Reflecting on LGBTQ themes

IFFR and Movies that Matter are creating a new education programme for (pre-)vocational schools around the Kenyan film Rafiki, which will screen at IFFR 2019.

Rafiki tells the story of a budding love between two young Kenyan women. The film was supported by IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund and is based on the short story Jambula Tree by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko. It caused a lot of uproar upon its release in Kenya, as national authorities prohibited any screening of the film, arguing it could give off the impression that homosexuality was accepted in Kenya. After a wave of protest, the film was screened after all, making it eligible to become the Kenyan nomination for the Oscars.

IFFR and Movies that Matter are creating educational materials around Rafiki to highlight LGBTQ themes in Kenyan and Dutch contexts. The programme will allow young people to reflect on their own and others’ cultural identities as well as the limitations people may experience in choosing a partner or personal identity. These themes connect to courses in citizenship and social education. An intensive learning track will prepare the students for their film visit at IFFR or Movies that Matter.

Philo Offermans, education project coordinator at Movies that Matter: “This marks the first time that two festivals work together in such an extensive way in education. It allows us to combine our experience and expertise to maximise the programme’s impact.”

Renske Gasper, head of educatie at IFFR: “Through our educational programme we want to broaden the horizon of young people by showing films that add to their (film) vocabulary. Throughout the year, IFFR provides taylormade film education programmes together with national partners in order to give quality film a prominent place in school curriculums, in Rotterdam and beyond.”

IFFR and education

IFFR organises many education initiatives, both during the festival and throughout the year. In 2018, 20,453 students and teachers visited the festival, mostly in the context of specially curated film programmes with filmmakers present or through workshops, masterclasses and film lessons. IFFR reaches four-year-olds, university students and everything in between.