FilmFest: "Restoring Connection"
Restorative Auroville hosted a 6-day Film Festival on the theme of “Restoring Connection” in October 2016 as part of our larger Restorative Circles project in Auroville, where we are working to raise awareness about Restorative Justice and hopefully contribute to building a justice system that is in alignment with our Auroville values. With the FilmFest, we wanted to offer yet another approach and medium through which to explore the subject, as not everybody will choose to come to our workshops or attend a live Restorative Circle.
We selected 13 documentaries and feature films about Restorative Justice from around the world, mostly based on true stories of pain and loss of connection. The films showcased different examples of how people involved in or impacted by conflict choose to respond – in ways that honoured healing and reconciliation over hatred and punishment. After each film, we offered a facilitated dialogue space and welcomed our viewers to share about their movie experience and how they might connect elements from the movie to Auroville.
It was special for us as a team to receive support from friends in hosting these dialogue spaces. For example, Bridget (who is Irish) facilitated the dialogue after the Irish movie “Five Minutes of Heaven,” Niva (who is Israeli) the Israeli movie “One Day After Peace,” and Neill (who is South African) the South African movie “On the Path to Forgiveness.”
The overall feedback and response to the FilmFest was positive. Our viewers said they appreciated the depth of the movies, the selections made, and the dialogue spaces, where they could process and digest their experience, as well as to connect and share with other Aurovilians. Some expressed how much they miss dialogue (and circles and connection and sharing) in Auroville.
In addition to people’s personal sharings about conflict and healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, two common themes emerged over the week:
- how many long-standing and unresolved conflicts we have in Auroville and discouragement that we are not better equipped to handle these situations more constructively, both on an individual and a collective level, and
- our lack of connection and exchange with the surrounding villages and real concern about the impact this attitude could have on our shared future if we do not start to make more concrete steps in this direction.
People expressed a longing that as a community we would really learn to love, to forgive, to share, and to overcome our conditioned ideas of superiority versus inferiority.