True stories can have an impact beyond the telling. They can motivate people to assert their rights and take a stand against injustice, and also help communities make a change from hate to reconciliation. For IFproductions, impact campaigns are a vital element of documentary making. Their impact campaigns give real stories back to the individuals and communities they belong to. IFproductions creates tools to address sensitive topics, empower victims to deal with past experiences, raise awareness about injustice, and inform communities about their history. This has many positive effects on how people deal with violent trauma or threats to their freedom.
‘Ilse and Femke compellingly demonstrate that stories, firmly rooted in fact, told from an independent perspective, have the power to make a huge difference in addressing sensitive social and moral issues.’ Bernadette Kuipers, founder Impact Makers
Changing the conversation
IFproductions strongly believes that telling true stories has the power to stimulate debate and bring about real change. The documentary film Weapon of War showed how rape was being used as a deliberate tactic in the Congolese civil war. The subsequent impact campaigns Say No to Sexual Violence and Fighting the Silence made over two million Congolese citizens and military aware of the effects this had on victims as well as perpetrators. It has fundamentally changed the conversation, within the military, as well as among ordinary men and women.
Mobile cinemas and more
Impact campaigns are long-term projects aimed at using true stories for real change. Campaigns may include investigative journalism, town hall meetings, public debates, and social media platforms. In Africa, Mobile Cinemas travel from village to village and screen films in local communities, sometimes for audiences of over 5,000 people. These campaigns include tailor-made versions of the documentaries, educational materials, and impact manuals.
‘The Mobile Cinema format has proven itself time and again. It is a low threshold, high impact tool, reaching thousands of people at a time in places where public screenings are rare.’ Ilse van Velzen
Working closely with local as well as international partners and stakeholders, Ilse and Femke van Velzen create impact campaigns based on their documentary films. They provide expert guidance to local moderators so they are able to empower those taking part in reconciliation or resistance. Ilse and Femke van Velzen have launched major impact campaigns in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2012, IFproductions was awarded the prestigious Puma Impact Award for this. In 2018 they started a three-year Mobile Cinema campaign in war-torn South Sudan. A new international impact campaign about the risks of privatization of public services is planned for 2019 and beyond.
2018 – Picturing a common future – South Sudan
2011 – Justice for all – DR Congo
2009 – Say No to Sexual Violence – DR Congo
2007 – Breaking the Silence – DR Congo