A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of nationalism. We need not even look as far as the younger democracies in Eastern Europe and their authoritarian tendencies or feel superior when we compare ourselves to the United States or Turkey, where opponents are either publicly attacked or locked up right away. We—that is the so-called Old Europe with our old values, proud of our humanist achievements—we fight. And we—its attentive citizens—feel a growing discontent creeping up in all of us.
Great Britain’s Brexit vote anticipated the current wave of European anti-solidarity. In Spain the Catalan independence movement held a referendum that was deemed illegal. And Austria’s conservative party formed a government coalition with right-wing nationalists. Deep wedges have been driven into public discourse in each of these countries, which is why our triangle program approaches the situation from the perspectives of festivals in Glasgow, Barcelona, and Vienna.
Today, fifty years after the struggle of 1968 for a more liberal society, we seem to have handed over our standards and values to populists and filter bubbles: polarization instead of debate, taking sides instead of political engagement, building walls instead of building bridges. Nevertheless, discussions and constructive opposition is needed if we want to further our society and shape the relationship between freedom and security, individuality and solidarity. Listen, think, argue—and resist the erosion of important achievements!
Since 2013 we have invited two festivals every year to dedicate a program to our latest motto: this year, Glasgow Short Film Festival from Scotland, and the Spanish L’Alternativa also have a focus on We Need To Disagree. Together with VIS’ programming contribution, the selections are screened at all three festivals: after it’s premiere in March in Glasgow, the triangle-collaboration will subsequently be screened in June in Vienna and in November in Barcelona. (Daniel Ebner)