‘This generation has found new ways of expressing strong criticism of politics and representation, and demanding change.’ – Juan Luis Sánchez, jury member


An international Jury announced the 10 winners of the Radical Democracy: European Video Challenge 2014. During the Award Ceremony on Sunday May 18 in Warsaw, as part of the Planete+ Doc Film Festival, the winners were awarded their prize and all short films were screened. The event appropriately took place in the Varsovian Palace of Culture and Science, a symbol of communist rule in the heart of the city, which now serves as a buzzing cultural centre.

‘Democracy extends beyond the ballot box’, said Katherine Watson, director of the European Cultural Foundation, on the occasion of the Award Ceremony. She reminded the audience of the need for alternative voices and mediums, underlining that Radical Democracy aims to be a platform for the views of young media makers and visual activists across Europe. Peter Matjašič of the Open Society Foundations drew on his experience of growing up in Slovenia, when culture was regarded as something for the elite. ‘But culture is as diverse as Europe itself.’ Matjašič also argued for empowering different voices through projects such as Radical Democracy, especially with the European Elections ahead. ‘We need to break through the bureaucratic and mechanic perception of Europe. We want people to assess notions of democracy and representation, to use their voice.’

Following the speeches, the 5 Winners and 5 Special Mentions were screened. Ranging from the powerful animation on the Gezi Park protests Backward Run and eery sci-fi of Welcome to Oxmouth to the ‘dramedy’Sincerity and the tragicomic satire of remixed Italy 2023 and Party Against Citizens, the winning videos employed diverse genres and techniques. Screened together, the films are an inspiration to rethink democracy in Europe and what role we have ourselves in shaping our societies.

After the screening, Watson handed over the awards to the winning media makers present, followed by a short Q&A. Jury member Juan Luis Sánchez, of Spanish online publication eldiario.es, wrapped up by capturing the essence of Radical Democracy: ‘I learned a lot about the different realities in different countries. This generation has found new ways of expressing strong criticism of politics and representation, and demanding change. Not in an ideological way, but by demonstrating the gap between ‘them’ and ‘us’.’