Yes Men, the culture jamming activist duo, are coming to Pelicam!

11.05.2017
Mike

The two activists from Yes Men are coming to Tulcea to attend the sixth edition of Pelicam, the International Film Festival on Environment and People. The entertaining environment and human rights defenders will come for the first time in Romania at the invitation of Pelicam to be a part of the jury for the official competition of the festival, together with Ion Barbu, artist from Petrila.

Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonano (Yes Men) use humour to draw attention to the worst environmental problems of our days. They are the protagonists of three documentary features: The Yes Men (2003), The Yes Men Fix the World (2009) and The Yes Men are Revolting (2014)  in which they attack through hoaxes and farces, corporations and governmental organizations which they consider to dehumanize the society.

“We are so very excited to come to Pelicam Festival!  Of all the film festivals in the world, this is the one we chose, so we can join in your Romanian Spring activities. We have never been to Romania, much less Tulcea, which looks so very exotic – and yet familiar, especially for Andy whose mother is Romanian! For him it is the homecoming to a home he’s never known. For Mike, it is the legendary Romanian welcome and the call of the Black Sea that has him crippled with anticipation. YES PELICAM HERE WE COME!”– Yes Men for Pelicam.

In 2004, Yes Men went on a tour posing in the group, ‘Yes, Bush Can!’ before George W Bush was re-elected as US president. They have encouraged Bush’s supporters to sing a ‘Patriot Commitment’ in which Bush promised to store nuclear waste in their yard and to send their children to war. They have even appeared at the Republican National Convention in 2004 and crossed the country in a caravan with a body suit copying George W Bush.

The Yes Men are Revolting (2014) was one of the most popular documentaries at the fifth edition of Pelicam, and is the warm up film for this year’s edition. On 28 May, at 20.00, The Yes Men are Revolting will be screened at J’ai Bistrot, within GLOD programme about making the future with your hands. The film documents the adventures of the two jokers who play pranks under the names of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonano. In their third documentary they are taking on corporations and governments that are doing nothing to combat climate changes that are becoming increasingly dangerous nowadays.

What we have in the official competition at Pelicam 2017

Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping (r. Denis Delestrac, Spain/France, 2016) – In an audacious investigation, Freightened will reveal the mechanics and perils of freight shipment; an all-but-visible industry that holds the key to our economy, our environment and the very model of our civilisation.

Winding (r. Avi Belkin, Israel, 2016) reveals the untold story of the most infamous river in Israel, the Yarkon. Exploring the interplay between society, politics and nature, the film presents the Israeli narrative through an entirely new and important lens. We trace the story of the river back from its glory days in pre-state Palestine where Jews and Arabs shared its resources. We watch its deterioration, gaining infamy as the most polluted and dangerous river. And we follow its current attempts at healing and recovery.

Peter and the Farm (r. Tony Stone, USA, 2016) – A documentary on Peter Dunning, the proprietor of Mile Hill Farm in Vermont who has isolated himself away from his family and often suggests to the filmmakers to make his own suicide a narrative device. At once a postcard from paradise and a cautionary tale for our times, Peter and the Farm sifts through the potential energy of a human life, that which is used and that which is squandered.

Plastic China (r. Jiuliang Wang, China, 2016) tells a story about an unschooled 11-year-old girl Yi-Jie, she’s a truly global child who learns the world through the United Nations of Wastes while working with her YI minority parents in this recycle workshop thousand miles away from their mountain village home town. Going to school is all she longing for. And the ambitious boss of the workshop Kun, who works so hard for trying to give his family a better life. Through the story of these two families, the film explores how these wastes recycled by the bare hands of families, and discovers their dilemma and choices of suffering irreversible damages on life just to make a living. It also observes that the world is flat and issues don’t go away by changing time and location – we’re all in this together.

Zona Franca (r. Georgi Lazarevski, Chile/France, 2016)  is an outdated shopping district at the heart of Chile. Modern antiheroes bearing the burden of broken dreams, they demonstrate what can’t be found in the tour brochures: a violence deeply rooted in this place which only comes to light when a strike paralyses the region.

Andy and Mike from Yes Men will evaluate the films from the main competition together with Ion Barbu. Born in Petrila, the artist set his mind to transform Petrila through art. The closing of the mine is not the end of the city for him, but the chance to revive the place through culture. Among his accomplishments we can mention the foundation of a cultural center in a former building of the mine – Center Pompadou.

The five films in the main competition will be screened in national premiere, in the presence of special guests.

Pelicam is organized by Les Herbes Folles Association, with the support of National Film Center, the Municipality of Tulcea, BRD Asigurări de Viață, Primex, ACMS, Aqua Carpatica și Brodrene Dahl.