Franz Bohm, a 20-year old filmmaker, is making a feature-length documentary on a topic that most world leaders and politicians don’t want highlighted. The filmmaker original from Germany is working with a team of people to tell the story of young activist in three different countries, and how they are putting their lives and freedom on the line to fight for change.
The film Prayers Do Nothing aims to show the incredible life that activist’s lead and how they are campaigning for a better future. Franz Böhm wants to show the audience with his film that the young of today will not be silenced.
Franz Bohm, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the film (http://kck.st/2sDFEoa), and since news of the campaign it has been described as one of the most important fundraising campaigns of 2019. So, we decided to sit down with Franz and find out more about the campaign and the film.
- You have launched a crowdfunding campaign to put into production a film called “Prayers Do Nothing”, can you tell me more about this film?
“Prayers Do Nothing” is an upcoming feature-length documentary about the young generation bringing attention to the topics that have been over-looked and under-reported for far too long.
We are working with three young protesters in Latin America, Uganda and Hong Kong. The film aims to explore the impact their activism has had on their lives and their motivation to keep going, despite the challenges.
With this documentary, we want to raise awareness about a young generation’s struggle to make change in a world that will not listen, amplify these protesters’ voices and take an in depth look at how modern activism is organised.
- So, is this a film or a documentary?
It’s a documentary.
- You have said that the feature-length documentary is about the young generation and bringing attention to the topics that have been over-looked and under-reported for far too long, so what topics are we talking about?
The protagonists in the film are worried about the threats unfolding against indigenous people living in the amazon forest, China’s raising influence in Hongkong and climate change affecting countries in the global South like Uganda. The outcome of these conflicts will define future world politics and that is the reason why especially young people are very involved.
Our protagonists are experiencing the consequences of these conflicts in their own lives which ignited a fire in their minds which is still burning and motivating them to fight the battle against way more powerful opponents.
- Why do you think these topics have been overshadowed?
Frankly, the global West has a long history of exploitation in the areas that we cover in the film. Having issues such as massive drought and food deserts in Uganda, the crack down on the democratic process in Hong Kong, and the constant trampling of Indigenous rights in South America (and elsewhere) as topics of conversation on a regular basis would force Westerners to reckon with their role in all of these issues. We have been unwilling to call out the obvious perpetrators of these problems because doing that would require us to call out ourselves and our complacency.
Tackling these issues isn’t comfortable. That’s also the reason why I think it’s even more impressive that is often the young people who are leading the resistance.
- There is a lot of unrest in the world, especially in Uganda, Hong Kong, and Latin America, why do you feel country and world leaders are not listening to what the people want?
Again, it is a matter of putting the vested interests of a select few over the needs of the many. It is not in our interest to call out the human rights abuses in Hong Kong, it is not in our interest to call attention to the fact that our endless consumption has devastated the global South, and it is not in our interest to acknowledge that Indigenous people’s ideas of how to care for the land might be better than our own.
Our protagonists are showing the world how, in reality, acknowledging and actually doing something about these problems, are in our interests, and that we cannot sit idly by as the people who have historically been so exploited by us, solve all our problems by themselves.
Our film also shows how the future generation is connecting with each other and building a new, global alliance.
- How important is it for “Prayers Do Nothing” to be made?
I think it is crucial that this film is made and seen by as many people as possible. We surely won’t answer the question why there are so many young activists or what drives them, but I’m convinced that we will contribute an important and honest part to the debate.
- What type of impact do you think your feature film will make on young people?
I’m not quite sure about this. I don’t think all young people will immediately turn into activists since we are exploring the downsides & challenges quite detailed. However, it is important for young people across all nations to know that many people of our generation are in a global fight for their and our future.
- You have turned to crowdfunding to raise money for the production, was this an easy choice to make?
Collecting money via crowdfunding isn’t always easy and it is a lot of work. But we have a great team working really hard on the campaign and also with this campaign, we are able to connect with our supporters and keep them in the loop with everything we are doing.
- At what stage are you with the film?
We already filmed two thirds of the material we need. Our editing department is already working on the material and we are planning our third filming block while also figuring out the best strategy for distribution.
- You have been working with young activist, have their stories moved you or motivated you to tell their stories and people like them?
They did. We had the great honour to work with people who come from an entirely different background. They are grassroots activists fighting incredibly hard for their goals and to achieve them, they are sacrificing very much while being under constant backlash from negative comments and aggressive messages on social media.
- The climate change has become one of the biggest issues, but sadly many world leaders are not taking the action that is required, why do you think that is?
I personally think it’s because they fear the consequences and the backlash of the opposition.
- You are raising just under £14,000, what will the money be spent on?
Mostly for the post-production of the project. With the collected money we will be able to make the project the best way possible and therefore we need suitable & stunning music, well-made sound design & mixing and sensitive editing.
- When the film has been made, where can people expect to watch it?
Hopefully in a cinema or on a festival near their hometown.
To help support the campaign, please visit http://kck.st/2sDFEoa
About Franz Böhm
Franz Böhm is a filmmaker originally from Stuttgart, Germany. At the age of 13, he decided to become a filmmaker, two weeks later he joined his first project as a Set-runner by lying about his age. At 16, after working his way up to first Assistant Director he made his first solo film Harmonie der Anderen.