About the film

Synopsis: Every day huge trucks thunder through the Kyrgyz village of Barskoon. They are carrying a deadly freight: cyanide, which is used to extract gold at the nearby Kumtor goldmine. In 1998, one of the cyanide trucks crashes into the river that runs through the village. People die and hundreds of villagers fall ill. After seven years – in which the Kyrgyz government does nothing – a handful of courageous women begin to fight for the rights of the victims. Erkingul and her fellow campaigners found a small environmental organization, block the road leading to the mine and eventually manage to secure 3.7. million US dollars in compensation from the Kyrgyz-Canadian gold mine.
When a revolution topples the government of President Bakiev in 2010 the women are at the forefront of the protests. After the first democratic election, Erkingul manages to secure a seat in parliament and continues to lead the fight against the gold mine as a politician. Her friends stay behind in the village. Staying very close to the activists, this humorous film describes not only the political commitment displayed by these women in their struggle for justice, but also how people manage to survive in a Kyrgyz village. 
This is what Central Asian scholars say about the film:

"Flowers of Freedom" is a fantastic film for teaching about contemporary Central Asia.  Through its fined-grained and subtle portrait of a village-based movement for environmental justice, it explores themes of mining, activism, and the work of seeking justice in contemporary Kyrgyzstan. It is also a portrait of a remarkable group of women and a demonstration of the kinds of insights that can be gained from long-term ethnographic immersion into their lives and aspirations. Those teaching on gender, nationhood, politics and protest in Central Asia will find this film a great resource--subtle, funny, beautifully observed, and resisting tired stereotypes about the dynamics of political protest in Kyrgyzstan.” Dr. Madeleine Reeves, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Manchester, Associate Editor, Central Asian Survey 

"Cut to include the film-makers' voice and presence, it unobtrusively lays bare the film-makers relationships and conditions of film production. "Flowers of Freedom" thus offers an exemplary point of departure for discussing the increasingly compelling need to reformulate power dynamics in media representation, as well as issues of authority in scholarly and journalistic practice." 
Dr. Jeanne Féaux de la Croix, Junior Research Group Leader, Department of Anthropology, University of Tuebingen/Germany

Country of production: Germany
Year of production: 2014
Production: TOPOS
Coproduction: Vizion
Distributor in Germany: BraveHearts International
Original Languages: Kyrgyz, Russian, English
Format: DCP, Length: 96 minutes
Subtitles: German, English
Supported by: Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Brot für die Welt - Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst
Developed at: EsoDoc