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Film as a tool for social transformation

More than 20 film clubs will head into Joburg's townships this weekend to discuss how the arts can change lives, at the second annual Film Clubs Conference.
The conference, hosted by the Film Clubs Project (FCP), will take place from 14-16 February 2014 at the Bosco Youth Centre in Walkerville. It will include a day in the field on Saturday, 15 February 2014, during which open arts-centered discussions will be held with the Soweto and Alexandra communities.

The FCP is an initiative of the Afrika Culture and Development Centre (ACDC), started two years ago in Gauteng and the North West Province with the assistance of the Danish Association of Film Clubs.

Developing socially conscious arts and culture

The aim of this volunteer-based organisation is to develop a socially conscious arts and culture movement against the backdrop of a deepening crisis in youth participation and development in the arts, fuelled by poverty and inequality.

The 2014 conference will look at ways of expanding the movement within the Greater Johannesburg and Gauteng areas, and extending these models to other metropolitan areas and provinces.

Explains Benjy Francis, the director of the FCP and the Afrika Cultural Centre: "The ACDC approach embraces all the arts, even though we started with film. We now want to formally extend the entry criteria to include all the arts. For example, if a potential group wishes to develop its strengths in theatre, visual arts, dance, literature/books/poetry, history, music, crafts or any other arts/cultural or educational activity rather than primarily film, this will be encouraged."

The ultimate goal is to make each club a cultural centre - a "culture club", of sorts.

According to Francis, the conference will also look at how to fund the rapidly growing film clubs movement (which has increased from six clubs in 2012 to 24 today), and which currently only has one large-screen traveling cinema that it takes to various communities.

Film club members will discuss how to involve parents, teachers, NGOs, government structures and other potential partners in community development through the arts, and will be treated to a screening of Darrell Roodt's acclaimed feature film Little One.

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