The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
Since 1895 when cinema began, numerous documentaries and fictional films have born witness to movements and changes in society, and they have done so in very diverse ways. The cinema is both a witness of History and the material of which it is made. Like the written word, it is part of the way the world is represented. It uses a language—the language of images and sound—that depicts and also influences these movements.
How can this cultural heritage be better disseminated, how can it be allowed to nourish the many interrogations we have about difficult changes now in progress? How can it be made available to all?
These interrogations were at the heart of the creation, in 2005, of the Autour du 1er mai association, whose goals are to share cinema in its multiple and diverse forms, help find and choose films, construct a programme and lead debate in the spirit of the ‘film clubs’ created to educate the public at large. May 1 (Labour Day) has great significance for millions of people around the world; the association that bears the same name stands with all those who, like the surrealists or the protesters of the 1960’s, wish to “change the world, change life”.
The Autour du 1er mai association aims to promote the use of cinema in the service of social transformation and the transition—to bear witness to the change and also to serve as a tool.
This challenge can be broken down into several objectives:
identify, list and organise films in thematic areas dear to us: transition, ecology, social movements, world of work, exercising democracy, citizen media, human rights… so that everyone can find these films easily.
help structures in civil society use cinema to support pleas and widen audiences by assisting them in finding films and setting up programming, constructing a thematic filmography, etc.
organise film projections-public meetings in the presence of experts in the issues addressed, so that the film is considered a tool for understanding and analysis, just like other types of documents or studies.
coordinate training in image analysis, for specific groups, on a precise subject.
create social ties around the cinema, in the tradition of film clubs.