Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes

On the mark of the 2020 Day of the Public (10th May) 

The International Federation of Film Societies (FICC/IFFS) salutes everyone that, around the world, works towards the organized audience. The organized public is an important body of Culture and Cinema: The audiences are, at the end, the meaning for the creation and production. 

We are experiencing very hard times. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, all audiences all over the world. In this opportunity, the first word is solidarity and grief for the tragic situation and for the losses.

In many countries and cities the confinement and social isolation are on-going as mitigation and preventive measures. Cinemas and theatres are closed. The workers of the cinema and audiovisual, from cast and crew to post production, distribution and exhibition roles have their activities on hold. The sector is closed almost all over the world. Film Societies are reinventing themselves as active members of local and cultural community and express the solidarity to everyone indirectly affected.

The IFFS subscribed the joint Film/AV Sector Statement (with other 115 film organizations) calling for urgent action by EU and Member State decision-makers to safeguard the future of the sector in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, following in the footsteps of initial emergency measures announced at national level, including by film funds and other bodies.

Furthermore, the IFFS follows with preoccupation the promotion of non democratic measures taken by some governments, in different continents, taking advantage of the present COVID-19 crisis.

It is of our knowledge that film societies activists are having important roles in the aid and comfort for those in need, keeping the spirit of fighting and working close to the people and the community. This connexion with the local communities is one characteristic of our movement. The capillarity of film societies makes them aware about cinema and films, but also on the surrounding community by taking action in different fields when needed. The social, political and cultural role of film society outstands in moments of crisis.

On the other side, many film societies are making changes in their activities. Taking advantage of the walls in the neighbourhoods using them as screeners, of the communication tools, and also from the internet. A large number of authors, directors and producers have made their productions available online, in a generous contribution for the relief of the people.

Even without Cinemas, films are part of our daily experiences and help to cope with lockdown and social distancing.

Human rights also entail cultural rights, in addition to the right to health and education. In our times of the virtual unfolding of the market and the state, society must be at the center of reflection, as a consumer of the offer of the cultural industry and at the same time as a beneficiary of public policies and observer of the democratic performance of institutional sociocultural actors. The Film Societies are concerned

The struggles for the rights of the public could go back to May 1849, with the escalation of the confrontation between sympathizers of two theatrical actors who competed on the theater scene in New York, and who during those days manifested the temperament of the fans through the organized and public boo against William Charles Macready (a famous English actor on tour in North America), and supporting Edwin Forrest, a local actor who was given certain licenses when staging the works of William Shakespeare for a better reception among the American people.

To intimidate the social protest that took place in one of the Macready performances on May 10th 1849, there was a harsh police repression that produced innocent and anonymous deaths due to the clashes, in both physical and symbolic class struggle. Felipe Macedo presented the initiative to adopt Public Day, at the VI Ibero-American Meeting of film societies in Atibaia 2011 (SP, Brazil), and the tragic fact documented by the Brazilian researcher, when studying the origins of film club, synthesizes a rigorous and critical form to inquire into the memory of associationism. Also as an example of the conformation of the public –observed by Noel Burch–, that in the middle of the nineteenth-century already occupied a central place in urban life society.

The public spectacle of the theater detonated social expressions on the fringes of the stage, as on that occasion in which the spectators were the protagonists of a protest and the limits imposed on them by the powers, were merely witnesses. By supporting an actor of their predilection, they demanded his participation in the artistic decisions of the cultural offer.

At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, economic inequalities persist, and it is exacerbated by the pandemic. The reality that has been imposed by current sanitary measures, places the Internet as one of the current tools, that has been used to overcome the marginalization and isolation as a Coronavirus mitigation strategy, and which is well worth extending further to all sectors of the population. Through videoconferences, distance living is becoming more frequent in work and personal life in all countries and it will surely open up forms of exchange that will be very useful to strengthen ties and streamline international and local communication. As never before, cell phones and personal computers are leveraged as link points. In this technology-mediated convivial (televivio), human warmth is brought to the cold of social networks, exchanging intimacy and daily life from port to port in a world health emergency situation.

In the vocabulary of digital globalization, day by day we listen to and also become users of chats, live broadcasts, podcasts, video channels, audiovisual portals, stickers, online video games, distance learning platforms that can be used by moviegoers, audiovisual critics, multimedia publications, teaching and education centers, that feed the expression of the cineclubs and preserve their traces.

Teachers, researchers, curators and cultural promoters can join with maps of the vast Internet space and pedagogical and appreciation guides, with shortcuts to film archives, cinematheques and online film libraries through QR codes, portals and compilations of available titles, and chronicles, reflections and memories of sessions of critical dialogue and collective feedback will always be welcome.

We will come out with new habits and better visions on the sense of community and respect for life on the planet. And, when we can meet again in the darkness of a cinema, to share emotions and experience a film collectively, we can again be the brotherhood of cinema: film society members.

We are the public!


João Paulo Macedo – President

Gabriel Rodríguez – Secretary General

International Federation of Film Societies (FICC/IFFS)


Information and images from: O dia do público, Felipe Macedo (2011) at:

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