We all need a witness to our lives and to our efforts. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. Especially in this time of extreme crisis, we are saying, “Your life will not go unnoticed because we will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because we will be your witness. Your knowledge will not be lost because we will learn from it and carry it into the future.”

paraphrased from Susan Sarandon in “Shall We Dance”


Communication and media are the keys to raising awareness, sharing knowledge and supporting a broader debate on indigenous knowledge, culture and values. Underrepresented communities need to be trained in contemporary indie filmmaking techniques in order to tell stories about their world in their own way. Working with small sustainable equipment, low budgets, limited resources and a hands-on mentality, indie filmmaking lends itself to empower young voices, fostering their creativity.

Real Lives Voces Indigenas Project, Iquitos (Peru)


Elders are books for the young, but children need stories that reflect their own experience and cultural identity, foremost. Seeing their identities mirrored in films/video can foster positive social identity development in teens by increasing their pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem, and recognizing traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures (Identity). Viewing a film as a window allows young and old to explore the lives of others, building empathy and understanding while examining diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts (Diversity).

Mark Abouzeid on Living Books


As a member supported organisation comprised of artists, change catalysts, traditional artisans, unrepresented communities and culturally curious individuals; Real Lives has become a hub for developing new collaborations in the arts and sustainable development. Many of our members start as subjects and become partners.

Sophie Beer, Director of Real Lives Multicultural Association