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Revolutionary optimists

Inspirational documentary film The Revolutionary Optimists challenges the notion that change can only be initiated by adults.

Revolutionary optimists

Four children living in Kolkata’s slums, India are the unlikely heroes of inspirational documentary film The Revolutionary Optimists.

Two 11-year-olds without access to clean drinking water; a girl forced to labour inside a brick kiln; and a teenage dancer on the brink of choosing child marriage to escape from her abusive family.

The children are part of a community development project run by a UNICEF supported non-profit called Prayasam. Together with Prayasam founder and leader Amian Ganguly they fight seemingly insurmountable odds to build a better future for themselves and their communities.

“This film is a powerful example of the impact and meaningful contribution children can make to their communities and environments. You leave the theatre in awe at what kids can achieve if given the chance,” UNICEF NZ international advocacy manager Sarah Morris says. “The film also demonstrates the untapped potential children possess and reinforces UNICEF’s belief that they should be consulted on issues that directly affect them.”

To achieve the changes they envisioned, the children in the film used a tool called Map Your World to map their community and identify issues of concern such as access to water pumps, education and vaccinations.

Inspired by the film, Map Your World has been further developed into a multi-platform project that puts the power of new technologies into the hands of “young change agents”, enabling them to map, track and improve the health of their own communities, and then share their stories of change with each other and with the world, Morris says.

The Map Your World tool has also been adapted for New Zealand and can be implemented using high-tech and low-tech principles.

The film premieres in New Zealand at the 2014 International Documentary Edge Festival with a special opening night fundraising event organised by UNICEF at Auckland’s Q Theatre on May 25.

A percentage of ticket sales from the premiere screening will help children like those featured in the film.

Tickets to The Revolutionary Optimists can be purchased online from

Auckland Screening Times, Q Theatre
Sunday, 25 May – 6.30pm (NZ premiere and UNICEF fundraiser $25/$20 concession with $8 from each ticket going to UNICEF – includes complimentary glass of wine)
Friday, 30 May – 2.00pm (school screening)
Monday, 2 June – 12.15pm (general screening)

Wellington Screening Times, Roxy Cinema
Friday, 6 June – 12.30pm (general screening)
Tuesday, 10 June – 3.00pm (school screening)
Thursday, 12 June – 5.45pm (general screening)

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