One World presents a hot January in March

Climate change and its impacts on the local landscape – that is the subject that we have decided to focus on at this year’s One World film festival under the motto of “Not till a hot January.” The festival has looked at environmental issues since nearly the very beginning, and over the past three years films on this subject have had their own category, UnEarthed. This year, it is our main thematic category. In addition, all virtual reality documentaries will be on the subject of nature and the environment, supplemented by a special nature installation. “By combining creative documentaries, accompanying events, and VR projects, we hope to provide a broad overview of the climate crisis compared to other festivals that also address this subject, the diverse range of perspectives is truly unique. For instance, you can attend a workshop on fermenting seasonal vegetables, see a film on environmental racism (a subject almost nobody talks about in our country), explore nature in a dead forest at DOX, or immerse yourself in an emotional VR environment,” says the festival’s programming director Ondřej Moravec. The 22nd edition of the One World festival takes place from 5 to 14 March in Prague, after which it will travel to 35 other cities throughout the Czech Republic.

The festival opens with the Oscar-nominated Honeyland. This internationally recognized documentary about traditional beekeeper Hatidze Muratova looks not only at a disappearing trade in the breathtaking mountain regions of North Macedonia, but is also a powerful parable about the state of our civilization. Hatidze lives a quiet life with her sick mother in an old mountain village, but her peace is upset by the arrival of a nomadic family that sees beekeeping as a quick way to make money. The poetic and understand yet multilayered film shows what it means to fully internalize the natural order and live in harmony with it. The film is being distributed in the Czech Republic by Artcam Films.

Besides the main category, UnEarthed, the festival consists of its three annual competition categories (Czech Competition, International Competition, and Right to Know), plus another thirteen thematic sections. The International Competition presents foreign documentaries made with an original approach that will be vying for Best Film and Best Director. Being shown in world premiere is Agnieszka Zwiefka’s Scars about the controversial life path of a former female fighter for the Tamil Tigers. The festival is also hosting the international premiere of Ninosca, a portrait of a woman from Nicaragua, whom director Peter Torbiörnsson (Best Director award at One World in 2002) followed for 40 years, from her early childhood in a village all the way to her emigration to Spain for work so that she could feed her family. These films will be competing with three documentaries that won awards at the Sundance film festival. The Painter and the Thief looks at the strange relationship between two seemingly very different people: Czech artist Barbora Kysilková and one of the thieves who stole two of her paintings from a Norwegian gallery in 2015. In Acasa, My Home, director Radu Ciorniciuc explores the life of a family living in the Bucharest Delta on the city’s outskirts who are forced by gentrification to move to the city. Family is also the central theme of Iryna Tsilyk’s The Earth Is Blue As an Orange, a portrait of single mother Anna and her four children living in a warzone in Ukraine. 

In the Right to Know category, the Václav Havel Jury will be judging films that contribute, in a unique manner, to protecting human rights or that present powerful stories of people engaged in fighting for human rights. One of this year’s contenders is Advocate, which shows Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel’s endless struggle for legal justice. Tsemel, who has spent her entire career fighting for the rights of Palestinians, will be on hand in person. Former Vietnamese pop star (and today dissident) Mai Khoi, who sat on the Václav Havel Jury in 2017, will present her documentary Mai Khoi & The Dissidents, which follows her transformation from prominent singer into an enemy of the communist regime who calls attention to the lack of freedom in her country. The crew of the Sea-Watch 3, headed by Captain Carola Rackete, has saved more than three dozen refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. The film Sea-Watch 3 shows how.

A total of eleven films, including five world premieres, will be vying for the title of best documentary in the Czech Competition. In The Czechs Are Excellent Mushroom Pickers, Apolena Rychlíková looks at climate change in the Czech Republic from the viewpoint of an extraterrestrial probe. Director Andrea Culková explores the emotions evoked by climate change in women in her documentary Grief. Linda Kallistová Jablonská’s Doggy Love, meanwhile, offers a portrait of the musher Jana, who sets out with her team for the longest sled dog race in Europe, the Finnmarksløpet. The capital of Mongolia is currently home to one and a half million people – half the entire country’s population. When fifty-year-old Tumurbaator arrives in the city, will his dream of a better life come true? Find out in Anji Sauvé Clubb’s Nomad Meets the City. And director Dmitry Bogolyubov looks at how Putin’s followers use the legacy of the Great Patriotic War to gain support from the Russian people in Town of Glory.

The category Masculinity and Femininity shows different perspectives on male and female gender roles, include men’s and women’s roles in society, at work, and in the family. Finland has recently been in the news as a country of emancipated women. Award-winning director Joonas Berghäll balances this image with his portrait of overworked, broken, hard-drinking, and frustrated Finnish men in his film The Happiest Man On Earth. By comparison, women in Nigeria are barely visible in public life. In Chris van der Vorm’s Mrs F., an activist known by that pseudonym holds workshops and organizes public events where women try to gain the respect they need in their communities. Jola, the main protagonist of Lessons of Love, has spent all her life doing what was expected of her. Now, at age 69, she leaves the past behind, begins to live anew, and finally earns the respect – above all self-respect – she deserves.

No system – political, social, legal – is perfect, as the documentaries in the category Gaps in the System remind us. For instance, in his film Push, director Fredrik Gretten looks at the housing crisis and gentrification and tries to figure out why attractive cities are being turned into stage sets where ordinary people can no longer live. In Lovemobil, Elke Lehrenkrauss explores the lives hidden behind the heart-shaped neon lights on campervans parked on the side of the road, where women entice passers-by into their special private sphere to sell them their bodies. And in the poetic In My Blood It Runs, Maya Newell follows a stubborn and determined boy who is trying to find his place and identity somewhere between his aboriginal Australian culture and majority society.

Another new category this year is Diagnosis, in which the festival is presenting films on health and healthcare. One of the world’s best care facilities for people with Alzheimer’s is in the Thai city of Chiang Mai. Mother looks at the life of the caregiver Pomm and at Maya, a sick woman from Switzerland whose family places her in the facility. Midnight Family looks at the desperate shortage of government ambulances in Mexico City and at the private ambulance services that transport patients in need. In 2015, a fire at a Bucharest nightclub claimed the lives of 64 people. More than half of them died in hospitals, and the investigative documentary Collective, which is also part of the festival’s International Competition, explores the reasons for their deaths and looks at the mistakes made at the hospitals.

A new regional category this year is China: Powerful and Powerless. One film in this category is China’s Artful Dissident, about a dissident living exile who uses his art to fight against the totalitarian state. The title character of another film, Ximei, is also fighting the system – and an incurable illness. In the 1990s, when China began a campaign of paying people for donations of blood and plasma, many poor peasants were attracted by the easy money. However, poor hygienic conditions caused around 300,000 people to become infected with HIV, and today they are ostracized by society. Besides films that look at conditions inside China, the section also includes documentaries that explore how the country operates outside its borders. What are the pitfalls associated with a New Silk Road construction project near a remote Georgian village? Find out in A Tunnel.

In our traditional category Journeys to Freedom, we present films that look at the situation in countries with undemocratic regimes. This year, the category includes several films made by local filmmakers, including Filipino director Alyx Ayn Arumpac, whose Aswang paints a horrifying picture of the war on drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte has declared on his people. In Khartoum Offside, Sudanese director Marwa Zein follows a group of young woman in Khartoum who practice football in secret and without any professional equipment. Their skills and enthusiasm are comparable to that of men, but the Sudanese government rejects all proposals for a women’s team. War of Art explores how foreign artists look at undemocratic countries: Norwegian director Tommy Gulliksen takes a group of artists from “the West” on a cultural exchange to North Korea – but the first step towards mutual understanding is difficult, and the film shows how different people from different environments can be. 

Another of our traditional – and popular – categories is One Zero, which looks at the challenges and dangers of modern technology. For instance, Hi, AI explores advances in domestic humanoid robots that are ever better at meeting our need to ascribe human traits to advanced machines. The longitudinal documentary Sing Me A Song paints a portrait of a young monk in a remote monastery in the mountains of Bhutan and shows what happens when the monks get smartphones and computer games. The film asks us to consider one of the less frequently discussed risks of the digital revolution. Meanwhile, Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák’s highly anticipated and radically experimental film Caught in the Net explores the taboo subject of online child abuse.

They stand out from the crowd and approach everyday life differently than most people – these are the protagonists of the films in the category Long Live Life! In Talking About Trees, for instance, four film buffs try to bring the glamour of the silver screen to Sudan by founding a film club. This Train I Ride paints a portrait of several women who share the (in)dependence of the freedom provided by freight trains as they travel across America. In When Tomatoes Met Wagner, cousins Aleco and Christos from a small village in Greece try to improve their tomato harvest by playing classical music as they think about how to bring life back to a farming region where only a handful of old-timers remains.

Another traditional category, Panorama, presents internationally recognized and award-winning documentary films that have enjoyed success at foreign festivals. One example is Photographer of War an intimate portrait of photographer and World Press Photo laureate Jan Grarup, who has spent 25 years photographing war but who must now face personal struggles. The Feminister, meanwhile, takes a behind-the-scenes look at politics through the eyes of Sweden’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, who committed herself to promoting a feminist foreign policy during her time in office. And thanks to The Letter, audiences hear about the lynching of dozens of men and women in Kenya who have been accused of sorcery – often by their own relatives.

Retrospective: Nanfu Wang

American-based Chinese director Nanfu Want first caught the world’s attention with her 2016 debut film Hooligan Sparrow about human rights activist Ye Haiyan. The film has been shown at festivals in more than 25 countries, and was shortlisted for an Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary Feature. Besides showing this first film, the retrospective also presents her documentary I Am Another You and her most recent work, One Child Nation, which won the Grand Jury Award for best documentary film at the Sundance film festival. 

Oscar nominees at One World

This year’s One World festival is also showing several films that were nominated for the Academy Awards. Besides the festival’s opening film Honeyland, these include The Cave, the second Oscar-nominated film by member of the International Jury Feras Fayyad. The film tells the story of Syrian doctor Amani Ballour, who runs an underground hospital in the eastern town of Ghouta. Another entrant from Syria is For Sama, which tells the dramatic tale of journalist and filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab as she reports on the unending conflict as a witness for her newborn daughter Sama. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA Award. The film is being distributed in the Czech Republic by Artcam Films.

Talking Cinema

Talking Cinema presents a series of discussions with foreign experts and other individuals on selected topics from this year’s festival: the protests in Hong Kong, the worsening housing crisis, the impacts of the climate crisis, and the changing role of men in the world today.

Guests who have accepted our invitation to attend this year’s festival include Sweden’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström; political activist, member of the Demosisto movement in Hong Kong, and member of this year’s Václav Havel Jury Amon Yiu Yeuk-wa; and Leilani Farha, special UN rapporteur on housing rights. Coming to speak on climate change is leading climatologist and expert on oceans and extreme climate phenomena Stefan Rahmstorf. Meanwhile, therapist Dan Doty, who has a wide range of experiences with helping men and adolescent boys deal with psychological issues and whose Evryman project organizes support groups and wilderness retreats, will speak about the role of men in the 21st century.

All discussions will take place at Kino 35 and will be interpreted into Czech and English. Three discussions will also be translated into Czech sign language.

East Doc Platform: Sundance winning producers and new docs on the horizon

For the 9th time, the East Doc Platform will be an essential part of One World IHRDFF. Running between March 7–13, its programme includes the traditional closely watched presentation Czech Docs… Coming Soon, revealing five upcoming Czech and co-production documentaries, while the East Doc Forum will bring together the most promising projects from Central and Eastern Europe with a chance to get number of awards.

The programme includes a masterclass by Swedish filmmaker and journalist Fredrik Gertten (PUSH), Austrian editor Niki Mossböck (Earth, Grbavica) will discuss how to begin a film on examples of her work, while German producer Erik Winker will talk about the co-production aspects of the upcoming documentary Trees Floating by Salomé Jashi. One of the highlights of East Doc Platform will be the moderated panel discussion Filmmaking Against Dictatorships: How to Shoot and Keep Your Freedom, which will bring filmmakers to share their experience and talk about the obstacles the critical filmmaking is facing recently. 

Film professionals who want to attend the whole East Doc Platform industry programme can buy Industry Pass until February 21. The open programme is available for free, without any accreditation.

Dangling ticket

For some people, a ticket to the movies can take a bite out of their pocketbook. For them, One World has come up with “dangling tickets” so that everyone can make it to the cinema – even people who, for whatever reason, can’t afford a ticket. Like last year, the information stand in the Lucerna building will offer the option of buying an extra ticket and leaving it dangling from a special ticket hanger. This option will also be available at the second information stand in the Municipal Library on Mariánské náměstí.

New this year, anyone purchasing tickets online may purchase extra tickets and bring them to the People in Need café in the Langhans Building. The festival’s organizers will then distribute the tickets on the spot or hang them up at the information stands during the festival.

One World in numbers

  • This year’s festival presents 133 documentaries from 60 countries in 16 categories
  • We are showing 27 exclusive premieres (21 world and international premieres, 6 European premieres) 
  • The festival takes place in 37 cities (5–14 March in Prague, then throughout the Czech Republic and in Brussels) 
  • We have more than 130 confirmed festival guests 
  • As part of One World for All, all films will be screened with Czech subtitles – this includes films in Czech. The entire program is thus accessible for people with hearing impairments. In addition, the festival is showing 4 films with audio commentary for people with visual impairments, plus 3 relaxed screenings for viewers with mental impairments, autism, or epilepsy.
  • 132,227 visitors saw films at the 2019 festival

Practical information

  • Ticket sales in Prague start on Wednesday 19 February. Ticket prices are CZK 70 in the first wave and CZK 90 in the second. During the festival, tickets cost CZK 110.
  • Holders of a handicapped ID and viewers over age 65 receive a 50% discount on all screenings. 
  • For people with a handicapped ID, their attendants receive free admission.  
  • In order to ensure reservations for holders of a handicapped ID and for further information (accessibility, seniors, Czech sign language interpretations, audio commentary), please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +420 221 462 411.
  • As in the past, this year we again offer central assisted ticket sales at an information stand in the Lucerna building, where filmgoers will find two computers where they can purchase tickets online for any screening at any cinema, with volunteers available to help if necessary. The tickets are either printed out or sent via email.
  • 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 Building (Vodičkova 37, Prague), which is open from 5 to 14 March from 10am to 8pm.  
  • The festival’s audience center will be at the Tibet Open House on Školská Street in Prague 1. Here, visitors can purchase festival merchandise, relax with their children over a cup of coffee, or attend various accompanying events.  
  • During the festival, parents may make use of a children’s play corner at the Municipal Library on Mariánské náměstí.  

The festival program can be found at https://www.oneworld.cz/2020/programme

The One World 2020 video spot can be found at https://youtu.be/PB3eRaUfieg

More information, including this year's visual, can be downloaded at https://www.oneworld.cz/2020/press

A list of guests is attached. Photographs and access to films are provided upon request.  

Please contact our media coordinator to arrange interviews with festival guests. 

Nikola Páleníčková, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
+420 732 989 638 

The festival’s spokesperson is Gabriela Gálová.  
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
+420 605 919 769 

People in Need

Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic

With support from:  
Czech Film Fund
City of Prague 
Creative Europe – Media Programme
Avast Endowment Fund
Zátiší group

General media partner:
Czech Television

Main media partner:
Czech Radio

Thank you: 
Tibet Open House

Last modified on 21-02-2020