Prague, 6 March 2019 – The 21st annual One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival starts tonight. Under the motto, “Safe Proximity,” the festival explores the subject of identity and the search for what brings us together. “Documentary films often present stories from distant corners of the world, stories of people with whom, at first glance, we have little in common. But we want to show that even distant stories can feel close to us, that they affect us, and that we can learn from them or relate to them,” explains the festival’s director, Ondřej Kamenický. One World is screening 117 films from 51 countries, and will feature 148 international guests.
The festival opens this evening at Prague’s Lucerna cinema with the Finnish documentary Gods of Molenbeek, the story of three children reflecting on religion and their personal identities. As protests erupt throughout Europe in the wake of terrorist attacks whose perpetrators came from the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek, the film’s protagonists discuss their views of whether God exists and what makes someone a Muslim. The film will be presented by director Reetta Huhtanen in person.
Over the following ten days, from 7 to 17 March, the festival will take over eight Prague cinemas, plus a new venue this year, the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Holešovice. DOX will host a program focused on experimental documentary forms and virtual reality, where viewers can experience, up close and personal, a total of twelve stories from around the world: They can be transported into the Amazon jungle, into the minds of people suffering from bipolar disorder, or into war-ravaged Yemen.
Besides this interactive category, One World offers another thirteen thematic categories, including three competition categories, one children’s category, and one section of short films. You can choose which films to watch on the festival’s website, where films can be searched for by date and time or by cinema.
This year’s Czech Competition category presents a record eight premieres of new Czech documentaries. One highly anticipated film is Filip Remunda’s The Okamura Brothers. Other premieres include director Ondřej Šálek’s Good News, a sensitive look at the life and opinions of Petr Černý, a key player on the Czech Republic’s disinformation scene, and director Eva Tomanová’s story of a marriage con-artist, Another Chance. Besides Remunda’s portrait of the Okamura brothers, One World will be showing another premiere from Czech Television’s documentary series “Czech Journal” – director Bára Chalupová’s Real(e)estate.
For the second year in a row, One World presents the special discussion program Talking Cinema, featuring five invited international experts whose lectures and audience discussions will accompany selected films on burning issues such as the current political situation in Hungary, climate change and its impact on people in specific areas of the world, or the question of ethnic and political minorities amidst global conflicts.
Festival guests include leading directors such as Ross RaMell, who was nominated for an Oscar for Hale County This Morning, This Evening, and Matthew Heineman, who will present a retrospective of his films. Other guests are subjects of the films with exceptional life stories, such as Syrian journalist Mazin Esmaiel, whose criticism of the Assad regime landed him in a Syrian prison, and Lin Lee Poh, the subject of the film Island of the Hungry Ghosts – the story of a refugee camp on Australia’s Christmas Island.
One World continues in its attempts at making the festival accessible to as broad an audience as possible, including people with handicaps. To this end, there will be 18 films with subtitles for the hearing impaired, 5 films with audio commentary, and 3 “relaxed screenings” with subdued audio and lighting, thus offering a pleasant viewing experience for people with mental impairments, epileptics, and families with small children.
The festival’s youngest viewers and their parents can also make use of a play corner for kids age three and up, located in the Main Library in Prague 1. The play corner will be open weekdays from 2 to 8pm and weekends from noon to 8pm. From Friday to Sunday, the children’s corner features film workshops for kids with instructors from Free Cinema. The corner is run by Baby Office and offers babysitting with reservations; you can also show up without.
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