As a result of the outbreak, film festivals all around the world have gone online. F4T, a festival dedicated to anti-corruption works, was a perfect example of this phenomenon. Anti-Corruption Conference Series and Transparency International planned a festival in South Korea for December 2020. After then, there was the outbreak of the pandemic. As a result, the conference was held online, much like most other events around the world.
When F4T first began, it took place on Panama’s Caribbean island of Puntarenas. Since then, it has been held on Hamburg, Copenhagen, and Berlin. To far, F4T has collaborated with the Doc Society and Good Pitch to bring documentary cinema into the world’s largest anti-corruption meeting.
F4T founder and director Roberto Perez-Rocha tells GIJN that “making it virtual was tough, as human touch is crucial to our job.” “However, we also discovered new avenues of growth. Many spectators who couldn’t make the trip to South Korea were able to see our show this time around. It was a method to make the festival more accessible to all.
We also decided that the pieces would be available online for the entire festival, and not only during a time slot in the schedule,” said Perez-Rocha, who also directs the International Anti-Corruption Conference. “We were able to reach a wider audience because of that.”
1. Radio Silence (Mexico)
“Radio Silence,” a documentary by filmmaker Juliana Fangul, explores the life of Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico’s most trusted journalists. A private radio station where Aristegui works sacked two investigative reporters, and she insisted that the station bring them back on staff. A decision was made to let her go rather than keep her. That didn’t stop her. Thousands of listeners followed Aristegui as she established a new, independent platform to continue her fight against corruption.
It is a personal, day-to-day account of Aristegui’s struggle for press freedom in Mexico. When it comes to reporting, she’s no different from other journalists in the country. Journalists in Mexico have a high risk of being targeted by organized crime groups or corrupt politicians, especially in states where corrupt officials have a history of siding with criminal organizations.
2. Collective (Romania)
Following a fatal nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, a group of investigative journalists set out to expose corruption and public healthcare fraud in the wake of the tragedy. Romania’s prime minister, Victor Ponta, resigned following the tragedy, and the subsequent investigation by reporters sent shockwaves throughout the country.
European Documentary Award at the 2020 European Film Awards for this movie. Additionally, it was recently selected as Romania’s entry for best international feature at the Oscars. COVID-19, a global health care integrity assessment, is a timely reminder of this.
3. The Amazon, a New Minamata? (Brazil)
Filmmaker Jorge Bodanzky’s documentary focuses on the Minamata contamination of the Japanese city and the contemporary situation in the Brazilian Amazon, where people have been poisoned by mercury for decades. The indigenous people living in the area are being poisoned by heavy metals, particularly mercury, which is utilized in gold mining techniques.
Indigenous territory in the Brazilian Amazon is prohibited from being mined for gold. Despite this, illegal mining continues to be a problem in the area. Inequality, exploitation, and health issues for some of Brazil’s most vulnerable populations are all effects of mining there.
4. Sexy Killers (Indonesia)
This documentary by Dandhy Dwi Laksono and Ucok Suparta focuses on Indonesia’s coal mining business, the environmental harm it produces, and the connections between various mining companies and Indonesia’s political class. Deforestation and large-scale excavations for coal mining have raised the risk of flooding and landslides in Borneo. However, the sector has a significant impact on the political landscape of the island nation. In the beginning, the video was shown to a group of civil society organizations and students. It has more over 35 million views as of January 2021.
5. Wood (United States, Romania, Peru)
Filmmakers Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan and Michaela Kirst teamed up to make this documentary about EIA executive director Alexander von Bismarck in Washington, DC. His seven-year mission to penetrate the unregulated wood business and uncover government and corporate corruption was captured with concealed cameras by the filmmakers working on the project. Eco-thriller combines investigative journalism and international espionage in one novel. It shows how the illicit logging industries in Russia, Romania, and Peru all have a lot in common, and challenges the spectator to consider the true cost of cheap wood.