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Zanzibar International Film Festival

Zanzibar International Film Festival

Speech HRH Prince Friso at the 2010 Awards Ceremony

Speech HRH Prince Friso on the occasion of the Award ceremony on 17 December 2010

Principle Prince Claus Award – Barzakh Editions (Algeria)

Although they are not the award-winners today, I want to begin by commending the members of the Awards Committee of the Prince Claus Fund. Let me explain.

More than a year ago, they selected the topic of ‘Frontiers of Reality’ as the theme for today’s event. And just one month ago, on November 17th, scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland reported that they managed to produce and trap anti-matter for the first time. What’s the connection? Well, for people who are interested in topics such as anti-matter, it is potentially a crucial component in understanding our origins; it is the ultimate frontier of reality. As you might remember from your physics classes, there is a theory that after the Big Bang, matter and anti-matter were created in equal volumes. Subsequently most of the anti-matter disappeared, and what was left is what really matters to most of us.

I will not talk about particle physics tonight, as I will probably bore you even faster than the one-sixth of a second that the poor 38 atoms of anti-hydrogen survived last month’s experiment.

Over the past few months I have been talking to many people about today’s theme of Frontiers of Reality. What came up consistently were words like surreal, unreal, imaginary, and virtual. Following some reflection I have come to the conclusion that, in most cases, all that is imaginary, unreal or virtual, is the frontier itself, and not what is beyond. It is a border marking the limits of our own reality, or what others want to make us believe is reality. Across that border, we are most likely to find another reality; someone else’s reality.

I believe that culture, education and technology are the three most powerful instruments for moving these imaginary lines, to expand our frontiers of reality, to develop ourselves, and to become better, more complete human beings.

In an increasingly overpopulated, inter-connected and complex world, we are, ironically, faced with more and more frontiers. So, if we want to erase or move those imaginary lines, and enjoy the benefits of living in more inclusive, stable, prosperous and humane societies, we cannot afford not to invest significantly in culture.

We are confronted with such frontiers when people or societies with different perspectives on reality meet, and sometimes clash. The Prince Claus Fund, through its work on Culture and Conflict, promotes initiatives to overcome these challenges and create more liveable societies. An example of such an initiative is one of this year’s laureates, Decolonizing Architecture institute in Palestine. In the words of the Awards Committee, this is a unique practice dedicated to the identification of architecture’s role as a central tool in spatial power relations and in the making of conflict.

The Prince Claus Fund seeks to support people in what we call ‘zones of silence’. Places where realities are distorted through misinformation, prejudice, propaganda, or travel restrictions. Culture can be a very effective tool to address some of these distortions, as is courageously demonstrated by several of this year’s laureates. In his intimate films, Mehrdad Oskouei reflects on complex issues in Iran such as freedom of expression and gender. Yoani Sanchez, a resilient blogger in Havana with over three million followers, champions free access to information under harsh restrictions.

While we celebrate these true achievements, let us take a minute to ask ourselves some critical questions.

- Is it only in far-away places that boundaries of reality are being drawn or distorted, or could it also happen closer to home, in the so-called developed countries?

- Can we continue to be critical individual thinkers, and not succumb to groupthink and herd behavior in a world where we gather information using un-transparent internet-based algorithms?

- How are our perspectives on reality affected by the collective forces of mass consumerism, mass media and populist politics? And how confident are we that these forces do not lead us to become increasingly intolerant, blind to injustice, ignorant of the realities of others and limited in our thinking?

These are difficult questions, and I do not want to pretend that I have quick and easy answers. But I do know that by investing in culture, education and technology, society and all its participants are best protected against such threats.

As in previous years, the Awards Committee has identified a wonderful principal laureate. Through their independent publishing house Barzakh Editions, Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hallal have created a platform for a new generation of Algerian writers and opened the door for the flow of ideas between Algeria and the rest of the world. Through the publication of over a hundred books in a wide range of genres and subjects, Barzakh Editions has expanded the frontiers of reality for many. Their publishing house overcomes disciplinary frontiers, frontiers of language, and content restrictions. They create a space of

freedom where culture can bloom and be enjoyed, and where complex and profound issues can be discussed.

I sincerely hope that this Award will encourage Barzakh Editions to continue their important work that is helping to shift those imaginary frontiers and enriching so many lives.

It is with great pleasure that I may congratulate the laureates - Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hallal. But before asking you to come up on stage, we will first take a few minutes to look at a film about your work.

Speech HRH Prince Friso at the 2010 Awards Ceremony

" It is a border marking the limits of our own reality"

HRH Prince Friso about the theme of 2010: Frontiers of Reality

Interactive Film Festival for Children in Peru

The Prince Claus Fund supports the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) for organizing an interactive film festival for children. PUCP is an academic community, inspired by ethical principles and Catholic values, that creates and disseminates culture, learning and knowledge, a promoter of change.

The university has a film archive (The Film Archive of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru) that is the most important and complete film archive in Peru. The Interactive Film Festival for Children, that is proposed by Film Archive PUCP, seeks to promote the cinematographic art among the youngest audiences in Lima, Peru, giving special attention to children living in the periphery of the city who have limited access to film screenings.

The projects exists of different phases in which the children will learn about film. Seven weeks of interactive workshops develops the knowledge of children about films, making them learn about genres, film narrative, art direction, etc., through a playful and didactic approach. These seven weeks cumulate to an exhibition week that is called "Exploradores del Cinema", taking place from 29 November to 3 December 2011, in which the results of the workshops are showed.

The Prince Claus Fund supports the PUCP for its project will promote the spreading of culture (in this case, cinematographic culture) in an environment which lacks access to arts and where formal education does not involve a critical approach to movies. Therefore, a critical sense and an artistic sensibility will be developed not only among the children who will participate in the workshops, but also among the audience of the exhibition week, which will have place in decentralized venues across the city of Lima.

Interactive Film Festival for Children in Peru

"spreading of culture in an environment which lacks access to arts"

Prince Claus Fund Applications Programme

Speech HRH Prince Friso at the 2010 Awards Ceremony

 
 
 
 

Speech HRH Prince Friso at the 2010 Awards Ceremony

Speech HRH Prince Friso on the occasion of the Award ceremony on 17 December 2010 Principle Prince Claus Award – Barzakh Editions (Algeria) Although they are not the award-winners today, I want to begin by commending the members of the Awards Committee of the Prince Claus Fund. Let me explain. More than a year ago, they selected the topic of ‘Frontiers of Reality’ as the...