattered across Europe.

Friday evening’s event kicked off with Palmas, the SUSY documentary about how a community currency and development bank were formed in 1989 in the suburb of Fortaleza in north-eastern Brazil. This pioneered the way for the creation of 52 community development banks across Brazil, making a remarkable difference to the resilience of this local economy and to the spirit of this community. This led onto a segment from the award-winning French documentary Demain (Tomorrow) about the success of some community currencies in the UK, followed by a virtual Q&A with Ciaran Mundy from the Bristol Pound. The second theme of the evening was about individuals who have overcome adversity. Through another segment of Demain, we learned about Elango Rangaswarmy who was born a Dalit in southern India, but who went on to become a role model for mayors across India when his experiments in democracy transformed his community. Following on from this, SUSY documentary Extraordinary People travelled to the dramatic green valleys of the Black Sea region to see how resourceful and inventive the people are who live in this incredible landscape. This was followed by a lively Q&A session with people from the North West Turkish Community Association based in Manchester.

The Saturday event was on a theme of journeys. First up was a road journey, Pathways through Utopias, that takes us from the UK to occupied self-managed Serbian factories. We were then led through France and Spain to visit special experimental communities inventing cooperative and non-materialistic ways of living. This was followed by a virtual live Q&A with John Jordan, one of the film makers and an art activist known for his ‘Reclaim the Streets’ and ‘Liberate Tate’ projects. The second SUSY film on Saturday, Unlearning,  took us on a family journey into some obscure corners of Italy using the recently emerging social bartering networks to move around, find accommodation or volunteer for work experience. This Italian road trip was also followed by a virtual Q&A with film makers Lucio Basadonne and Anna Pollio.

The films shown at these two events were crammed with inspiring and incredible people, all of whom are living the very essence of the SSE in both urban and rural settings. Please look out for the follow-up event that will be taking place in Hebden Bridge in early December as this promises to be a real ‘winter warmer’ with film, food and music to blow away the blues.

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