The 13th edition of Leiden Shorts took place from 2-5 September in Kijkhuis, Leiden.  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. The theme of this edition is “Rooted: Dutch Multicultural Society”. This decision began with a reflection on 2020 and a (hopeful) outlook on our future society. The Netherlands hosts a varied population with roots in countless nations around the globe. Still, in the past years, we have witnessed, among other things, increasing hostility against minorities and vulnerable groups. In the Netherlands, like everywhere else around the world, voices have been raised to denounce these injustices. The purpose of this theme is to explore the narratives, challenges and opportunities related to multiculturalism in the Netherlands through film and panel discussions. For four days Leiden Shorts will become a platform for Dutch individuals with a multicultural background to discuss the past, present but mostly the future of our society. Three panels, an online exhibition, a two-day animation workshop and three curated film sessions will explore the subject from a multiplicity of perspectives. The programme will discuss grassroots movements, representation in media and new institutions and identity.

Our programme consisted of 118 short films from all over the world, carefully put together in thematically linked sessions. We organised discussions, film screenings and an online exhibition around this year’s theme: “Rooted: Dutch Multicultural Society”, addressing contemporary issues in relation to multicultural identities in the Netherlands. The discussions were kindly hosted by Museum de Lakenhal and Leiden University and were organised in collaboration with Afrispectives, Studium Generale (Leiden) and izi solutions. The thematic film screenings were curated by Angelique Mbundu (Director of IAfrica Film Festival), Minhong Yu (Artist, Curator, former programmer at Cinemasia) and Adel Salem (Director of Cinemarabe). Finally, the animation workshop was devised by Anoeska Huige (De Animatiebus) and hosted by our location partner Marktsteeg 10.