What is the story?

The film pictures four months of the participatory budgeting process in the Communne 9. The social situation in the district mirrors the everyday reality of the whole city – with highly active drug cartels, growing slums, urban wars between neighborhoods, but also with strongly rooted resistance against violence and poverty.

From July to October 2013 we accompanied local leaders as they were discussing and looking for solutions for the problems of their neighborhoods. You will see them struggling to identify the  needs of their community, negotiating with authorities, discussing how to design appropriate projects and mobilize members of the neighbors to be more willing to participate.

Showing us the kitchen of the participatory budgeting process, and the way around community is Sandra – municipal civil servant with grassroots background who serves as an intermediary between authorities and the community. Sandra, mother of two teenage sons, local leader with strong belief in humanity, is extremely compassionate, but at the same time critical of the reality she lives in.

The community is at the very core of the concept of participatory democracy so we could not leave the audience without taking a closer look at the members of the community itself , and at the fruit of their community labor. Throughout the film we get to know doña Elena – Afro-Colombian woman for whom culture is a tool for integration, and an interclass language. We also meet Johnatan – a young journalist, trying to connect his neighbors with the rest of the world via Internet. There is Teo – once a beneficiary of municipal social programs, now an activist for human rights protection in his neighborhood and a role model for many young artists. And finally Adriana – the example of local leader deeply engaged in the community, who shows us what the community work is really about. All of them do what they possibly can in order to install civic democracy in their community – a tall order considering the existing rules of law, corrupted administrative culture and personal interests.