European advocacy tour - The Illusion of Abundance

By
Penny Christodoulou
on
November 24, 2022

The Illusion of Abundance is the story of three extraordinarily brave women, who fight to defend their land in Latin America. The film spotlights their efforts to hold international mining corporations accountable for breaking the law and celebrates the growing global network of environmental activists. 

Bertha, Carolina and Maxima, the three protagonists, tell us a story of tireless courage: how to keep fighting to protect nature when your life is at risk? 

The Illusion of Abundance team is currently touring Europe and screening this story of activists fighting human rights abuses and illegal environmental intrusions. They are focusing on raising awareness among decision makers and civil society actors.  The Illusion of Abundance is being screened in eight countries during a time when crucial rounds of discussions and negotiations at national and international levels are taking place. 

23-26 of October 2022, we had the pleasure to welcome the film team to the StoryBoard House as they were passing through Geneva for their European advocacy tour. In between a busy agenda: meetings at the UN, screening at the Grütli, we managed to catch the directors, Erika Gonzalez Ramirez and Matthieu Lietaert, sit down and discuss the film impact campaign’s ambitions:

What do you aim to achieve with your tour in Europe? 

E: At this moment there is a debate about the corporations’ responsibility in regard to human rights, climate change and the environment. This is a conversation at national, European and international levels. With our film we want to showcase evidence on how corporations behave when there are no legislation and binding rules to restrict them. Our film takes a human approach and focuses on three emblematic stories to point out the urgency to frame these laws. 

M: During this tour it is important to us to not only do the political screenings but also screen the films in cinemas for our extended activist community.

We want to connect the  political arena with the artistic community of cinema, as they both care for human rights. For us it is “when art meets politics”. 

E: With our tour of screenings and discussions in Europe, we would like to build alliances for the impact campaign and work together with other similar campaigns across Europe and the world. 

M: For us StoryBoard Collective is part of our tour, you helped us do what we are doing now, to reach out to the EU Parliament and the UN. 

What is the feedback and engagement you have received after the screenings of your film?

E: We screened our film at the EU Parliament in Brussels and the United Nations in Geneva, and we feel that now is the right moment, as the 8th round of negotiations about the Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights is taking place. With the support of Ville de Genève, ISHR, Heks Eper and FastenaKtion, the avant-premiere of our film was screened at the Grütli Cinema, where together with Carolina de Moura, the Brazilian protagonist and Danilo Chammas, a human rights lawyer we discussed with the audience and they shared their story.

After our screenings to both the public and decision makers we received different kinds of reactions. From the political side, it was argued that this is a concrete case and they need to see and understand how corporations behave in the face of indigenous communities. From the public perspective, we received very positive feedback; some people were inspired by the courage of the protagonists, whilst others were shocked by the criminal actions of corporations. 

What is your vision for your film’s impact campaign?  

E: We have an ambitious campaign that we have already started in Europe. We are taking a  political approach and focusing on the need for framing legislation for corporations. We aim to go to the US and Latin America, specifically in Latin America, to take action for the protection of land defenders who are paying the high price of this situation. Our objective is to also do screenings in Latin America among the civil society, grassroot organisations and political actors.

M: It’s only been a month since the release of our film and we are excited to be in Europe to talk about solutions with the political actors and get our issues at the top of their agendas; international legal frame for corporations and protection of the land defenders risking their lives in Latin America.

Why Geneva? 

E: It was very important for us to screen a part of our film and get to discuss it with diplomats and political actors at the UN.Furthermore, in Geneva, we are in collaboration with three organisations, Fastenaktion, ISHR and Heks Eper and we wanted to coordinate with them  We were also invited to the FIFDH Impact Days in 2022 where we met the StoryBoard Collective who have been supporting our impact campaign.  In Geneva, there is also a campaign to invite citizens to sign a petition and ask for strong regulation for corporations. 

The StoryBoard Collective is very proud to support the impact campaign of the film and to create a space for conversation and interactions among diverse political actors, individuals, storytellers and organisations.

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Meet us at IDFA 2022

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