Directors: Stéphane Santini, Géraldine Andre, Laurence Hoenig, Pierre-Yves Bernard, Writer: Stéphane Santini, Géraldine Andre, Production: Aftermedia, Country: France, Available audio: French/Italian, 56′, 2020, Rights: Italy, UK, Sweden, Bulgaria.
40 Humanitarians and their loved ones opens up.
War, emergency, pandemics and hunger. Everywhere on the planet, humanitarian workers are used to the most extreme and contrasted missions and contexts.
Conversely, rare are those humanitarians who venture into the realm of the intimate. Forty humanitarian workers and their loved ones did just this, confiding straightforwardly about the risk, the commitment, the first time, the powerlessness, the encounters, the passion, the return home and the unspeakable. In this film, which is logically turned towards others, the question of the selfishness of those who make the commitment is also raised and taken as a given. Openly and without pretension, the witnesses in this film tell us who they are and speak of their commitment to others, their doubts, their weaknesses and the images that haunt them.
In this film, the humanitarians are not the only ones to bear witness – the women and men who share their private and personal lives also tell their stories. The result is an original and intimate documentary that provides a fascinating insight into the inner worlds of humanitarian workers both in the field and away from the action.
There are many stories about humanitarian action as it has played out in the recent history of certain countries; stories at the heart of the action, in a specific context, often linked to high-visibility events (such as Syria and the Ebola crisis). News images where natural disasters or war become the norm. In the midst of these images, humanitarian workers are on the front line speaking out, providing care and helping those in need. For this film, we have chosen to break the usual codes of those reports, as they have already been seen so many times. Instead, we put the same questions to a large number of humanitarian workers and their loved ones; we invited them to talk about themselves, their convictions, their doubts, their weaknesses, their fears and their decision to get involved in this kind of work. We chose to make humanitarian engagement and what it entails the central theme. This film is different in the way it is both structured and written in that it is composed of interviews conducted out of the spotlight, away from the action. Many people had the opportunity to share their experiences, to talk about the fates they chose for themselves, or that befell them. The intimate interviews are supported by footage from the field, vividly showing the world as it is. This documentary is also its title. SELFISH is challenging. Only listening to oneself in order to help others could be perceived by some as an egotistical approach, like any other decision regarding a life choice or a course of action.
MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES/DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (MSF) OPENED ITS DOORS TO THE FILMMAKERS. MSF HAS MORE THAN 40,000 VOLUNTEERS DISTRIBUTED ACROSS NUMEROUS EMERGENCY MISSIONS. ITS EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE ARE RECOGNISED WORLDWIDE. IN ALLOWING THIS UNPRECEDENTED DOCUMENTARY TO BE MADE, MSF IS LIFTING THE VEIL ON A WAY OF LIFE AND MODE OF ACTION THAT IS AS GRIPPING AS IT IS UNIQUE.
Selected at the Lugano Festival of Human Rights
Selected at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival
Finalist in DOCU competition of the Deauville Green Awards
« BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY » at the Paris Film Festival