Throughout the global South, local communities are grappling with the legacies of colonialism and fashioning methods for pursuing true self-determination. Here, we present two films from two different regions that show different approaches to these challenges. The first film, WANTOKS: dance of resilience in Melanesia, is set in the South Pacific and shows people dealing with questions of colonial rule and climate change. The second film, BURKINABÉ BOUNTY: agroecology in Burkina Faso, highlights communities dealing with the related struggle for food sovereignty and trying to reclaim their land and traditions against the encroachment of corporate agriculture. As the world faces the growing threat of climate change, it is incredibly important that we elevate these local responses from people on the frontlines and take lessons from the global South.
"Burkinabe Bounty: agroecology in Burkina Faso" directed by Iara Lee (Cultures Of Resistance Films)
This documentary chronicles agricultural resistance and the fight for food sovereignty in Burkina Faso --a small, landlocked country in West Africa. Showcasing activist farmers, students, artists, and leaders in the local Slow Food movement, the film looks at how the Burkinabé people are reclaiming their land and defending their traditions against the encroachment of corporate agribusiness. From women gaining economic independence by selling artisanal "dolo" beer, to youth marching in the streets against companies like Monsanto, to hip-hop musicians setting up their own farms and reviving the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara through their music, BURKINABÈ BOUNTY shows the creative tactics people are using to take back control of their food, seeds, and future.
'WANTOKS: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia', directed by Iara Lee (Cultures Of Resistance Films)
In 2018, the Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific, hosted the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival, celebrating the country's fortieth anniversary of independence. On neighboring island states, the struggle for freedom continues, as West Papua resists Indonesian occupation and the residents of New Caledonia still live under French rule. In all Melanesian countries, residents face the common challenge of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to swallow both land and tradition. In this charged context, captivating performers are using their talents to celebrate local culture and draw international attention to their islands' plight, with the hope of spurring international solidarity and prompting collective action against the perils of a warming world
Featuring striking footage from the South Pacific islands, WANTOKS: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia, profiles the artists and activists who are fighting for self-determination while trying to defend their homes against the rising sea
Raki Ap - Originally from West Papua; based in the Netherlands. Is the current Spokesperson for the Free West Papua Campaign: very active as an international campaigner and speaker, especially in relation to indigenous rights and how they relate to ecological stewardship.
Connor Woodman is a researcher and writer who currently works as Executive Assistant to the Chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Benny Wenda. He has written on West Papua for the New Internationalist, New Naratif, Novara Media and other outlets, and is currently writing an article for the International Journal of Human Rights on West Papua's anti-colonial struggle. He can be contacted on email@example.com.
The Creative Activism Awards (CAA) were created by director iara lee as a way of recognizing artists, musicians, poets, writers, designers, dancers, and other creators whose work is connected to human rights, the environment, economic and global justice, and cultural resistance.
In the summer of 2020, Cultures of Resistance Films announced a first round of CAA recipients, made up of people and organizations who have been featured in or have collaborated on our documentaries. The awards were designed to encourage recipients to maintain and expand their important work in pursuit of social justice and creative expression.
Later in the year, Cultures of Resistance Films announced that it would be giving out a second round of awards in 2021 and that applications would be open to the public. To apply, click here!
“We hope that the awards will provide critical help to artists and organizers struggling to continue their efforts to build solidarity and promote change in their communities,” says lee.
Previous CAA recipients have included muralists, dancers, cartoonists, photographers, rappers, cinematographers, plastics artists, poets, and designers. Past award winners live in countries ranging from Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Western Sahara, and the United States to Malawi, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, and Bolivia.