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Screening based community for active citizenship | Civic Europe
Community development, community cinema, social inclusion

Screening based community for active citizenship

Organizing strategies and community development to engage civic participation


Who is behind this?

Réka Szilárdi

Foundation for Mental Hygiene in Education


Who is joining forces?

Kép-Szín-Ház Alapítvány (Kép-Szín-Ház Foundation, NGO from Szeged engaged in literature, contemporary fine arts and cinematographic programs)


Szabad Terek ("Open Spaces; civil network for providing opportunities for further deepening of relationships between community spaces, organizations and individuals, in order to encourage active solidarity and welcoming public and cultural content)


Kinedok Magyarország (alternative civil documantary platform)


Verzió Film Alapítvány (Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Agency; creative forum and community for international documentaries) Country: Hungary Website:


Idea pitch

Our idea is a community development initiative that supports isolated regional groups by tutoring local actors on organizing public events in the form of community cinema. For this, we have worked out a complex training program including theoretical and practical foundations of community building and have selected various films which problematize subjects that are underrepresented in Hungarian rural society, including social inclusion, minority rights, environmental protection, and migration.

Where will your project idea take place?

Szeged and subregion, Csongrád county, Southern Hungary, Hungary

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In the current context, the Hungarian government’s attitude toward civil society is highly offensive and the political pressure on independent cultural and civic activism has already caused huge relapses concerning the freedom of expression. As a result, outside the capital only a few grassroot civil projects could answer the requirements of the governmental regulations or survive eventually. In Southern Hungary, small communities are struggling to reach out for those who, due to political apathy, are unmotivated or frightened to participate in classic advocacy activities, cultural events or to get acquainted with civic and human rights. Our project’s main goal is to decrease tension between politically polarized groups by initiating dialogues about social issues in their own complexity.

Who are you doing it for?

The project has a dual target group:

1. People living in small communities who are susceptive to community organizing methods, and committed to community building but are currently resourceless and isolated.
We find this target group with the help of our existing civic network, as well as through local visits, calls, and recruitment activities.

2. The civil group of the towns and villages of the Southern Great Plain region.

We reach the population in Szeged through the community cinema programs (2 times a month), our mentors get involved in this process and through community organizing steps (one-on-one interviews, community discussions, finding possible leaders, campaigning for events, fundraising) they also implement a process in their own settlement with our mentoring.

How do you plan to get there?

Nov, 2020–Jan, 2021: Creating and translating lecture notes, contact research for community organisers from small communities, 3 day training course in Szeged for them, during which they learn about the theoretical foundations of community building as well as fundraising methods.

Feb. –Apr, 2021: Community cinema in Szeged. Organizers can also observe the learned theoretical knowledge in practice. While gaining practical knowledge, they conduct a situation survey in their own area and develop a community program.

May. –July, 2021: Practical implementation of the programs.

Aug.–Oct, 2021: Publication of the lecture notes, organization of a 3-day film festival in Szeged, where we present the developed professional program. Project Closing, publishing professional materials.

What are the expected results?

- forming a regional network of community organizers
- at least 4 active communities (including Szeged)
- developing public digital training materials
- active engagement in small towns and Szeged
- connecting local civil society and the corporate sector
- strengthening national and international relations
- increasing local civic engagement
- strengthening participatory democracy
- sensitization towards social issues (women, LGBTQ, migration, etc.)
- surveying local needs

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Community cinemas are volunteer-led, non-profit groups which screen films in their community. As a self-motivated group we have organised many screenings followed by discussions with the participation of invited guests (directors, experts, professors) in the past. Through these occasions we have learned that this particular form of event could provide a great opportunity for citizens to discuss and debate, to articulate their personal opinions and to express their feelings about social issues represented by the selected documentaries. According to our project plan, we intend to show our mentorees what kind of instruments are available (advertisement, campaign, fundraising) to strengthen their community’s activities in the interest of maintaining the importance of social responsibility.

Why is this idea important to you?

We want to live in a community where people feel they can contribute to the events around them. We are committed to shaping attitudes through cultural content, and we believe that with indirect, experience-focused events, we can achieve much greater results in terms of community building and active citizenship. The concept of participatory democracy in Hungary is almost unknown. A significant proportion of the nation does not believe in being able to actively influence decisions in their local environment, especially in rural areas. It is important that methodology of community organization can involve citizens in a way that they feel their participation, on the other hand, because the small communities of the region can be effectively developed together with the Szeged experience.

€ 40950,-

Total budget

€ 33950,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Translation work of community organizing documents from foreign languages: 1500 EUR
- Developing an educational material that can be made public: 1200 EUR
- Personnel costs: 10500 EUR
- Training costs: 1500 EUR
- Office expenses: 400 EUR
- Events room rental (external location): 900 EUR
- Design: 600 EUR
- Royalties (Film): 1200 EUR
- Technical equipment: 6300 EUR
- Travel expenses: 550 EUR
- Community events: 7200 EUR
- Honorarium for external experts: 1500 EUR
- Website: 600 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any thoughts and ideas are kindly welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you!







Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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