The World Needs You ... film festival

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VUB and Flagey join forces to offer you an online film festival. Our curators did not only choose their purpose. They also chose some wonderful films that inspired them. Maybe they will inspire you too?


Every week you can watch different films within a different theme. The main film is chosen by our curator, but you also have the choice of 3 or 4 films. Short, long, docu, fiction. We will announce them every week on Monday!

19.04.21 > 25.04.21 - Partnership with Caroline Pauwels and Gilles Ledure
26.04.21 > 02.05.21 - Poincaré with Lisa Ahenkona
03.05.21 > 09.05.21 - Peace with Erhan Demirci
10.05.21 > 16.05.21 - Prosperity with Jimmy Hendry Nzally
17.05.21 > 23.05.21 - People with Lidewij Nuitten and Lukas Dhont
24.05.21 > 30.05.21 - Planet with Pieter Elsen

How does it work?

Reserve your (free!) ticket on the platform of Flagey. You get an e-mail with a personal link. With this link you can watch movies for for 6 weeks. Every week the theme and films change, on Monday at noon.

Find your Purpose

Some have found it. Others have had it since childhood. And still others, perhaps most of all, are still searching for it. Purpose. What you get up for. What you leave things for. What drives you, gives you energy, what makes you enthusiastic for others. Are you one of the lucky ones? You already know what you want to fill your life with, day in and day out? Congratulations, we are jealous. You still haven't found it? Then let us inspire you. Listen to how other people suddenly found it. See how passionately they talk about their passion.

Welcome at The World Needs You. Our film festival with Flagey and Pilar offers you six weeks of inspiring or challenging films. Chosen and introduced by a personality who was inspired by them, who sees his or her own purpose reflected in them or has even found it. Free for you.

What is your purpose? Planet, prosperity or partnership? People, Poincaré or Peace? Take a look and let it bubble up. The world also needs you - urgently.

Sustainable Development Goals

The World Needs You is built and based on the Millennium Goals of the United Nations. Through commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, you too can help build a sustainable world. As an Urban Engaged University, VUB wants to bundle its small and large commitments into one powerful statement for sustainability and engagement. And invite our entire community to join in. That is The World Needs You...


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Without cooperation we will get nowhere. It has always been like that, it always will be. Every film is an interaction between man and world, between the camera and the filmed reality. For this project, VUB and Flagey join forces.

The choice of Caroline Pauwels

Caroline Pauwels is the rector of the VUB. In this role, she is an advocate of a university that is committed to its city and a science that is committed to the world.

That commitment starts from humanity, sustainability and connection. From critical thinking as a counter-current to alternative facts and stereotypical images. From wonder, the intersection between art and science.

Film, too, is at that intersection. No medium can depict the world as faithfully as the moving image. At the same time, it is an inexhaustible source of creation. For imagination.

Salt of the Earth (Brazilië, 2014), Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
109’ – FR – subt: NL - docu - trailer

The choice of Gilles Ledure

Gilles Ledure is Flagey's general and artistic director, but has devoted his entire life to classical music. In Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

That he knows something about partnership and connection in that role is proven by the title he received from France for his contribution to the cultural and artistic relations between Belgium and France: Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

In addition to his leading role in orchestras and cultural institutions, he is committed to young people venturing into classical music. Sustainability and the future for the current generation of young people are also close to his heart.

Interstellar (GB/USA, 2014), Christopher Nolan
169’ – EN – subt : NL - fictie - trailer


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Salt of the Earth (Brazilië, 2014), Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

Over the past 40 years, photographer Sebastião Salgado has travelled all continents, following in the footsteps of an ever-evolving human race. He has witnessed some of the great events of our recent past: international conflicts, famines and exoduses. Now he is exploring unspoilt areas, wild fauna and flora, and grandiose landscapes as part of a majestic photographic project as a tribute to the splendour of the world. Sebastião Salgado's work and life are revealed to us by his son, Juliano, who accompanied him on his last travels, and by Wim Wenders as a photographer. The film shows the beauty of man and planet, but also how we treat that beauty. Yet there is also an important message of hope.

Interstellar (GB/USA, 2014), Christopher Nolan

Science fiction film by Christopher Nolan with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain & Matt Damon. The earth has become uninhabitable due to depletion of natural resources. A group of astronauts must search for a habitable planet. Can a very special partnership save the world and its people? Although the film starts from a dystopian future, it mainly shows how we, as humanity, can take our future into our own hands.


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The world needs people who see the world through a different lens. People who dare to think in a different way. Film has the power to reflect and investigate critically. To tell stories freely from any perspective.

The choice of Lisa Ahenkona

Lisa Ahenkona, a young Brussels native, is in the prime of her life. She never sits still, takes every new opportunity that comes her way and in the meantime keeps expanding her horizons.

Lisa can and is many different things, but at the moment she is also a scientific researcher at the VUB. Within the department of Communication Sciences, she is working on a visual participatory project in which people with a migration background reflect on their own image. She takes to the streets with sans papiers as a film crew. One of the realisations is a reportage about how these people experience the lockdown. The social themes and the alternation between theory and practice excite her most in this job.

Lisa's eternal mission: to be curious and to seek out connections with the people she shares the city with.

Chez Jolie Coiffure (België, 2018), Rosine Mbakam 
61’ – FR – subt: NL/EN - docu - trailer

Extra films

Bombay Beach (USA, 2011), Alma Har’el 
80’ – EN – docudrama – musical - trailer 

Downside Up (België, 2016), Peter Ghesquière 
30’ – NL – subt: NL/EN – short - trailer

No Offense (België, 2016), Kris Borghs 
7’ – no dialogue – short animation - trailer


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Chez Jolie Coiffure (België, 2018), Rosine Mbakam

The world seen from a hair salon in Matonge. That of the Cameroonian Sabine to be precise. After her escape from Lebanese slavery, she works in Brussels. Even now, unrest reigns: working days of 14 hours are accompanied by uncertainty about her residence permit. The film is special because of its perspective. The camera does not leave the minuscule hairdresser's shop, but still manages to grab the world by the extensions.

Bombay Beach (USA, 2011), Alma Har’el

In a forsaken American coastal town, the inhabitants experience the American Dream in reverse with each other. To beautiful music by Beirut and Bob Dylan, the Israeli film maker Alma Har'el shows how things, without good or evil, coexist with their surroundings. You experience this tragic and magical experiment from three separate perspectives: a bipolar boy with a tormented soul and a vivid imagination, a talented black teenager on the run from a dangerous gang, and an old oil worker who lives on whisky, cigarettes and an unstoppable joie de vivre.

Downside Up (België, 2016), Peter Ghesquière

The world is populated with people with Down's syndrome. One day, a little boy is born who is different. He is not normal. He looks and acts a bit different. Charming and heart-warming film full of black humour in an 'upside down' fantasy world. It simply makes you think.

No Offense (België, 2016), Kris Borghs

A line of cartoonists appears before a macabre tribunal consisting of some controversial historical figures. Every time one of the judges is offended by a cartoon, its creator is irrevocably executed. The last one in line doesn't really like that. A delicious indictment of censorship.


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The world needs you to fight against injustice, but also to reconcile. To live together beyond differences. The camera is also mightier than the sword.

The choice of Erhan Demirci

Erhan Demirci has something to say about 'living together'. Intercultural misunderstandings and stereotypical thinking is the field he ploughs with a broad smile. As a comedian, humour is his tool. He laughs at everything, but especially at himself.

In 'Wa Make', he taught us how important and decisive your roots remain. Whether it is the Limburg cite, or the homeland of your ancestors. After the attacks in 2016, he stuck a plaster on the Brussels wound with 'Comes Good'. He reconciled us with each other again. It's not about our differences, it's about what connects us.

Of course, Erhan is much more than a joker. He is a VUB Fellow, a regular host at our student kick-off and an eternal promise of KFC Ham United.

L'étranger (Belgium, 2016), Kenneth Michiels

54' - FR - subt: NL/EN - docu - trailer

Extra films

The Land of the Enlightened (BE/IE/NL/DE/AF, 2016), Pieter-Jan De Pue  

'87 - EN/RU/FA/PU/Z/KI - subt: NL/EN - docufiction - trailer

Baghdad Messi (BE/IQ/AE, 2013), Sahim Omar Kalifa  

'19 - AR - subt: NL/ EN - short film - trailer

Springstof (Belgium, 2018), Robbin Rooze  

'19 - NL - subt: EN - short film - trailer


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L'étranger (Belgium, 2016), Kenneth Michiels

Brussels society reflected in a football team of ketjes? L'étranger follows the newly immigrated Senegalese football coach Moussa for a year at BX Brussels, Vincent Kompany's social sports project. By remaining authentically true to himself and his roots, and by continuing to believe in his 'unruly' youngsters, he makes a difference.

The Land of the Enlightened (BE/IE/NL/DE/AF, 2016), Pieter-Jan De Pue

Masterful narrative documentary by Pieter-Jan De Pue who travelled through Afghanistan for seven years. He captures the beauty of a war-torn country, and at the same time shows the inspired creativity of young people in survival mode, and the extreme resilience of people and country. War as you have never seen it before.

Baghdad Messi (BE/IQ/AE, 2013), Sahim Omar Kalifa

Baghdad 2009. In the village of little Hamoudi the most important war is raging: who is the best player in the world, Messi or Ronaldo? Touching war short film. About football dollars and young dreams.

Springstof (Belgium, 2018), Robbin Rooze

When three young men with Arab roots suddenly find a bomb in their pick-up, they run into more prejudices than they can handle. Short Flemish Western. As funny as it is painful.


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The world needs you to reduce poverty and inequality. To achieve prosperity, for everyone. Even in black and white, film was a powerful tool to show social injustice.

The choice of Jimmy Hendry Nzally

No smile has ever been as inspiring as that of Jimmy Hendry Nzally. Behind his open view and human warmth lies a deep commitment to man and society.

In his homeland The Gambia, he studied Development Studies and African History, at the VUB Linguistics and Literary Studies. He has worked for the Network of Capital Universities of Europe (UNICA), the University of the Gambia, the US Embassy and government in Gambia and the World Food Programme. He is now writing a PhD on democratisation in The Gambia.

In his homeland, Jimmy was an activist, youth worker and media figure. As a radio presenter, he devoted himself to young people and local communities. He founded Global Hands Gambia and the University of the Gambia Leadership Fellowship. He is still committed to his home country and to creating opportunities for young people.

At the VUB, he was chairman of the International Students Platform, and founded both the African and Latin American Students Community. He also regularly wrote poetry for de Moeial student newspaper. Born commitment.

Mandela: Long walk to Freedom (UK/ZA/FR, 2014), Justin Chadwick 
141’ - EN/AFR/XHOSA - subt: FR – biography, historical drama - trailer

Extra films

Capharnaüm (LB/USA/FR/CY/QA/UK, 2019), Nadina Labaki 
126’ - ARA – subt: NL/FR - drama - trailer

Het Leven van Esteban (BE, 2017), Ines Eshun 
<30’ - FR/NL - subt: NL/EN - short - trailer

Allegory of the Jam Jar (BE, 2015), Boris Kuijpers & Ruth Mellaerts
<30’ - NL – subt: EN - short - trailer


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Mandela: Long walk to Freedom

(UK/ZA/FR, 2014), Justin Chadwick 


(LB/USA/FR/CY/QA/UK, 2019), Nadina Labaki 

The Life of Esteban

(BE, 2017), Ines Eshun

The Jam Jar Allegory

(BE, 2015), Boris Kuijpers & Ruth Mellaerts


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The world needs you to look after people, whoever they are, wherever they live, how they live or what they have been through. From the very first pellicules, film portrayed man and all his activities.

The choice of Lidewij Nuitten

The Girl with A Movie Camera, that's how most TV viewers know Lidewij Nuitten. Those who have stayed with Martine after the Journaal, saw how Lidewij got to know her entire street in Schaarbeek with her camera.

Lidewij leaves her own surroundings, and also shows herself. That demolishes thresholds, and gives her work a great human authenticity. She shows without judging, and invites us to look beyond our own ideas.

In Waar is Mark? half of Dutch-speaking Belgium followed 'live' how she went looking for her first lover, and at the same time showed different faces of adoption.

Lidewij taught TV-loving Flanders again how beautiful ordinary people can be, if only you take the time to look at them. Always respectful, always friendly, she does not avoid any subject.

Minding the gap (USA, 2018), Bing Liu 
93' - ENG – subt: NL – coming of age docu

The choice of Lukas Dhont

The globally awarded film Girl by Lukas Dhont also kick-started the gender debate here.

Girl tells the story of a talented teenager with gender dysphoria at a prestigious ballet school. Gender dysphoria is a deep sense of unease about the sex you were born with.

Lukas has a special interest in the movement of bodies. He seeks out stories that challenge people to think differently than they used to.

He is currently working on his second feature film, Close.

Girlhood (BE, 2017), Heleen Declercq 
<30’ - ENG/NL - subt: NL/FR - short

Extra film: 
Connected (BE, 2019), Bram Van Landschoot 
<30’ - NL – subt: EN - short


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Minding the gap

Bing, Zack and Keire grow up in the heart of America's Rust Belt. Those who grow up here usually look forward to a future of unemployment, poverty, addiction and violence. The friends find an outlet in skateboarding. One of them, Liu Bing, films all their adventures and records how they are inexorably sentenced to adulthood: looking for work, a steady relationship, having children ... Years later, he returns to his birthplace to see what has become of his friends. Minding the Gap won a whole load of awards worldwide and was widely praised for its heartrending authenticity. Director Liu Bing is not an outsider, but is in the middle of this unique registration of the great leap from youth to adulthood, from boy to man. A jump with a lot of pitfalls in between. Minding the Gap gets under your skin like no other and crosses the border between fiction and non-fiction in a magnificent way. Because it is all real, but you feel for them, as if they were your most beloved film characters.


In 'Girlhood', film maker Heleen Declercq wants to break through the learned stereotype about femininity by looking at her own youth. Boyhood' but through the eyes of a growing woman.


The Tinder empire is over. A new way of dating is emerging: virtual reality is the future for singles looking for more. The new technology allows you to personalise your avatar and go out to restaurants without leaving home.


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The world needs you to take care of the planet. Climate, plastic, energy, biodiversity, food ... there are solutions. Many recent films ask questions and show how it can be done. We just have to do it.

The choice of Pieter Elsen

Pieter Elsen, a native of Brussels, studied Architecture and Management at the VUB. One sunny day, he was sitting along the Brussels canal, and suddenly saw a whole pile of rubbish floating by. He bought a kayak and tackled the waste.

Canal It Up was born.

It soon became clear that they not only had to tackle the problem of litter, the canal and the Senne also have to contend with great natural poverty and poor water quality.

Canal It Up raises awareness and has already devised many concrete solutions. Some of these are currently being studied by the Port of Brussels.

For Pieter, it was his love of the city that inspired him. And the realisation that we as humans can do better for the world.

The Story of Plastic (USA, 2019), Deia Schlosberg 
95' - ENG – docu

The choice of Natalie Eggermont

Natalie Eggermont is an emergency doctor, politician and young mother. During the 2015 Paris climate summit, she was the leader of Climate Express, and VUB student of Emergency Medicine in Jette.

Activism for the climate is in her veins. As a child, she organised clean-up actions in the verges and forests with girls from the neighbourhood. In secondary school, she was active in 11.11.11. and organised actions about the millennium goals.

At UGent, she founded D'Urgent, the student movement for sustainability. During her studies, she also worked abroad: Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Cambodia and Guatemala. She organised the Train to Warsaw and founded Climate Express. With "Climate Express, Traces of Change" she wrote a book about it. In 2019 she co-presented the docuseries Watt on the energy issue on CANVAS.

For a while she worked for the Institute for Tropical Medicine, but now she is an emergency doctor at the AZ Delta in Kortrijk. She is politically active with the PVDA, for which she is also spokesperson in West Flanders.

Los Retornados (BE, 2020), Pieter De Vos & Tessa Boeykens 
35’ - ES/Q’eqchi - subt: NL - docu

Extra films

The film of VUB student Anny Tubbs 
Trapped by Plastic (UK/BE, 2021), Anny Tubbs 
9’ - ENG – short docu 

Bruxelles Sauvage (BE, 2015), Bernard Crutzen 
44’ - NL/FR - subt: NL/EN - docu 

Behind the Redwood Curtain (BE, 2013), Liesbeth De Ceulaer 
67’ - EN – subt: NL/EN - docu 

Samuel in the Clouds (BE/BO, 2016), Pieter Van Eecke
70’ - ES – subt: NL/EN - docu 


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