Leiden Shorts 2021

Theme 2021

Leiden Shorts fundamentally believes in cinema as a tool for social change. We see it as our responsibility, as a cultural organisation, to reflect on our surroundings and discuss urgent issues through films and events. 

2020 has been an extraordinary year, marked by a variety of circumstances that have challenged the environment, the global health and social structure as a whole. 

As wildfires ravaged the lands – displacing communities, depriving animals of their natural habitats and blowing harmful pollutants into our atmosphere – Leiden Shorts tackled the first problem through the concept of Climate (In)Justice. This theme seeked to highlight how existing inequalities are exacerbated by climate collapse, disproportionately affecting people living in poverty, people of colour, and those in low-lying regions and arid lands. As many of these inequalities were magnified in the wake of the global coronavirus lockdowns, and further amplified by the wave of Black Lives Matter protests, it seemed only logical to continue the conversation from there. 

The theme of the 2021 edition of Leiden Shorts starts with this reflection and with a (hopeful) look on our future societies. The major events of 2020 made clear that most western cultures still suffer to a great extent from inequality, discrimination and a general fear of the other. These issues, already present in our societies, have been aggravated by social and environmental problems in the past year.

As a response to this, in our 2021 edition we will work on the concepts of diasporic communities, transnational identity and their role in western societies. 

Taking the Dutch reality as a focal point, we will map the main diasporic communities and bring their realities and experiences to the surface through films, events and panel discussions. Working with organizations, festivals and individuals that are central to the Dutch transnational scene, Leiden Shorts will offer a stage for them to express their voices.

The Leiden Shorts film programmers will collaborate with guest curators from diasporic backgrounds to offer dedicated film sessions around the idea of diaspora, transnationality, and identity. Furthermore the festival will curate side events and panel discussions in collaboration with key players of the Dutch diasporic reality. The aim is to portray both the challenges that these communities face – in the Netherlands and in the world – as well as the opportunities to diversify and improve our societies. Film and the concept of representation will play an important part in this discussion. 

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