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Open Art Association was created by filmmakers Carolina Rivas and Daoud Sarhandi as an extension of their production company Creadores Contemporáneos, recognised on the international scene for its award-winning documentary and fiction films.

Rivas and Sarhandi’s objective was to create a multi-cultural creative space in Barcelona, which could stimulate the production of socio-cultural projects of various types aimed at a local as well as an international audience. In defence of human rights, Open Art Association aims to help form a new generation of creators and film directors from economically or socially disadvantaged persons who may be at risk of cultural, creative and social exclusion.

With an interdisciplinary focus on cooperation, diversity and solidarity, and with an eye on Europe 2020, Open Art is connected to other organisations and international entities with similar humanistic, humanitarian and social concerns. Combining emerging social themes with artistic creation – especially cinematic creation – Open Art has developed films within conflict zones as instruments of social intervention and transformation. In the case of Palestine, Open Art worked with public and private organisations to realise The Colour of Olives (Mexico, 2006); in the case of Lessons for Zafirah (Mexico, 2011), directed in Mexico, Open Art joined forces with various organisations working to defend native and foreign migrants; concerned about chronic unemployment and lack of creative opportunities in Spain, Open Art created the project Videovalores (Videovalues), which we produced in collaboration with Obra Social “la Caixa” and alongside prestigious film and cultural institutions (the Film Museum of Barcelona, among others). The purpose of Videovalues was on the one hand to create a body of educative creative short films, but equally importantly to train in excess of 20 young film directors – young unemployed people of mixed ethnic backgrounds, possessing little economic ability to enter private film schools. The intensely stimulating training these young people received was entirely free of charge. In terms of theatre, Open Art created Contemporary Actors Company, with the purpose of training and supporting under-employed actors and technicians of various nationalities. The company presented its first work, The Story of a Tree – democratically developed in workshops that lasted more than one year – in Barcelona at the end of 2015; this play deals with the migration phenomenon that is now taking place in Europe.

The constitution of Open Art Association is based on socially shared values, most importantly: mutual respect, autonomy, responsibility, confidence, integration, secularism, solidarity, equality and tolerance.

Open Art is structured around four leading principals:

  • Strengthening ties between citizens of different origins and different capabilities, and between the majority and those at risk of social exclusion
  • Fomenting multicultural communication and cooperation
  • Teaching art and stimulating its exhibition and distribution in fresh, dynamic and democratic ways
  • Combating cultural exclusion.

Our specific aims are:

  • The active participation of citizens in art and culture, as spectators and/or creators
  • The social and multicultural integration of citizens within their society
  • The recognition of artists through prizes, grants, scholarships, collaborations and other stimuli
  • The support of and collaboration with entities and artists whose objective constitutes a contribution to humanity
  • The production, dissemination and promotion of art and artists through workshops, courses, seminars and conferences
  • The combatting of social and cultural exclusion
  • The strengthening of an audio-visual culture – through film clubs, film forums and festivals – that reaches the general public
  • The emancipation, dissemination and democratization of artistic knowledge.


Open Art Association is a non-profit association founded by persons with a humanitarian vocation and with internationally recognised arts backgrounds. The founders of Open Art are:

Carolina Rivas
Mexico City, 1972

An internationally recognised Mexican filmmaker and writer. In 2003 her short film Zona Cero (México, 2003) was selected at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequently, she has won a large number of international awards for her films. Her work is characterised by a critical vision and a humanistic spirit. In Mexico in 2008, together with her partner the British filmmaker Daoud Sarhandi, she founded the production company Creadores Contemporáneos. Their objective was to combine cinema with social intervention. Among her films are: The Colour of Olives (Mexico, 2006), is a portrait of a Palestinian family living in resistance; Lessons for Zafirah (Mexico, 2011), deals with the phenomenon of migration, across Mexico, towards the USA; 1 for 1 (Mexico/Spain, 2013), is a portrait of one central American migrant and her struggle to find somewhere to give birth. The Colour of Olives has won seven prizes, including: Best Direction Documentary, Golden Minbar 2007, Russia; Artistic Vision, Big Sky Documentary Festival 2007, USA; Courage in Filmmaking, Women Film Critics Circle Awards 2006, USA. Lessons for Zafirahhas won eight prizes, including: Best Documentary, Latin American Film Festival van Vlaanderen 2013, Belgium; Human Rights Prize, Latin American Film Festival van Vlaanderen 2013, Belgium; Best Film, Mexico Today, FICUNAM 2011, Mexico; Best International Documentary, Cine Pobre Festival 2012, Cuba; Best Film, Young Jury Award, Anûû-rû âboro 2012, New Caledonia. 1 for 1 has been selected at a number of leading film festivals and had its premier at the 2013 Portobello Film Festival, London. Carolina has been on the jury of several international films festivals, including Documenta Madrid 2012. In 2014 she received a grant in Spain from Obra Social “la Caixa” for a social-cinematographic project called Videovalores. In 2010 in Mexico she received a grant from Fonca for the publication of her book Film Step by Step: A Methodology of Self-awareness. In 2015 in Spain Carolina founded Contemporary Actors Company, with the objective of providing training and employment to people of different nationalities wishing to work in theatre and film. A second objective of the company was to create artistic works with a socially critical and humanistic character. At the end of 2015 she presented in Barcelona the theatre play The Story of a Tree. The central theme of the play is the migration phenomenon that is currently occurring in Europe. The play revolves around a village of fishermen and their families, who live on the frontline of migration; a solitary tree emotively observes the story as a group of migrants/refugees rents a boat from the fishermen in order to reach their destination.

Daoud Sarhandi
London, 1962

An internationally recognised British filmmaker and writer. He studied film in London between 1982-85, and subsequently worked as an editor of documentary films for Channel 4 Television and the BBC. Daoud is a founding member and General Director of the production company Creadores Contemporáneos, founded in Mexico in 2008 in collaboration with Carolina Rivas. Daoud is a multidisciplinary filmmaker: producer, director, writer, editor, director of photography and sound designer. His films have won a total of 15 prizes at festivals around the world: The Colour of Olives (Mexico, 2006), is a portrait of a Palestinian family living in resistance; Lessons for Zafirah (Mexico, 2011), deals with the phenomenon of migration across Mexico towards the USA; 1 for 1 (Mexico, 2013), is a portrait of one central American migrant and her struggle to find somewhere to give birth. In defence of human rights, Daoud also worked in NGOs during the Balkan conflicts, principally in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia (FYROM): Bosnia Solidarity Campaign (1995-96); Connect Humanitarian Agency (1997-1998); International Medical Corps (1999). From his experience in the Bosnian war and during the first years of reconstruction, Daoud researched and wrote Evil Doesn’t Live Here: Posters from the Bosnian War, published in New York and London in 2001. In Mexico, Daoud’s political articles have been published in Proceso and La Jornada. Between 2002-12 he contributed a series of in-depth texts dealing with social aspects of art and design in Mexico to Eye Magazine, London; the first of these texts dealt with the issue of racism and cultural stereotyping in Mexican advertising. In 2015, together with Carolina Rivas, Daoud intensively participated in Videovalores, which was funded by Obra Social “la Caixa”. Between 2014-15 he collaborated in the artistic development of The Story of a Tree, directed by Carolina Rivas – a theatre play that addresses contemporary migration into Europe.


The exploration of scenarios for a better world is the concept behind Videovalores (Videovalues), a social/cinematic project that aims to promote universal values through short film messages directed by people at risk of social exclusion. Through the double lesson of film and ethics, Videovalues is both a course and a platform for artistic cinematic creation. The principal purposes of Videovalues are awakening in the participants an understanding of universal values, nurturing collaboration and creativity.

Videovalues is an innovative cinematographic project that combines ethics and film as a tool for intervention and social transformation, which consists in giving an opportunity to citizens who may be at risk of social exclusion to create a cine message, using pocket cameras or mobile phones, expressing one universal value. Videovalues also initiates multicultural exchange, collective creativity and communication, as well as providing multiple levels of learning about film art and transmedia technology.

Videovalues is structured in three stages: 1) audio-visual and ethics education; 2) development, production and post-production of a short film; 3) exhibition of these films on a world stage, in prestigious film and culture spaces, online, on DVD and television.


For more information about Videovalores in Berlin, click here.


The first edition of Videovalues was produced in collaboration with Obra Social “la Caixa”, Spain, in the category Art for Change.

Twenty-three young unemployed people from different countries of origin participated: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Iran, Mexico, Peru and Russia. All were living in Barcelona and the majority had little or no audio-visual experience. The duration of the short films they made oscillated between one and three minutes.

The films were shown to large audiences in prestigious film and cutural spaces, such as:




Address: C/ Sant Carles, 42, 1º-1ª, 08922 Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, Spain
Tel. (+34) 93 38 64 99 9

NIF (Fiscal ID No.): G66693706