Heart of Stone Takes Top Honors at One World 2019
The winners of this year’s One World Festival have been announced. A total of seven prizes were awarded by juries in the categories of International Competition, The Right to Know, and Czech Competition. New this year is the Regional Jury, made up of three representatives of the cities and towns where the regional One World Festival takes place. Representatives of secondary school students then chose the recipient of the Student Jury Award. Audience members voted after film screenings for the documentary that received the Avast Foundation Audience Award.
One World in Prague screened 117 documentary films in 14 thematic categories. Over 200 filmmakers and protagonists, human rights activists and film festival organizers accepted invitations to attend the festival. In addition to traditional competitions and thematic categories, One World presented twelve virtual reality projects. A new category this year was Short and Concise, in which the festival returned to short documentaries. Two categories appeared in the program aimed at searching for and defining one’s own identity, whether at the personal or the societal level – reflecting the theme of this year’s festival: “Safe Proximity”.
During the festival´s ten days 28 488 viewers attended afternoon and screenings. School screenings were seen by 13 326 students and their teachers. One World in Prague ends on Sunday, March 17 with screenings of the winning films before moving on to 35 other cities and towns throughout the Czech Republic. The year-round platform Get Your Audience!, offers the opportunity for films to be screened legally to a wider audience.
International Competition Jury
The International Competition jury awarded prizes for Best Film and Best Director. They chose from twelve films representing new ways of depicting human rights in documentary film.
Sitting down together on the International Competition jury were Aida Holly-Nambi of Uganda, the art and culture director of None on Record, an organization that works in digital media with African LGBT communities; Syrian director and screenwriter Talal Derki, whose documentary Sons and Fathers was nominated this year for an Oscar; and Will Tizard, a documentary filmmaker and journalist originally from the USA now living in the Czech Republic who is currently a correspondent for Variety magazine.
The prize for the best documentary film was awarded to Heart of Stone directors Claire Billet and Olivier Jobard (France | 2019 | 89 min.). This film about the search for self-identity follows the story of Afghan refugee Quorbán, who was granted asylum in France after eight years, but certainly under less-than-ideal conditions. At the same time, misunderstandings deepen with the rest of the family that remained in Afghanistan. “The flow, pacing and structure of the film builds layers of understanding over time in a way that leaves the audience engrossed from start to finish. The filmmakers had high ambitions and accomplished these in this profound portrait of a journey from boyhood to manhood under heart-aching circumstances,” stated the jury.
The protagonist Quorbán appeared personally at the awards ceremony to receive the award.
The award for best director was given to Mads Brügger, the creator of the documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium | 2019 | 128 min.). In his documentary, Brügger follows the story of the tragic death of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, which shook the international community in the 1960s and remains shrouded in multiple conspiracy theories. The jury characterized the film as “a convoluted, complicated film that reveals the size of the director’s ambitions and the unconventional, self-deprecating humor with which he deals with the impacts of a crime that haunt is to this day.”
The Special Jury Award goes to Carl Javér, whose dramatic experiment Reconstructing Utøya (Sweden, Norway, Denmark | 2018 | 98 min.) attempts to convey the experience of the attack on the Norwegian summer camp in 2011.
“This film vastly transcends its premise and using the example of those who survived the worst terrorist attack in the history of Norway, which claimed 77 young lives, it shows with brutal honesty how people cope with the unimaginable horrors...It is a shocking and surprising insight into memory, grief and how these young survivors make sense of the incomprehensible,” reads the jury statement.
Václav Havel Jury
The Václav Havel jury included lawyer and founder of the Center for Justice and Human Rights on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua Lottie Cunningham; Egyptian activist Salma Said, communications director and head of the volunteer center in the Sakharov Center in Moscow; Hungarian political scientist and director of the Republican Institute think-tank Csaba Toth, who fights for human rights and is one of the primary critics of the government of Viktor Orban; and Daon Bao Chau, Vietnamese writer and freelance journalist who addresses issues such as corruption and human rights abuses in Vietnam in his work.
The Václav Havel jury chooses from the documentaries presented in the Right to Know category and awards the film that makes an exceptional contribution to protecting human rights.
The best documentary in this category is Everything Must Fall by South African director Rehad Desai (South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium | 2018 | 85 min.). The film recounts the student movement that fought against the high fees at the University of Johannesburg and escalated into nationwide protests against social inequality.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to the documentary To The Four Winds by director Micheal Toesca (France | 2018 | 85 min.). The jury was intrigued by the story of French farmer Cédric, who let hundreds of refugees traveling from Africa to Europe stay with him in his modest dwelling in the Roya Valley near the Italian-French border. The film is an inspiring example of how an individual who is not afraid to offer their assistance can make change.
Czech Competition Jury
This was the third time that the best Czech documentary was selected. The jury chose from twelve films, eight of which premiered at the festival.
The jury comprised representatives from international festivals. Its members were Sundance Festival programmer Harry Vaughn; executive director of the Lithuanian human rights festival Inconvenient Films Juste Zavisaite; and Indonesian filmmaker Alia Damaihati, currently the director of Film Festival Dokumenter.
This year’s Best Film in the Czech Competition was awarded to the Czech documentary The Good Death directed by Tomáš Krupa (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France | 2018 | 83 min.). The film tells the story of terminally ill Janett, who has opted for assisted suicide in Switzerland. The jury appreciated the “unobtrusive camera work and absence of judgement, as well as the filmmaker’s ability to craft a clear-eyed portrait of one’s right to die with dignity.”
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to director Eva Tomanová and her documentary Another Chance (Czech Republic | 2019 | 75 min.) - “a film that shapes years of footage into a tightly woven, shocking, and surprisingly endearing portrait of a couple burdened by societal stigmas and their demons.” The psychological film tells the story of marriage fraudster Mirek and his last victim Monika, who awaits his release from prison.
The Student Jury chooses the best film from the collection of films for students. It’s made up of high school students chosen from among the organizers of the One World in Schools Student Film Club. This year, the members were Ester Hadašová, a student who established student parliament in Broumov; Ondřej Nykl of the Malá Strana Gymnasium, which runs a multi-genre film club; and Nikola Hlavatá, head of the One World in Schools film club.
The Student Jury Award went to the film #FollowMe (Netherlands | 2018 | 50 min.), which reveals the inner workings of Instagram - one of the most popular social networks today. “This film was chosen because it relates directly to almost all of us young people. Thanks to it we were able to peek under the hood at things we suspect that happen, but often do not even want to admit,” explained the jury.
New this year is the Regional Jury, which is made up of three representatives of regional festivals. A judge may not be part of a festival organizing team, but rather someone who is associated with the festival. The main prize for the winning film is inclusion in the selection of documentaries available at Get Your Audience!
The jury comprised Jan Jíra, a film pensioner from Louny; Marie Egydyová, a regular attendee of One World in Usti nad Orlici; and film enthusiast Karel Kotěšovec from Klatovy.
The Regional Jury Prize was awarded to the film Reconstructing Utøya by Danish director Carl Javér (Sweden, Norway, Denmark | 2018 | 98 min.). This theatrical experiment in which the director worked with survivors of the tragedy, using young actors to reconstruct their experience, was chosen by the jury because of “the universality of the setting and the viewer’s own imagination, enabling the event to be experienced firsthand. This expositional method generalizes the event for any place in the world with a warning that this could happen anywhere.”
East Doc Platform
For the 8th year, the biggest platform for Central and East European documentaries took place in Prague on March 9–15. Approximately 350 film professionals came to the East Doc Platform from all over the world. Around 50 documentary projects in various stages of development and production competed to be awarded with several prizes worth €17 800 in total. The main prize, the East Doc Platform Award, worth €7500, was given by an international jury to the Serbian/Croatian film Museum of the Revolution, in which the director Srđan Keča explores the untraditional friendship across generations of women in the ruins of an unfinished monumental museum. Special Mention went to the Czech project by Martin Páv, Wolves on the Borders!, which captures different reactions to the return of the wolves to the Czech countryside.
The HBO Europe Development Award worth €2000 was awarded to the Russian filmmaker Anna Shishova-Bogolubova for her The New Imperium. The Czech Television Co-production Award goes to A Marriage, a Czech/US co-production by Kateřina Hager and Asad Faruqi. Representatives of Current Time TV channel have decided to support Russian/Estonian Susanna Baranzhieva’s and Aleksander Krylov’s Untitled Rastorguev Project with €1500. The Golden Funnel Award was given to the project which made the greatest progress throughout the Ex Oriente Film workshop; Czech-Japanese director Haruna Honcoop was awarded for her ambitious co-production Olympic Halftime.
At the East Doc Platform, festival representatives selected the best projects, giving their creators greater access to present them at prestigious events. The winner of the East Doc Platform Award, Museum of the Revolution, got the IDFA Forum Award. The upcoming Ukrainian film by Ihor Ivanko, Fragile Memory, got the DocsBarcelona Award. Two awards were given by the representatives of DOK Leipzig – one to the Russian director Nikolay Bem for The Pit and the second to the Serbian project Bottlemen by Nemanja Vojinović. The Czech documentary set in Sweden, Kiruna – A Brand New World, by Greta Stocklassa got the Sheffield Doc/Fest Award for the best project at Czech Docs… Coming Soon presentation. The new Sunny Side of the Doc Award was given to the creators of the Olympic Halftime.
For more information go here.
Avast Foundation Award
The biggest hit with One World audiences was FAR. The Story of a Journey Around the World by directorial duo Gwendolin Weisser and Patrick Allagaier (Germany | 2017 | 127 min.). The autobiographical film shows an unusual way to travel, one that is becoming increasingly popular. Gwen and Patrick journey through Asia and Central America for nearly four years without flying - they hitchhike, take buses and trains, and in some cases, even a boat. For the final part of their journey back to Germany, they even travel on foot. Coming in second place was the picture Flavours of Iraq directed by Léonard Cohen (France | 2018 | 50 min.). Viewers also enjoyed Slovak director Tomáš Krupa’s film The Good Death (Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Austria | 2018 | 83 min.), which took third place.
The Avast Foundation Audience Award, along with the other festival jury awards, will be presented at the One World closing ceremony at Kino Lucerna
Photographs from the winning films can be downloaded here.
More information about the winning films and the juries can be found at https://www.oneworld.cz/2019/