Just Film Festival: Preview of this year’s celebration from the cinema co-op

The event, supported by Central England Co-op and Co-op Press, runs from 24 June - 3 July

“Working together” is the theme of the Just Film Festival 2022, and it has a decidedly international flavour, writes Kate Palser, chair of Birmingham Film Co-op.

The festival, now in its second year, is organised by Birmingham Film Co-op with support from Central England Society and Co-op Press. Here, we bring you a preview of events …

The festival opens on Friday, 24 June with the documentary I Am Belmaya, the story of a young Nepalese woman living a life of poverty, affected by violence, but who wants to create films. Reviews of this uplifting film say she is “the definition of resilient and optimistic”. 

Screened in person and online, te film is followed by a pre-recorded question and answer session, and is a fitting start for the festival: it confronts us with vital questions about who gets to tell the stories that we see on screen.

One of our festival partners is Woodcraft Folk and so it’s apt that the second film is Dear Future Children, the story of three young environmental activists from Hong Kong, Uganda and Chile. It shows the impact that campaigning has on their personal lives.

On Our Doorstep

Praised by critics as entertaining yet thought-provoking, this is a film that reminds us how much young people, in particular, have to lose from climate change. It will be shown on Saturday, 25 June, in collaboration with Birmingham Friends of the Earth. It’s appropriate that all in-person screenings will be at the Warehouse, Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s community-building based in Digbeth.

The first Sunday of the festival brings another brand of activism in Bank Job. Ever wanted to make your own money? Throughout 2018/19, artists operated out of a former bank on a high street in Walthamstow, north-east London, printing banknotes/artwork and selling £40,000 worth of them. Find out how they did it – and what they used the money for. And “expect explosions, community and active hope”.

The second weekend kicks off on Friday, 1 July with a heartwarming drama: The Last Bus. Tom, a pensioner whose wife Mary has just passed away, travels the length of the country, from John O’Groats to his hometown near Land’s End, using his free bus pass, carrying only a small suitcase. Along the way, his adventures are recorded by the people he meets and helps, and by the end of his trip he has become a social media celebrity.

Dear Future Children

Saturday night, 2 July, brings another highlight, the crowdfunded documentary On Our Doorstep, telling the story of the Calais Jungle and the volunteers who went there to help. Birmingham Film Co-op is excited to welcome director Thomas Laurance to a question and answer session after the film, along with local volunteers shown in the film. 

Just as volunteers found the experience of the camps was not what they had expected, so the film tells a tale that can amuse, frustrate and sadden – as well as raising significant questions about our role as citizens.

Sunday 3 July brings the final selections from entries in the film shorts competition. It promises documentaries and drama (from at least three continents), animation and imagination – culminating in the awards for the winners. Watch how participants have chosen to explore the theme of “working together”, and perhaps feel inspired by the power of film to share ideas and emotions.

The Just Film Festival 2022 runs from Friday 24 June to Sunday 3 July.

All films are available to watch online, with some in-person screening options and online discussions.

Tickets for individual films or a whole festival pass can be purchased from our online screening portal at justfilmfestival22.eventive.org/welcome

Birmingham Film Co-op screens “films for a fairer world” on the second Thursday of every month, with many available to watch online.  See facebook.com/justfilmcoop for details

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