Annual Report 2015
2015 in a nutshell
We had a productive year. We can call 2015 our ‘Myanmar year’. All of the newly posted productions on our website came from Myanmar: a photography competition and four short documentaries. Besides that, we finished the RAM project, which resulted in the Rainbow Agenda Myanmar (RAM) document, an LGBT advocacy agenda for the coming years, and the documentary Love and Other Matters. Both were well received during the presentation event held in Yangon on 25 September, which almost 100 people attended. In 2016 this documentary will be screened in several cities in Myanmar, shown at international film festivals and posted on our website.
Our communications expanded in 2015. We sent out more newsletters to more recipients, and we had a presence on social media (Facebook). In addition, three articles about Document Our History Now were published in magazines.
During our second annual presentation afternoon in the main branch of the Amsterdam public library (OBA), we showed documentaries from Myanmar and China to an audience of 120 people. The Chinese filmmaker was present and provided a lively Q&A. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was sponsor of that event. A number of private persons and small companies also sponsored Document Our History Now in 2015, with the volume of sponsorship growing slightly compared to 2014.
As a result of our networking activities, several new project plans were developed and formulated. Partial funding/sponsoring was found in 2015, and more will be sought in 2016.
All the stories that were finalised and posted on our website over the course of 2015 were from Myanmar.
- In 2014 we sponsored the Rainbow Reels workshops on documentary filmmaking for young LGBT people. The results of those workshops formed a significant part of the opening night of the first-ever &PROUD Yangoon LGBT Film Festival in Myanmar. Those results were the short documentaries Open, That’s the Way I Am and Shwe. Both the trailers and the documentaries themselves have been posted on our website. All of these three short documentaries were screened in several cities in Myanmar as well as at international film festivals. We also sponsored the Rainbow Reels workshops in 2015, and the results of that series will be posted on our website in the course of 2016.
- We sponsored the second &PROUD LGBT Photography Competition and Exhibition there. The prizewinners were presented on our website. The photos received extensive exposure in the press in Myanmar.
- We sponsored the short documentary She is a male and posted it on our website. The filmmaker attended the Rainbow Reels workshops in 2014 and this was the first documentary he made on his own.
Myanmar: the RAM project and the documentary Love and Other Matters
In Myanmar, Document Our History Now carried out an LGBT visibility and agenda-setting project together with three partners: Colors Rainbow (Myanmar’s LGBT advocacy organisation), the Yangon Film School and a freelance professional. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded us a grant for that project for 2014 and 2015.
The project results are:
- A documentary: Love and Other Matters, made by the Yangon Film School. It shows LGBT life in contemporary Myanmar in all its diversity. The documentary will be posted on our website in the summer of 2016, after it has been screened at various film festivals, both Myanmar and abroad.
- The Rainbow Agenda Myanmar (RAM). After consulting LGBT advocacy workers and LGBT organisations, a document was compiled as an advocacy agenda for the coming years: What does the LGBT community want to achieve in order to improve the position of LGBT people, in which areas and in which ways, and what are their dreams? The document also addresses the consequences of Section 377 of Myanmar’s Constitution, which prohibits homosexual acts.
- Both the documentary Love and Other Matters and the Rainbow Agenda Myanmar were presented at a public event in Yangon on September 25. Almost 100 people came, including representatives from the national press, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the LGBT community and human rights organisations.
Communication: Website, Facebook and newsletter
The website was launched in September 2014. From the very beginning it has presented a lot to see and to read. We have received positive feedback on the website, and it has become an attractive means of presenting ourselves, showing the productions and making our ideas and sponsoring objectives known. Over the course of 2015 we posted five new productions on our website, together with a few webpages about the makers. News facts were also posted on a regular basis.
We also started our own Facebook page, adding about 25 posts over the course of 2015. On 1 January 2016, we had 157 followers.
Our mailing list contained over 600 email addresses by the end of 2015. This group of interested people received seven newsletters. We sent out a newsletter every time a new production was posted on our website. Private individuals can easily subscribe to or unsubscribe from the newsletter.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IHLIA (LGBT Heritage), a presentation event was held in the main branch of the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) on 8 November 2015. It drew 120 interested people who were given a good impression of the achievements and plans of Document Our History Now. We showed two documentaries on that day: Love and Other Matters from Myanmar and Our Marriages from China. The filmmaker of Our Marriages was present and gave a lively Q&A. She was interviewed by Dennis Boutkan.
Friends and sponsors of Document Our History Now
In 2015 we started the ‘Friends of Document Our History Now’ initiative in order to offer our private sponsors (who gave EUR 60 or more) some extra attention and services. These Friends were invited to a viewing of an LGBT documentary at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and received a gift from Cambodia.
Over the course of 2015, our sponsors were the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand), the Aids Fonds, Fonds De Trut, Pann, Smashing Pink, NZ Sauna, Dennis Boutkan of Upstream Consulting, KopArt reclamebureau and Zielhuis Uitvaart, as well as our private sponsors and volunteers.
The Board of Directors in 2015 consisted of Hans Veenhuys (chair), Hugo Bongers (treasurer) and Ben Hekkema (secretary), who replaced Wilma den Uijl, who will remain a close advisor and sponsor of Document Our History Now.
In 2015, our coordinator, Robert Witlox, put a substantial amount of time into supporting the organisation, its productions, the communication, and the presentation event, but also into finding sponsors and expanding a relevant network in Southeast Asia. For a small percentage of those hours he received compensation as a freelancer. In addition, he also fulfilled a project-management and a project-implementing role in the RAM project (both as the project leader and as the producer of the documentary Love and Other Matters) and he was the developer of the project plan for an LGBT+ Digital Library (pilot phase). Both of those projects received project funding.
Finding new projects
In 2015, contacts were established with a variety of organisations, professionals and documentary makers in various countries. We took the initiative to bring together documentary makers, photographers, ideas and funds, playing the role of project developer and producer.
In close collaboration with five community-based organisations in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand, we formulated an ambitious project plan for an LGBT+ Digital Library (pilot phase). The development of this plan was made possible thanks to ‘seed funding’ from the Aids Fonds. In early 2016, the project plan will be presented to various sponsoring / funding opportunities in order to raise the budget needed for the pilot phase of this project.
Based on the success of the RAM project, we presented a follow-up project to the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok. We hope to be able to carry out this follow-up project in 2016 and 2017.
We were able to grant funding in 2015 for a documentary project in Cambodia (about a lesbian/transmen soccer team competing in the regular Cambodian women’s competition) and for a photography project in Indonesia (about transladies visiting and being welcomed into an Islamic school), and in 2016 we will search for additional funding for production, exposition, postproduction and publicity.
Our revenues in 2015 consisted of sponsoring from private sponsors and companies (approx. EUR 2,500), foundations and associations (approx. EUR 1,750) and project subsidies from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Aids Fonds and others (approx. EUR 42,000). Our expenditures concerned the Myanmar project, along with the website, the presentation event, the expansion of our network and the generation of new project ideas. See also our Financial Report 2015.
In compliance with our obligations in connection with our “ANBI” tax status, this Annual Report 2015 and our Financial Report 2015 will both be posted on our website.
Amsterdam, February 2016
The Board of Document Our History Now