During the 90s, The Anti Racist Film Days were created in opposition to the growing right-wing extremism in Sweden. In November, it is time for another event, now more relevant than ever.
An effective way to lessen prejudice among people is to let them take part in each other’s realities. That is why every November, Anti Racist Film Days (ARF) organises a festival where film screenings are combined with talks to meet the need for knowledge about racism.
“Film creates empathy. In just a few hours, a group of people can be introduced to situations of conflict which they otherwise would never experience. They are not only given facts, but emotion,” says Paula Bustos Castro, organiser of the Film Days in the Malmö region.
With that in mind, every screening is followed by reflection. It could come in the form of a lecture, a seminar or an open group discussion. The film festival, which is separated into one programme for schools and universities and one for the public, makes sure to have a mix of mainstream and niche films.
Paula Bustos Castro wants the Film Days to be a forum for everyone.
“Every student can sign up for free to see any of the films in the school programme, even if some of them are aimed at a younger crowd. The public programme is smaller, mostly free of charge, and is aimed at a broader audience,” she says.
The anti-racist film festival started in 1993 as a counterweight to the rise of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In focus then were themes such as Nazism and Fascism.
“Since then, our focus has broadened and the main theme changed to human rights. But now, in connection to the Swedish general election and the Nazi-attack in Malmö the 8 of March, we have narrowed once more,” Paula Bustos Castro explains.
Shown this year are several films about Nazism, Fascism and migration, films that the organisers hope will open up for understanding and discussion.
One of these is the Danish film Under den samme himmel about African migrants risking their lives to get into Europe. Another film is the Hungarian Just the Wind about a Roma family living under constant worry.
“It feels as if we are back where we started”, Paula Bustos Castro says.
Text: Jenny von Platten
Translation: Carl-William Ersgård
- Malmö November 17-22
- Helsingborg November 25-27
- Lund November 27 and onwards