The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (Formerly known as The Washougal International Film Festival)

 The Fourth World

The Fourth World won the Walt Ratterman Humanitarian Award at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival in 2012. When in 30 years, according to the UN, the numbers at poverty level could very well triple, bringing the world to 3 billion, this issue can no longer be ignored. Mark Volkers takes his team into the slums to paint his audience a picture of daily life in poverty.

The Fourth World selected three slums for this film, which are in the Philippines, Guatemala, and Kenya. The Alquino family, who reside under a bridge in the Philippians, shared their story with the documentarians in the week they were there. In Guatemala, the team worked with a couple of women named Tanya and Selma. Tanya, having been shot, is paralyzed from the leg down and begs from her wheelchair for a living. Selma’s interview, lasting an hour and a half, could have been a documentary in and of itself, the director insists. Felix was the man from Kenya who they were able to spend a week with, recording the ceaseless work that this young African man endures in order to provide for his family. One week in each location gave the team just a taste of what life was like for those in the slums. And they have expertly compiled the footage to give their audience a similar taste in 55 minutes.

The Fourth World seeks to strip away the staggering statistics that prevent the seriousness of the situation from resonating with the world. Traveling deep into the slums of three different continents, The Fourth World moves past the barrier of “1 billion people live in poverty,” and instead finds a handful. Willing the audience to connect with these slum dwellers and internalize their struggle, this movie presents the problem in terms the audience can really grasp. After the lifestyle has been thoroughly understood, then the audience can think about what it truly means that 1 in every 6 people live in such poverty. And that number is expected to double soon, before tripling in 30 years.

The filmmaker Mark Volkers has spent a great portion of his life traveling the globe and documenting, through photography and film making, the standard of living he finds there, artistically, bringing injustice to the light. Equipped with a dozen crew members, Volkers split his team into manageable groups and took on the world. While developing the relationships that would gain the filmmakers access to the slums, they worked tirelessly at providing Christian NGOs stationed in the area with quality promotional films. Now that the film has been produced, Volkers works to get it out into the world. He has constructed a team to develop a six week curriculum off of the movie for young adults.
This film has won 12 awards, including The Award of Merit, the Merit Award for Presentation of a Critical Issue, The Golden Reel Award, The Redemptive Storyteller Award, The Best Documentary Feature Category, and more. The film is available for purchase at the Dordt College bookstore and is also available for rent on YouTube. 

Copyright text design and graphics washougalfilmfest 2013