Small festival that tackles major issues is going ahead despite Covid-19. Yes, it's a small festival, but the issues it tackle are major :

The 8th Without Borders Film Festival - International Film Festival in Bad Saarrow explores issues like human rights, human dignity and humanity, reported DW.

Bad Saarow is a village of 5,000 inhabitants on Lake Scharmiutzelsee in the eastern German state of Brandenburg. Once a year, the spa town becomes the backdrop for a film festival that presents local and international productions alike.

Bad Saarow Festival Challenges Xenophobia

the festival also sees itself as an integration project with the aim of ''reaching young people'', in particular with a migration background.'' said festival director Susanne Suermondt, pointing out that resentment towards foreigners is pronounced in the region, and that the far-right Alternative for Germany [AfD] party comes in a strong second in 2019 local elections.

So this year, the festival is showing Masks for all; a short film that looks at how the refugees and the locals coexist. It was filmed in neighbouring Storkow, and documents how Germans and refugees from Somalia and Syria got together to sew 3,000 masks that were then offered free of charge to the people of Storkow.

This willingness to act beyond their own needs is a sign of courage, said Suermondt.

Cross-border cooperation

Courage is the motto of this year's festival - the courage to ''always be prepared to take risk, to overcome one's own limits,'' Suermondt said. ''Courage has many faces,' the festival directors added.

Khatera, the protagonist in Sahra Mani's documentary of A Thousands Girls Like Me, is one of them. Khatera dared to fight against the systematic oppression of women in Afghanistan.

The story of a woman's struggle against Afghanistan's corrupt legal system is one of 13 films shown in the four-day festival.

The German and international productions all take a different look at courage, whether it is the courage to stand by oneself and one's body in the film Cocoon, to fulfill a long awaited drama in the movie Love Sarah or to make the world a better in But Beautiful.

Restriction due to coronavirus

The current situation made it very difficult to get the films at all, said Suermondt. For the first time ever, she said, she had to get funding in order to install a hygiene officer and implement a hygiene concept.

Now, instead of 300 guests per screening, 90 people can watch the festival selections, some of them open air.

The World Students Society thanks News Desk, The Express Tribune.


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