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Overcoming Barriers: Ten Years of Cinema in Leiden

Overcoming Barriers: Ten Years Of Cinema In Leiden

Laughter over a shared joke, heated discussion over a dramatic scene, or the dabbing at eyes after an emotional ride. This was the scene at theater Trianon, just one of those participating in the Leiden International Film Festival (LIFF). Founded in 2006 this festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the Netherlands, and one of Leiden’s major cultural events, showcasing films that examine the border between art-house and mainstream cinema. The theater is cozy and full of people, just walking in you can feel the excitement in the air. In the middle of this scene I found Ratna Lachmansingh, a member of the production team of the festival and the woman spearheading the sustainability movement within LIFF.


As a festival, LIFF faces many challenges and barriers to becoming sustainable. Much of what they do is dependent upon the hosting theaters’ decisions, and confined by the limited budget. As one of the few sustainably minded individuals involved with LIFF, Ratna is having to overcome general lack of awareness and apathy within her team. She feels that in order to break down these barriers the key is to begin small. Ideas of hers include sustainable catering for volunteers, sustainable sponsors of the festival, and recycling of the printed LIFF programme.  Already during this year’s Summer Special, a mini version of LIFF in May, they participated in the Green Cup programme which involved the reduction of disposable cups used. This year the festival is ten years old, and with support from people like Ratna it can grow in a sustainable way and continue on for another amazing decade.

Ratna is gradually spreading her sustainable mindset to her team members, and hopes to make further changes to LIFF in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways to make the film festival more sustainable Ratna would love to hear from you! You can contact her at

Valerie Brown

Valerie is a recently graduated master's student at Utrecht University in Sustainable Development. She has worked as the Green Office coordinator for the Netherlands and Belgium, together with organizations Studenten voor Morgen and rootAbility. She is now exploring her options for employment in Utrecht and continuing to learn about and pursue a sustainable lifestyle.

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