Other Worlds Are Breathing 2005

A Film Festival on Alternatives at the World Social Forum 2005, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Santander Cultural
R. Sete de Setembro, 1.028 – Praça da Alfândega Centro – Porto Alegre


“We know what we are against; do we know what we are for?”

It is with this question in mind that we started working on Other Worlds are Breathing 2005.

The urge to give fragments of answers to this question came when we were selecting films for the global film festival we organised for WSF 2004 in Mumbai. Most of the films we received then documented social tragedies, economic collapses, environmental disasters and injustice in its various forms. Very few explored alternatives for other worlds. At that time, we decided to highlight the few that did, in a section called Other Worlds are Breathing. The overall film festival eventually took the name of that section; and the foreword to last year’s brochure ended on a call for a film festival exploring alternatives in 2005.

So here we are!

Other Worlds Are Breathing 2005 is an attempt to explore alternatives to neo-liberal, capitalistic globalisation through the medium of films.

To curate this festival we had to first define the term alternatives. We have sifted through its various meanings and nuances to focus on that precise subsection that resonates our concern. And our concern is with the politics of change. Thus, this film festival is a search for those actual lived experiences that have attempted to delineate a different world.

While we accept that the other worlds we are dreaming of exist more in the realm of possibilities than in reality, we started the curation process with the belief that they do exist, albeit in bits and pieces. And that today there is an urgent need to draw these pieces together into a mosaic that can help our collective imagination to reflect, conceive and look for ways forward.

Therefore, Other Worlds are Breathing 2005 presents political, economic, social and cultural alternatives. 30 films, from 24 countries, organised into 10 sections, present a vast kaleidoscope of experiences and concerns. There are many differences between these films and yet something seems to tie them together – the breath of life, a flow of creative energy. And it is this common thread, impossible to articulate and more often than not, invisible, that we are trying to explore through this Film Festival.

This is a modest beginning, but a beginning nonetheless. We hope that these stories of hope, celebrations of people’s power and determination will ignite our imaginations.

With your help, we aim to give Other Worlds are Breathing 2005 a chance to reach out to more people around the world, through the various social forums that will take place in 2005. Thus, more and more people will join in the search for alternatives, bringing the other worlds we are dreaming of a little closer.

Gargi Sen & Aurélie de Lalande
 (Festival Curators)

The Sections

About WSF

About WSF brings back memories. In Brazil the story of the WSF weaves in with that of a movement for reclaiming dignity, and in Mumbai the WSF creates a rumble.


Journeys takes us through different landscapes, two old people travel through China on a tricycle, a young man zips across the world arguing for a ceasefire day and people from the Rio favelas travel to the World Social Forum.

Women Power

Women Power looks at women in Burkina and India taking their destiny into their own hands, against all obrs. One is the story of a woman in Burkina Faso who decides to change her, and her daughter’s destiny; while the other is a story of collective strength from India.

Singing Freedom

Five powerful legendary singers from South Africa, a rock-star trying to reach the fundamentalists in Pakistan and Dalit poets in India come together in Singing Freedom to underline our common quest for freedom.

Poetry of the Inert

Women weavers from Kyrgyzstan and Guatemala and a puppeteer from Ecuador give life to magical motifs and introduce us to their ways of life, their beliefs, and their pride. An artist from Senegal connects art, politics and philosophy.


Learning takes different shapes, and continues against the bitterest odds. Experiences from Burma and Palestine are testimonies of life, sharing of knowledge and immense will to carry on.

Live Experiences

Examples of hands-on attempts to make a difference abound the world over. Live Experiences brings together a few experiences of local, self-run and creative ways from South Africa, India and Papua New Guinea.


Very diverse Expressions are visible in the section with the same name. South African factory workers participate in a special beauty Pageant, Muslim women in the US discuss Islam and gender; and an indigenous community in Mexico is the tolerant home to a big gay, bisexual and transsexual community.

Recycling Life

Recycling Life questions aggressive consumption and highlights people’s ability to make a living out of recycling.

We, the People

We, the People presents stories of people taking over and creating participatory governance. Privatisation of water and the people’s response, the game of money and attempts to create another set of rules, workers’ take-over of dead factories, a multiple view of Iraq and an altogether new kind of government in Venezuela are the issues covered in this section.

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