A new project was launched under ORG auspices on 1 December. Reconciliation through Film is a new way to support conflict resolution by using the power of film in post-conflict areas. In the view of Professor Oliver Ramsbotham, ORG's former Chair, the use of documentary and social media at the cutting edge of "cyber-peace" is seriously under-explored.
The first phase of the project focuses on a set of "pilots" that explore how film and digital media can be most effectively used as part of a joined-up outreach campaign involving film screenings and facilitated meetings, leading to new initiatives on the ground. The measure of success will be how people are drawn in and how they respond to the film.
Promoting transformation and encouraging constituencies for change is built into the process from the very start. Many films have been made on conflicts and on peace-making. In our case there is a deliberate link between the making of the film and its showing to a wider public through face-to-face screenings, discussions and by using social media.
The initial concept was born while making two documentary films. The first one, Bosnian Story (2002) highlighted shared economic problems in Central Bosnia. A year later, a film made to open a Track ll conference on the divided city of Mitrovica immediately engaged Kosovo’s Prime Minister and Serb opposition leader in frank conversations that would not otherwise have happened. Reconciliation through Film is the next step building on this experience.
A pilot project has begun work in Sri Lanka to explore the experiences of people from all communities – Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Christian - who have experienced conflict since the 1970s. Reconciliation through Film will use film, social media and outreach meetings to highlight and share information about community-based reconciliation initiatives and the perspectives of young Sri Lankans. ORG believes that the concept has great potential in other conflict contexts and stands to become an important part of its future work.
Reconciliation through Film is being led by Chris Langdon, who, after five years as Managing Director of ORG, is returning to his first love of film and documentary-making as a Senior Consultant to ORG. Chris will produce and co-direct the pilot film with Daniel Ridicki, a leading Colombo-based film-maker.
Image credit: Daniel Ridicki