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

A bitter year and HOPE

A Message to the Film Societies around the world

In a moment that the ultimate climatic crisis exposed our vulnerability to Nature, COVID-19 unleashed an extended health, humanitarian and economical one.

Our “modern societies” have yet to face the severe inequalities encountered in the rest of the world, challenges for the world community which are enormous, but we can’t allow ourselves to fail. 

2020 soon proved to be different from any other in our lifetime and challenged the resilience and ability to cope with a major threat to social, cultural and personal levels. It has been a biter year, to say the least.

The pandemic took over and exposed the fragilities of our societies and civilization. Sooner or later each and every country became affected. The underprivileged and poor, the front line professionals (like health and essential services workers), and the old ones are the most exposed. Anxiety, fear, pain and stress became part of the daily life and all activities were affected. More or less wider lockdowns were declared around the world. More than ever, the network and the community were put on test. The best response is always towards the others, openly in solidarity and sometimes with hands on the work needed.

In addition to the pre-existing problems and challenges (economy and environment, racism, violence, hunger, and a full number of social emergencies), the criminal irresponsibility and lack of empathy of some national (and world) leaders sum to the health emergency. The tragedy of absence of action against COVID-19, the contempt for scientific information, medical and epidemiological knowledge caused even more preventable fatalities. The corruption and wrongdoing, added the chaos and uncertainty to a tragic reality.

Seventy two years ago, today when I am writing this lines, the Universal Declaration Human Rights (December 10th, 1948) was proclaimed, the excruciating world inequalities were – once again – exposed.

This could be pretty much a reduced portrait of the year that approaches its end, but no. After a bitter year, we head to 2021 with HOPE.

HOPE in midst of the pandemic

The state of the art in scientific knowledge allowed the world to finish the 2020 with the expectation that COVID-19 vaccines come close. It is impossible to reset the world but we can hope for a better future. On the health point of view, the surge of vaccines is a reality, after a short period which allows thinking for the best. To get it to the point of game changer in the humanity will depend on the world leader’s visions and hopefully accessible and available in the whole world. 

Cinema and Cultural activities, in general, were among the sectors with major damages since the very first moments of the pandemic. The tech platforms and apps became a basic instrument for our life, work and accessibility to Culture. It comes out stressing the importance on mental health. Culture is the generator of the language mediations required to face suffering. More than entertainments, Cinema, Music, Literature, Theatre or Dance are part of our tools to face adversities. From a broad reading of the IFFS Chart of Tabor of the Rights of the Public Culture (September 18th, 1987) is a basic right to access to the diversity of cultural experiences to develop skills to face, suffer and treat the suffering in the collective and individual context of self-care. 

But these tragic moments were also one opportunity to reinvent and improve an important part of our activities. We started to work online at different levels. This allowed us to shorten the distances and increase participation and communications. To move part of the activities online, strengthen community ties, keep working and make Cinema and Culture available to our fellow citizens and members. Nothing compared to the live collective experience in a cinema and having a glass afterwards. Nevertheless, the online opportunity to “come close” to discuss and talk about cinema is, in part, a relief.

Around the world, Film Societies adapted. Either on community work, discussions, talks and sharing of film programs. The world reaction opened doors for new and exciting experiences and again, is with HOPE that we shall look into the years to come.

Our mission and our projects, as a global movement, are now even more challenging: reinforce the international community of film societies, making it closer and more participated, increase the cooperation and sharing experiences.

In the context of important changes within the cinema world, I want to stress the importance of film societies, community and non-commercial cinemas, in the promotion of the big screen and active cinematic experience. The full fruition of the Cinema is an experience to be together.

I hope that soon we can look back with the feeling that we achieve more than lost. Resurging from the tragic and impacting experience with more solidarity, more respect for the different, more inclusive and more conscious of our role as citizens and film society people.

Last, but not least, I want to express you my gratitude for the work and your contribution to the Film Societies community and Film Culture. Hope that 2021 brings all of us the Health, Peace and the opportunity to a new gathering in a Cinema Room.


December 10th, 2020

João Paulo Macedo

President of FICC/IFFS – International Federation of Film Societies

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2020 by in Uncategorized and tagged .


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