An ever larger part of our lives takes place in virtual space, and so the question of human rights increasingly touches on cyberspace as well. What are our rights to privacy, how much does our online data say about us, how can it be misused for human rights violations, and what challenges does the spread of social networks bring to our real, offline lives? All these subjects are explored by the opening film of this year’s One World film festival, The Cleaners, which looks at the work of content moderators on social networks. Nameless people in nameless buildings in the Philippine capital of Manila decide about what we see on our Facebook wall. The film will be personally introduced by director Moritz Riesewieck. But One World looks beyond cyberspace – this year’s festival offers a look at human rights issues from many different, often surprising, angles and presents films from 52 countries from around the world.
This year for the second time, an international jury will choose the best documentary in the Czech Competition category, in which ten Czech productions films will vie for the main prize. World premieres in this section include director Saša Dlouhý’s God Forsaken about the life of immigrants in the Czech Republic, Andran Ambramjan’s Empire builders, which presents a staged show by local anti-Islam extremists, and AsexuaLOVE, which is the first film to explore our country’s asexual subculture. Another three films will be presented as Czech premieres: Nothing like before by the directorial duo of Lukáš Kokeš and Klára Tasovská is a contemporary coming-of-age story set in a small town on the country’s borders, When the War Comes (dir. Jan Gebert) looks at the controversial extremist group Slovak Fighters, and Petr Horký’s The Russian Job explores the fate of the Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ and the legendary Lada cars.
Two other competition categories are International Competition and Right To Know. The first presents documentaries characterized by a unique and original style, and these will compete for the prize of best film. One World will present the documentary I know you are there (dir. Thom Vander Beken), which follows the story of Quentin, who woke up in the state of minimum consciousness after a car accident and his family, who has been taking care of him for ten years. The documentary Of Fathers and Sons by successful filmmaker Talal Derki deals with war theme and portrays Islamic radicalization of children, encouraged by their closest family.
In the category Right To Know, twelve films will be vying for the attention of the Václav Havel Jury. The participating films reveal serious human rights violations or present strong stories of people actively fighting for human rights. Director Barbet Schroeder’s The Venerable W. looks at the discrimination and repression of the Rohingya ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, and specifically at the Buddhist monk Wirath who promotes ethnic violence despite the peaceful principles of his religion. Another director to come to Prague is Margarita Cadenas, the creator of Women of the Venezuelan Chaos, which explores one of the worst crisis in the history of Venezuela through the personal stories of five women of various generations. The documentary A Woman Captured by Hungarian director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter reveals a case of domestic slavery that still exists in Eastern Europe today through the story of its main character Maris.
One new addition to the festival this year is the section Americana, which takes a look at the current state of the USA. It has been a year since the election of Donald Trump, and his path to the White House is captured in Trumped by the directing trio of Ted Bourne, Mary Robertson, and Banks Tarver. Another burning issue, the status of African Americans, is the subject of Whose Streets? (dir. Sabaah Folayan) and For Ahkeem (dir. Jeremy S. Levine). And the country’s past injustices against its original inhabitants are explored in Jeremy Williams’s On a Knife Edge.
Another category, Eurodrome, looks at the challenges that Europe has had to face in the past few years: mass migration, growing populist movements, and the economic crisis. One country to have faced growing nationalism in recent years is Greece, where the extremist Golden Dawn party took third place in elections. Golden Dawn Girls (dir. Håvard Bustnes) shows us the daughters, mothers, and wives who try to keep this movement afloat while its leaders spend four years in prison. The recent terrorist attacks have affected not only native Europeans but also those who came to Europe in search of a safe haven. One such person is Zineb El Rhazoui, the subject of Nothing is Forgiven, who must come to terms with the assassination of her colleagues from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Both El Rhazoui and director Vincent Coen will accompany the film to Prague.
The unifying theme of the documentaries in the category Beyond the Horizon is distance – between continents and people, and from ourselves. The participating films look at place beyond our physical as well as mental horizons. The diversity of distant shores is represented by three coming-of-age stories from the Far East: Becoming Who I Was (dir. Moon Chang-yong, Jeon Jin) from northern India, The Next Guardian (dir. Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó) from Bhutan, and Almost Heaven (dir. Carol Salter), an unusual, sensitive portrait of a girl working in a Chinese funeral home.
The subjects of the films in the category of Art For Change use music, film, or poetry to try to effect change on the personal or societal level. The focus of the Silvana (dir. Olivia Kastebring, Mika Gustafson, Christina Tsiobanelis) is a young Swedish woman with Syrian-Lithuanian roots who uses rap music to express her views on racism and xenophobia and to promote LGBT and women’s rights. When God Sleeps (dir. Till Schauder) follows the Iranian musician Shahin Najafij, who was subjected to a fatwah for criticizing religious fanaticism and censorship in his home country. Women’s equality in Saudi Arabia is still in its infancy, but Hissa Hilal has succeed in breaking this taboo. She is the first woman to reach the final round of the popular television contest Million’s Poet, and her life is the subject of The Poetess. All three subjects have accepted our invitation to attend our festival.
The documentaries in the category of Journeys To Freedom look at countries in which the nonprofit organization People in Need is active or that have long been the subject of their attention. Director Feras Fayyad’s Last Men in Aleppo, which has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, shows the impact of the war in Syria. A Cambodian Spring (dir. Christopher Kelly) spent six years following people’s protests against the confiscation of the land on which they live.
The internet, social networks, and other digital worlds have become a new reality in which users change – or, conversely – fortify their identity. The category One Zero looks at stories of people who have become entangled in the digital web. After filming her portrait of Edward Snowden, Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras looks at the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange in her new film Risk. Germany’s Pre-Crime (dir. Matthias Heeder, Monika Hilscher) shows how big data can be used to predict possible future crimes.
The subjects of the films in Long Live Life! break down ingrained stereotypes to show that even in today’s stressful and fast-pasted world, you can follow your own path and enjoy life on your own terms. One unusual form of entertainment is riding wooden horses, which is a popular pastime among Scandinavian teenagers. This unusual hobby is the subject of director Selma Vilhunen’s Hobbyhorse Revolution. Meanwhile, the protagonists of Ultra push their physical abilities to the limits as they prepare for the Spartathlon – a 246-kilometer-long race that the film’s director Balázs Simonyi participated in as well.
Environmental issues are the subject of the films in the category UnEarthed. Humankind has still not managed to slow the worsening state of the environment. Guardians of the Earth (dir. Filip Antoni Malinovski) returns to the year 2015 to capture the atmosphere and the actions of politicians at the Paris climate conference, which is one of the most important such conferences in history. War reporter Kate Brooks’s The Last Animals looks at the problem of animal poaching, which every year kills thousands of elephants and rhinoceroses. Her film even took her to the Zoo in Dvůr Králové.
In the traditional category Panorama, the festival presents documentaries that have been successes at important foreign festivals. The film Better Man (dir. Attiya Khan, Lawrence Jackman) focuses on the topic of domestic violence. The camera follows the meeting of Attiya and Steve, who - after twenty years - decided to talk about the reasons of their breakdown. In Deaf Child, director Alex de Ronde shows the childhood and adolescence of his deaf son Tobias and his struggle for the respect for the hearing impaired.
News and interesting facts for the 20th anniversary festival
The festival cinemas will do more than just screen films. Another new addition this year is Talking Cinema, which will present six public discussions on selected films related to current issues that resonate throughout society. The discussions will be in English, with simultaneous translation into Czech. Three of the discussions will be translated into sign language. The topics of debate will be predictive crime-fighting, the contemporary state of politics in the USA, populism in Europe, and the power of disinformation. The invited guests include journalist David Patrikarakos (author of the book War in 140 Characters) and Polish activist and founder of the Cziarny Protest movements Marta Lempart. The film The Venerable W will feature a special guest, the internationally renowned Burmese political activist Wai Wai Nu, who will give a solo talk.
The co-organizer of the Talking Cinema programme is the Goethe-Institut Prague.
This year for the third time, One World Interactive invites viewers into a virtual environment containing documentaries about real people and events. This year will be the first time that audiences can see the films at the same time and in the same place as other viewers in a special VR cinema. This section presents three thematic sub-categories: the films about the environment (A Journey to the Arctic , Planet, Under the Canopy) look at the disappearing Amazon rainforest or the slowly melting glaciers of the Arctic, documentaries about the migrant crisis (Sea Prayer, Limbo, Life in the Time of Refuge) let audiences feel what it is like to have left one’s home country. Bloodless (Korea), Francis (Ghana), and Collisions (Australia) take viewers on a journey to distant places on our planet.
The partner of the VR programme is Alza company.
Retrospective: Kim Longinotto
“Sometimes you don’t even have to understand what your subjects are saying. It’s enough to truly listen to them,” says British director Kim Longinotto, who often films herself in countries where you will not get by on English alone. In her observational documentaries, she focuses almost exclusively on stories of strong women who refuse to be told what they should do. Her films have appeared at One World since the festival’s founding, and on our 20th anniversary we will be screening three of them – Dreamcatcher, Pink Saris, and Sisters in Law.
Films that change the world
Some documentaries aim for more than just audience applause and a full house. This year’s festival is showing 23 films whose goal is to affect real social change: Some of the filmmakers have launched their own campaigns that the public can join, and for other films the organizers of One World have prepared special accompanying events. You might think that the pollution of the ocean does not really affect us in the Czech Republic. Watching Blue is guaranteed to change your mind. The oceans are full of plastics and trash, and the ecosystem affects global warming. Both have negative impacts on underwater life. Each and everyone of us can contribute to change – specific tips along with the inspirational stories of the Ocean Guardian community can be found on the film's website.The fight for equal opportunity for men and women is depicted in various ways in many films in this year's festival. The Film A Theory of Equality presents several Czech initiatives for gender equality. One of them is the organization Genderman, that offers a possibility to compare life experiences from the point of view of gender. Workshop with the Genderman organisation will – among other things – deal with the campaign "#metoo" and its impact the Czech Republic.
One World for All
This is the second year of One World for All, which aims to make screenings accessible to the largest possible number of people regardless of age, handicap, or native language. As part of this effort, we will be showing ten films with subtitles for the hearing-impaired (City of Ghosts, Golden Dawn Girls, A Woman Captured, Deaf Child, Stranger in Paradise, The Cleaners, Becoming Who I Was, Blue, Nothing Like Before, The Limits of Work), plus four films with audio commentary (The Limits of Work, Non-Parent, Mečiar, and Czech Journal: A Theory of Equality). A new addition this year are “relaxed” screenings, which are intended for viewers with mental handicaps and difficulties concentrating, but also for anyone seeking to simply relax during the screening. During these screenings, the lighting and audio are subdued, and the films are shown without trailers or advertisements. There will be six relaxed screenings: The Limits of Work, Czech Journal: A Theory of Equality and (as a set of three shorts) Rozárka and Homeless Cooks, Girl Against Gravity and Lenno & the Angelfish.
East Doc Platform 2018: Critical documentary film has become a risky undertaking
Running concurrently with the One World festival is the East Doc Platform (EDP), the largest event for documentary filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the course of a week, Prague will host a gathering of top film professionals, with a wide range of interesting public lectures by leading experts. The subject of the seventh annual EDP, “The New Dissent,” looks at the current political situation, at attempts at limiting documentary freedom, and at critical voices in the media. What influence do these trends have on the life and work of documentary filmmakers? These and other questions will be addressed by a panel discussion at 4pm on Tuesday 6 March at the French Institute’s Kino 35. East Doc Platform will cover a wide range of subjects, including important issues for filmmakers such as financing distribution, which in recent years have undergone dramatic changes. The panel discussion on this subject will feature representatives from the prestigious American film funds Chicken & Egg Pictures and the Tribeca Film Institute, who will join other investors that bring together film and the private sector in order to discuss new ways of financing. Another lecture sure to be interesting is the talk by one of the world’s most successful creators of film trailers, Fraser Bensted, who created the trailers for popular films such as Slumdog Millionaire or Billy Elliot. New innovations in interactive work will be presented by Liz Rosenthal, curator of the world’s first festival competition in the area of virtual reality, held during the Venice Biennale. For more on the East Doc program, visit dokweb.net. The event is organized by the Institute of Documentary Film.
Screenings for schools
As in the past, One World offers matinee screenings for primary and secondary schools from throughout the country. For children aged 8 to 14, we are preparing a series of short films; for older students, we will have selected medium-length films from the One World festival program. The screenings are followed by discussions during which young viewers can learn more about the subject of the film and are given the chance to express their own views. Also this year, we are organizing family screenings at which we will show six films through which children can learn about the life of their peers throughout the world.
One World in numbers
The press center, where we will be issuing press accreditation during the festival, can be found at the People in Need Center in the Langhans Buildings (Vodičkova 37, Prague), which is open from 5 to 14 March from 10am to 6pm.
A complete program and festival visuals are available at www.oneworld.cz
A list of guests is attached. Photographs and access to films are provided upon request.
To arrange interviews with festival guests, please contact our media coordinator:
Gabriela Gálová – media coordinator
mobile: + 420 777 787 962
People In Need
Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
State Cinematography Fund
The City of Prague
Creative Europe – Media programme
General media partner:
Main media partner:
Tibet Open House