image002-9Those interested in new and classic international films which put global development issues into the spotlight will be pleased to hear that Take One Action Film Festival is about to get under way.  There will be different screenings of top-class UK premieres and engaging events in Edinburgh, highlighting international issues people really care about relating to poverty, gender discrimination, climate change and the spread of HIV & Aids – to name but a few.

Audiences will be able to meet the filmmakers and hear more about these issues through interactive discussions with experts.  And most importantly, people will learn how they can take action as individuals or groups to make a difference in helping to resolve these global problems, both at home and overseas.  The international development charity VSO is a key supporter of Take One Action Film Festival and will be at the forefront of a number of events taking place during and around the official festival dates (23 Sept – 5 Oct).  VSO carries out vital work through volunteers, who work in some of the world’s poorest countries, helping to tackle poverty by sharing their professional skills.

Take One Action was actually set up three years ago by former VSO volunteer Simon Bateson.  Over the festival’s duration, VSO will be involved in supporting everything from the UK premier screening of ‘Three and a Half Lives of Phillip Wetu’ by famous Namibian director Richard Pakleppa to workshops and discussions relating to areas like; how individuals can make a difference to tackling global poverty, gender discrimination in the developing world and the importance of global awareness in Scotland’s new education curriculum.  There will also be an opportunity to find out more about volunteering with VSO.

Here’s a rundown on the film screenings and events which VSO is hosting or supporting;

Sun 26th Sept, Edinburgh Filmhouse (6pm-8:20pm) – ‘Three and a Half Lives of Phillip Wetu’ – This UK premier will be shown to an audience who will meet Phillip, an attractive IT professional whose sexual relationships with multiple partners – the driving force behind the spread of HIV in Namibia is about to get him into trouble.  With eight possible endings, this story could go anywhere and it’s for the audience to decide.  This will be followed by the uplifting film ‘The Lazarus Effect’ which stays on the theme of HIV/Aids and illustrates the transformative effect of life-saving medicines in the lives of HIV positive people in Zambia.  It was produced by Spike Jonze/HBO and the HIV awareness brand (RED).

After, there will be a discussion with Jonathan Ssentamu (a returned VSO volunteer), Kalonde Kasengele (Waverley Care African Health Project) and Cathy Crawford (Impact AIDS). Only suitable for 12+ year olds.  Tickets cost £5.20/£6.90.  To book go to www.takeoneaction.org.uk or call 0131 228 2688.

Mon 27th Sept, Edinburgh Filmhouse (5:45pm-8:05pm) – ‘A Walk to Beautiful’ – This is the first screening in Scotland of this inspiring documentary which tells the heartbreaking story of five Ethiopian women who suffer from childbirth injuries. Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, they are expected to spend their lives in loneliness and shame.  Instead they make the long and arduous journey to The Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa where they reclaim their lost dignity. The trials they endure and their attempts to rebuild their lives – tell a universal story of hope, courage and transformation.  The Los Angeles Times said the film: “Leaves you speechless twice over – first with despair, then with joy.”

The film will be followed by audience discussion about gender, power and health with VSO returned volunteer/turned gender campaigner Julia Lalla Maharajh, Malcolm Fleming (campaigns manager for Oxfam Scotland) and Helen Puttick (health correspondent at The Herald).  Only suitable for 12+ year olds.  Tickets cost £5.20/£6.90.  To book go to www.takeoneaction.org.uk or call 0131 228 2688.

Tue 5th Oct, Edinburgh Filmhouse (6pm-8:20pm) – ‘A Small Act’ – Chris’ life in a Kenyan village was transformed by the sponsorship of a Swedish woman – Hilde Back – who he knew only by name. Now a graduate from Harvard and a human rights lawyer working for the UN, he has set up his own education programme for Kenyan children. Weaving between the lives of Chris, Hilde and three children competing for Chris’ fund, this is a moving testament to the selfless act of giving, but also to the great challenges of achieving equal access to educational opportunity in Africa.  The Hollywood Reporter described it as: “A precious, inspiring tale.”

To mark World Teachers’ Day, this screening – aimed especially at teachers but open to all – will be followed only at the Edinburgh screening by a discussion about access to education in Africa as well as inspiring global citizenship through Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland, led by VSO’s education advocacy advisor Purna Shrestha.  Only suitable for 12+ year olds.  Tickets cost £5.20/£6.90.  To book go to www.takeoneaction.org.uk or call Edinburgh Filmhouse on 0131 228 2688.

Wed 6th Oct, The Melting Pot (5 Rose Street), Edinburgh (6pm to 9pm) – ‘VSO’s Six Ways to Make a Change’ – This will be an interactive evening workshop organised by VSO, which includes a presentation on international development that aims to inspire people to make a difference in combating global poverty.  Post talk, there will be six action stations, manned by VSO staff and supporters where attendees can learn more about how they can make a difference in helping tackle global poverty both at home and abroad with opportunity for discussion and a Q&A session.  This event is free.  To register email teresa.sheppard@vso.org.uk

Tue 12th Oct, The Melting Pot (5 Rose Street), Edinburgh (6:30pm-9pm) – ‘Meet VSO’ – This is a great opportunity for those interested in finding out more about volunteering with one of the world’s leading international development charities, VSO.  Individuals will discover how sharing their professional skills through volunteering in the world’s poorest countries, helps in the fight against poverty and disadvantage at this informal and free open evening.  Returned volunteers and VSO staff will be on hand to speak to and will be delighted to relay their inspiring, first-hand experiences of volunteering overseas with VSO and any other information required to help people take the next step.  To register simply log onto www.vso.org.uk/events

Wed 13th October St Augustine’s Church, Edinburgh (6:30pm – 9pm) – ‘Will the Millennium Development Goals Deliver for Women?’ – Women are on the frontline of both the impacts and solutions to global poverty. Join VSO, Christian Aid and Oxfam to learn more about the future for women in the developing world and what individuals can do to ensure the Millennium Development Goals deliver for women. This event is free.  To register email vso.scotland@vso.org.uk

For more info and to register to attend VSO’s events/workshops at Take One Action Film Festival go to www.vso.org.uk/takeoneaction