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Backlight: State of Alert Israel Style

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‘When it comes to security, Europe is still in a state of denial’ – (Michal Marmary, Homeland Security Tel Aviv)

Why is the Belgian Minister for Security, Jan Jambon, looking at ‘city tanks’ in Tel Aviv? Recent suicide attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice and Berlin have greatly increased focus on civilian safety in Europe. More and more, politicians, security experts and the media refer to Israel as a model of well-organized civilian security. Some even talk about the ‘Israelisation of Europe’. But what exactly is the Israeli security model? Can it be applied in Europe and what world view would our continent be importing along with it?

Backlight: Shale Cowboys

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Having your own sources of energy is an important weapon in the global economy. Since 2013 the United States are striking important blows against fossil-rich opponents such as Saudi Arabia with the extraction of shale gas and shale oil from their own soil. The price of a barrel of crude oil dropped from 100 dollars to less than 50. The Texan shale producers who survived this price war are the new heroes of the United States. Under ‘drill president’ Donald Trump the shale cowboys are eager to help Europe become energy-independent as well. An investigation in Trumpland.

Backlight: The Age of Mankind

An ocean that contains just as much plastic as fish, an atmosphere pumped full of CO2 and the massive extinction of animals. The destructive influence of mankind will be at least as disastrous as the asteroid’s impact that once caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs from the earth. This caused Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen to introduce a new geological era: the Anthropocene, or the age of man.


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This is a story of five young people who neither feel male or female, but rather position themselves somewhere in between. Everyday they are confronted with being different, yet they are proud to be who they are. The young people in this film all have their own struggles but together they tell a strong story about acceptance. The film plays with the curiosity, interest and incomprehension of anything outside the mainstream gender norm.

Debt Society

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In a working-class neighborhood in North Amsterdam, almost everyone is deep in debt. Every month a parade of heavies, a bailiff, a police officer and a locksmith moves through the streets to evict people from their homes. It’s the ultimate, most dramatic consequence of the centuries-old hunt down on debtors. While the locals struggle with fines, guilt and shame, bailiffs and social workers face locked doors. At city hall, a councilman designates the debt problem as the spearhead of his policy. Meanwhile, the unpaid bills keep piling up.

Backlight: The Fair Business

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Designer Bas van Abel decided to create a mobile phone, while exploiting man and nature as little as possible. The dilemma’s he encountered while manufacturing his Fairphone are lessons for everyone who strives to run a fair company.

Backlight: Digital Civilian Detectives

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What can you do against regimes and armies that provide no or little information about incidents, bombings, torture or abuses? The citizen detective finds out by himself. With the tools and data available in the digital domain, citizens are very well able to reconstruct what happened and thus discover ‘the truth’.

Backlight: Cultural Barbarians


A sculpture of a kneeling Hitler was recently sold for 17 million dollars. Has art turned into nothing more than a market, where only museums’ visitor numbers count, or the stardom of an artist such as Ai Weiwei? A new generation of artists is fighting this trend and creating explicitly activist art connected to a changing world.

Backlight: The Mayor – Mobility is a Human Right

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Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, celebrated and loved for taking on the mafia, is a man with a mission. He wants mobility to be recognized as a human right. In his city, Orlando has done away with residence permits. He personally welcomes African gold-diggers arriving in the harbour. He recently visited The Hague in order to launch his approach at the first meeting of the Global Parliament of Mayors. Can one mayor make the difference?  

Backlight: Superfortness Europe

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The budget Brussels makes available for European border protection has increased by billions in the past few years. The reason: terrorism and the growing numbers of refugees. New surveillance technology is a growth market that is literally gaining ground because of all the deals Brussels is making with so-called third countries: After the Turkey Deal, agreements are now also being made with countries such as Niger and Sudan, and, if current EU president Malta has anything to say about it, with Libya too, as soon as possible. Money, knowledge and technology in exchange for shifting Europe’s borders.

Backlight: Eurotopia

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The European Union is morally and culturally bankrupt, according to German philosopher and historian Ulrike Guérot. Time to carry the EU project to its grave. Guérot envisions a European republic that consists of 50 regions around clusters of big cities, with a recognizable identity and shared economic and cultural interest. A decisive Europe that reinvents itself.

Backlight: Black Lives Matter

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In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States.

Zembla: Dry Eyed

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GP Michael Brouwer wears glasses, but he would prefer to do without, which is why he has his eyes lasered. After his operation he is in so much pain that he doesn’t know how to go on with his life. It feels as if someone is continuously poking in his eyes with a knife. It turns out that Brouwer has developed nerve pain, a rare but debilitating complication, about which he was not forewarned.