Festival Theme 2020

Place and the Populist Revolt

People on stage facing a crowd of excited people

still from Ada for Mayor

Place is a fundamental part of the human experience. We come from places, are attached to places, and live in them. There are places we explore, move across and between, build, and too often ruin. We thoroughly coat our places with meaning. Those who would dominate others say ‘know your place.’ And those who would free people, welcome, give sanctuary and shelter, and say, ‘this too is your place.’

In our most ambitious program yet, we investigate how cities are ground zero for the struggle to hold on to or finding a place, for both incumbents and newly arrived. As living gets harder, homes more expensive, and living wages evaporate, many people feel abandoned by their governments, communities and families. Their dignity, place in society, and existence in the world is at stake.

But in all these stories, the human spirit lives. As locales and communities confront these upheavals there are attempts to build walls and to exclude others and the changes they are associated with, but expressions of belonging and resistance to exclusion also abound. To help us collectively process these changes and challenges, we follow each film screening with a discussion that is framed to develop community-centered solutions to ground us in the spirit of place.