Take One Action Film Festival announces full programme for 2019

The full programme has been announced for Take One Action 2019. The UK’s leading global change film festival returns for its twelfth edition, showcasing 20 feature films (including 6 UK premieres) and over 20 shorts, alongside a vibrant programme of filmmaker masterclasses, changemaker workshops, a documentary filmmaking experiment and community meals.

Highlights of the 2019 festival, which runs at venues across Edinburgh and Glasgow from 18 - 29 September, include...


An opening night screening of new feature documentary Push, to mark Scottish Housing Day. Push is a much-needed investigation into the global forces that are turning housing into a commodity, revealing, through in-depth research and interviews, the scale of the housing crisis, which is making cities across the world unaffordable for most of their citizens.

Sorry We Missed You

A very special closing night preview screening - ahead of it’s November release - of Ken Loach’s critically-acclaimed new feature Sorry We Missed You, exploring the heavy toll of the gig economy and zero-hour contracts on people’s personal and family lives.

Scheme Birds

Scottish producer, Ruth Reid introduces her Tribeca Award-winning Scheme Birds, following young teenager Gemma as she grows up on Motherwell’s Jerviston housing estate, offering a fresh take on the reality of social inequity in contemporary Scotland, and the youth that have been left behind.

Tiny Souls

Young female Palestinian Jordanian director, Dina Naser, whose Tiny Souls offers a child’s-eye-view of the refugee crisis from the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan (a temporary holding facility at the time she started making her film, which has now become Jordan’s largest city), will attend the festival to lead a documentary masterclass with Scottish Documentary Institute at Edinburgh College of Art.

Sisters strand

Supported by Engender Scotland, the Sisters strand celebrates women’s empowerment in all its guises and places women at the forefront of social change. It features an Indonesian teenager challenging corporate impunity and corruption (Grit) to the Afghan women challenging the status quo in one of the world’s most fragile democracies (Facing the Dragon); lawyers fighting for justice for victims of conflict related-sexual violence across the globe (The Prosecutors); South African student activists upending decades of male-dominated political activism through a radically intersectional protest movement (Everything Must Fall), and the high-flying Swedish minister advocating for a feminist foreign policy on the international stage (The Feminister).

"Our programme reflects our organisation’s commitment to participation and collaboration"

"The 50+ events and screenings that make up Take One Action 2019 are planned and delivered with the collaborative input of over 25 partners, from community groups to universities and international organisations. Not only do these collaborations enable us to anchor our films’ international narratives within a local context, they also help shape, inform and diversify our relationship with audiences – and our ability to respond to the communities we work with, and for.”

Tamara Van Strijthem, Executive Director, Take One Action

Shared Planet strand

The Shared Planet strand interrogates current environmental challenges in the face of growing climate chaos and asks how we move beyond awareness – to meaningful action. Take One Action 2019 coincides with the first ever global climate strike (20-27 September) and the films selected acknowledge the role of youth activism in pushing the climate agenda forward.

Grit explores a young woman’s evolving sense of her power as an activist, in a community devastated by a fracking disaster, while Inventing Tomorrow sees teenage science students tackle some of the most pressing dangers faced by their communities at the forefront of environmental destruction.

The pressing question at the heart of French documentary Time of Forests – the need to preserve forests as wild nature, not as tree plantations, and the potential role of rewilding in re-dressing biodiversity – is particularly pertinent for Scotland, while Eating up Easter (an urgent wake-up call from the remote Pacific, where rising sea levels, mass tourism and rapid development threaten Easter Island itself, as well as its islanders’ cultural traditions) has obvious echoes for Scotland’s many island communities.

The Shared Planet strand also features the latest film by Edward Burtynsky, Anthropocene (the highly anticipated follow-up to Manufactured Lanscapes and The Watermark): a monumental exploration of the ways in which human activity has been transforming the planet over the last few decades.

Ghost Fleet

Workers’ rights and the role of international solidarity continue to form an integral part of the programme at Take One Action with a particular focus this year on the food industry. Through the remarkable story of a Thai female activist dedicated to stamping out modern slavery in her country, Ghost Fleet shines a light on the continued reliance on human trafficking, violence and enslavement in the Thai fishing industry (whose exports the UK consumes in large quantities).

Everything Must Fall

Soyalism investigates how growing demand in China and the US has led to massive concentration of power within the global pork industry (and related soybean monoculture) – and its ramifications for workers rights, land rights and sustainability in places as far afield as Brazil and Mozambique. Everything Must Fall highlights the power of intersectional movements, with student activists protesting tuition fee increases in South Africa linking up with contracted University janitorial and service staff to support their demands for fair employment practices.

Positive social change

As well as celebrating the power of social movements to bring about positive social change, Take One Action is a celebration of the vibrancy and diversity found in the heart of contemporary documentary filmmaking. A rich seam of creativity links films shot from the perspective of very young protagonists: Anbessa takes on the stark reality of internal displacement in East Africa through a poetic, dream-like portrait of a 10-year-old boy, that pays as much attention to its protagonist’s emotional reality as it does to the wider political and economic realities re-shaping Ethiopia.

Gods of Molenbeek explores the effects of violent world events through the prism of a six-year-old boy’s musings on gods, the origins of the universe and our place within in – and offers a hopeful portrait of community cohesion in a district of Brussels most often associated with Islamist extremism. Hassan Fazili’s Sundance-award-winning Midnight Traveler provides a striking interrogation of the current refugee crisis – and Europe’s failure to respond to it – through a deeply personal account of the director’s and his young family’s flight from Afghanistan.

Citizen empowerment

Throughout the festival, Take One Action will host a range of collaborative events and community meals to shine the spotlight on citizen empowerment. Maryhill Integration Network have curated a programme of short films exploring experiences of migration and the importance of the right to work; “making home” is an interactive exhibition presenting images and artefacts from decades of creative activism around the world, and Cyrenians Community Cook School in Edinburgh will host a Syrian supper club, prepared by chefs from the local refugee community.

A free, all-day workshop, delivered in partnership with Oxfam and Christian Aid, will help skill-up those seeking to achieve effective social change, while a free afternoon session at Glasgow Women’s Library will delve into the concepts, dynamics and approaches at the heart of ecofeminism.

More about this year's programme

Take One Action 2019 will visit over 18 venues across the breadth of Edinburgh and Glasgow, including new partner venues The Space in Dalry, Alliance Française de Glasgow and Institut Français d’Écosse. This reflects their growing presence across Scotland, with regular film clubs operating from Melrose to Orkney and forthcoming special screenings in Stirling and Dundee - alongside Take One Action festivals in Aberdeen and Inverness in November.

For 2019, the festival is increasing its efforts to make their events accessible to a wider audience, with 7 of the feature films fully captioned for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and British Sign Language Interpretation offered at several screenings (including the opening and closing films) and, where possible, on request.

The majority of films will be fully subtitled for those for whom English is not their first language and the festival will also be hosting their first audio-described screenings. To help those who are on a low income, under or unemployed or in receipt of benefits to attend, the festival offers a Community Ticket Fund, Travel Fund and Childcare Fund and, for the first time this year, the festival will be implementing a sliding scale ticket policy at all its non-cinema venues (incl. all screenings at CCA in Glasgow), based on what attendees can afford.

Tamara Van Strijthem, Executive Director, said: “Take One Action was set up in 2008 to bring people together, nurture conversations and empower audiences to be the change they want to see in the world – starting from Scotland. At a time when the very notions of solidarity, equality and environmental responsibility are being eroded, providing a direct and accessible connection to contemporary issues through inspiring stories of change feels really crucial. Our festival is not just a platform for the discovery of a rich array of films from five continents, it is an invitation to explore and challenge our current realities – and a direct invitation to reshape our world for the better.

"Our programme reflects our organisation’s commitment to participation and collaboration. The 50+ events and screenings that make up Take One Action 2019 are planned and delivered with the collaborative input of over 25 partners, from community groups to universities and international organisations. Not only do these collaborations enable us to anchor our films’ international narratives within a local context, they also help shape, inform and diversify our relationship with audiences – and our ability to respond to the communities we work with, and for.”

Screen Scotland’s Sean Greenhorn said: “Take One Action is providing a crucial platform for our communal exploration of stories, ideas and questions at the heart of positive social change. Through its expanding programme of world-class films showcasing inspiring stories that explore issues of global concern, the 12 day, Scotland-wide festival invites individuals, communities, campaigners, filmmakers, politicians, academics and artists to explore connections, systems and cultures underpinning social, cultural, environmental and economic inequality – and inspire tangible action for a fairer, more sustainable and more fulfilling world.

“Featuring internationally acclaimed Scottish made films like Tribeca Film Festival Award Winner Scheme Birds, alongside a special preview of Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You and the Scottish premiere of the hotly anticipated Push, this year’s festival is set to return with another powerful programme featuring workers’ rights, citizen empowerment, and youth activism from the very local, and global perspectives.”

You can see the full programme and purchase tickets at https://www.takeoneaction.org.uk/.

Festivals and partners

The festival’s patrons are film director Ken Loach and screenwriter, Paul Laverty. It is funded by Screen Scotland, the Bertha Foundation and Edinburgh City Council.

This year’s partners include Oxfam Scotland, Mercy Corps, Engender, UNISON Scotland, Christian Aid Scotland, Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Moving Docs (Creative Europe), the Scottish Documentary Institute, Glasgow City Council and the department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh.

Media details

For tickets, images, and interviews, please contact Ruth Marsh on 07824468396 or at ruth.marshpr@gmail.com.

More about Take One Action

TAKE ONE ACTION nurture communal exploration of the stories, ideas and questions at the heart of positive social change. Through film screenings, conversation and enquiry, Take One Action bring people together to inspire a fairer, more sustainable and more fulfilling world, in Scotland and beyond our borders. The festival is supported by funding from Screen Scotland, the Bertha Foundation and Edinburgh City Council.

The 20 feature films and 18 short films will be complemented by special events for schools, free community events, workshops and filmmaker masterclasses, in 18 venues across Edinburgh (Filmhouse, Grassmarket Centre, Edinburgh College of Art, Out of the Blue, Augustine United Church, the Institut Français d’Ecosse, The Space in Dalry, Custom Lane, Johnstone Terrace Gardens, Flavour & Haver Cook School) and Glasgow (Glasgow Film Theatre, CCA, Glasgow Women’s Library, City of Glasgow College, Alliance Française de Glasgow, Film City Glasgow, Maryhill Integration Network, Project Café).

Alongside the Edinburgh and Glasgow event in September, Take One Action also organise festivals in Aberdeen (15-17 November, Belmont Filmhouse) and Inverness (22-24 November, Eden Court) and support film clubs across the country (from Melrose to Orkney). Take One Action will be taking part in events in Dundee and Stirling in October, as well as co-hosting special screenings with Extinction Rebellion at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe. All festival events are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, journalists, campaigners, academics or politicians.

All event details and booking links will be available via takeoneaction.org.uk/events from the afternoon of 14 August.

Take One Action are politically neutral. Their intention is to inspire people to feel empowered to find their own routes to action to make the world a fairer, kinder, more sustainable place. They also encourage people to organise their own film screenings through their TOA Locals initiative. For more information on Take One Action, please see takeoneaction.org.uk.