RYCO Partners with Beldocs 2024: Using Documentary Films to Inspire Peacebuilding

Serbia – RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia teamed up with the Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival 2024 for an exciting RYCO Youth Talk “RYCO@Beldocs – Can We Escape War Games?” last Saturday. The discussion was based on the documentary film “How to Disappear – Deserting from Battlefield” and brought young people together to discuss important issues related to peacebuilding in the region through the lens of documentary films. 

Created by “Total Refusal”, Austrian media guerrilla group, this documentary film used the online war game “Battlefield V” to explore the concept of desertion as a form of resistance against the dominant social order, and it raised questions about conflict, peace, and the role of youth in the peacebuilding process. The film additionally sparked discussions on nationalism, patriarchy, and the impact of violent and extremist ideologies in the Western Balkans. Young people had a chance to discuss these issues with members of Total Refusal, Michael Stumpf, Leonhard Muellner, and Robin Klenger, representative of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia, Marko Milosavljević, psychologist Tatjana Prokić, as well as member of Beldocs Teen Jury Natalija Gavrilović. The documentary was part of the Beldocs Teen Jury program, selected by high school students from Serbia, which showed how relevant and engaging it was for young audiences. 

As films play a crucial role in highlighting past events and presenting different perspectives that are often missing from the mainstream, this collaboration represent part of RYCO’s ongoing effort to use art and culture as powerful tools for peacebuilding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans. Recognizing how powerful movies can be in challenging dominant narratives and sparking meaningful conversations among youth, RYCO has been working with several film festivals in the Western Balkans in the past years. 



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