Sunday 19th July — 7.00pm
“… a sharp political reminder to pay attention to politics and to remember that the personal and the local are political.” Charlie Phillips, The Guardian
If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word means. Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis, What Is Democracy? reflects on a word we too often take for granted. Featuring a diverse cast – including celebrated philosophers, trauma surgeons, factory workers, refugees, and politicians – What Is Democracy? connects past and present … the emotions and the intellect … the personal and the political … to provoke and inspire.
Director Astra Taylor’s idiosyncratic, philosophical journey spans millennia and continents: from ancient Athenians’ ground-breaking experiment in self-government to capitalism’s roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor.
Canada 2019/107 mins
Director Astra Taylor
Producer Lea Marin
In conversation, live from New York, Astra Taylor, the director of What Is Democracy? with Professor Damien Kingsbury.
Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy?, Examined Life (TIFF 2008), and Zizek! (TIFF 2005); the author of the American Book Award winner The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Walrus, The Baffler, n+1, and many other outlets. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a former touring member of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Her latest book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, came out from Metropolitan Books in early 2019.
Damien Kingsbury holds a Personal Chair and is Professor of International Politics at Deakin University. He has published more than two dozen books on subjects within the international political field, has led 11 international election observer missions, and helped broker the 2005 Aceh peace agreement. Prior to Academia, Damien was a journalist, and winner of the 1983 Australian News Correspondents Memorial Award. He is also Deputy Chair of the Balibo House Trust and Convener of the Australian Western Sahara Association (Vic) and the Chair of the Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival.