The term “fake news” was named as the famous Collins Dictionary’s official Word of the Year. Disinformation and media manipulation are amongst the greatest problems faced by the current world. Living in the information age places great demands on every individual: to differentiate between what is true and what it not, to share, to comment, and to have an opinion. This year, the 20th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will take place in Prague from 5 March to 14 March, subsequently moving on to 36 other towns throughout the Czech Republic. This is one of the reasons it is calling for a system update – not only computer systems need time to process all of the required information and function smoothly.
According to Ondřej Kamenický, the festival’s director: “We’ve become accustomed to choosing simple and appealing solutions, and to acting under the influence of emotions. And it is specifically inflamed emotions within society that provide fertile soil for populists, who label themselves as battling a system they consider to have been overpowered. … We want cinema viewers to have the opportunity to do something for which there is not enough time in a daily life filled with (dis)information from social networks. The opportunity to slow down and be able to calmly form their own opinion about specific topics, to look at things from various perspectives, and to place them within the appropriate context.”
This year, One World is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. There is indeed much to celebrate – over the past two decades it has grown into the world’s largest documentary film festival focused on human rights. To celebrate this jubilee year, the festival has chosen a new logo and visual identity based on a design by the artistMatyáš Trnka. The new logo allows the viewer to see the world through a camera lens and choose which detail to concentrate on during their observation.
Matyáš Trnka and graphic artist Matěj Růžička also stand behind the festival’s current campaign. “The call for a system update appears on the monitors of computers when it becomes necessary to update the operating system to include the most recent features. Even the graphics refer back to the dreaded blue screen of death displaying the message ‘Memory full,’ explains Matyáš Trnka. The campaign also works with other feared messages associated with system updates, which draw attention to the fact that the entire process may take a while, but that – ultimately – the system will function better. The festival’s theme song, which also contains references to system updates, is also the work of Matyáš Trnka. The original music was composed by Marek Doubrava, one of the founders of the Tata Bojs pop rock band, and a respected musician, who currently has his own band named Hm…
This year’s edition of One World will present more than 110 films. A new category premiering this year isAmericana, which is focused specifically on such topics as Donald Trump, racial intolerance, the role of the police within the system, and Native American rights. This year, the rise of nationalism and populism, as well as the issue of migration, have been playing a key role in the work of European filmmakers, and the festival category Eurodrome has been designed specifically for them. The films presented under the category entitledBeyond the Horizon, which look at destinations not only beyond our physical horizon, but frequently even beyond the horizon of our thoughts, reveal the local issues faced by communities that are thousands of kilometres away from us, but may actually have much more in common with Central Europeans than we often admit.
The category Art For Change shows that it is possible to fight for one’s ideals through unusual forms of artistic expression such as performance art or dance. There are two musical films included: Silvana and When the God Sleeps. The protagonist of the latter – Iranian musician Shahin Najafi – will perform a concert during the festival. Another category –Long Live Life – presents the stories of people who have decided to step out of the crowd and face their daily cares and concerns in rather uncommon ways. The category UnEarthed will focus on environmental challenges.
Of course, the traditional categories that viewers know from previous years are once again included. These are:Right to Know, Journeys to Freedom, Panorama, One World Interactive, and Docs for Kids. The category Czech Competition, which was introduced last year, present the best documentaries from the Czech Republic.
It was last year that One World decided to tear down barriers and make its screenings accessible to as many as people as possible regardless of any disability, age, or different native language. We are continuing with our One World for All activities this year by attempting to increase the number of barrier-free screenings and thus coming closer to as many viewers as possible. One World will present ten films with subtitles for the hearing impaired, and four films will be supplemented with an audio commentary for the blind. All of the ceremonies and some of the post-film discussions will be interpreted into Czech sign language. “We believe that the right to culture is a basic human right. For this reason, we try to make our festival accessible to all without exception,”says Milena Poeta, the co-ordinator of the One World for All programme. A new feature this year consists of relaxed screenings, planned specifically for viewers with mental challenges or concentration issues, as well as for anyone who wants to rest while watching a film. “These screenings do not fulfil all of the conditions that a cinema goer expects – the sound is somewhat muted, and the film is shown without any titles and trailers. It is expected that the members of the audience will move around the auditorium during the screening. Something else that is new this year is the fact that we have expanded our team to include experts who face some sort of challenge themselves, who can share their experiences with us and help us to understand their needs, help us understand what an universally accessible cinema means” adds Poeta.
As far as the festival’s dramaturgy is concerned, One World is introducing a programme entitled Talking Cinema.It replaces the panel discussions and will bring to Prague a number of interesting names from the ranks of experts and journalists from the world’s major media. “We’ve selected a programme of five films reflecting key current topics, and invited experts, all of whom will be able to offer Czech audiences a new perspective. They will either make an individual presentation or participate in two-person debates,” explains Ondřej Moravec, the festival’s Programme Director.
The international documentary event EAST DOC PLATFORM, accompanying the festival and inviting industry guests, will take place March 3 – 8, 2018 in Prague. The week-long event will host leading film professionals, distributors, TV and festival programmers. Filmmakers will present documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe that can win one of several prizes worth a total of EUR 35,000 for further film development. Members of the public are invited to attend a number of interesting lectures by international film professionals. The event is organized by the Institute of Documentary Film.
For those who are impatient, the festival is already featuring one of its films as a part of the Get Your Audience! / Promítej i Ty! project, specifically the film Ask the Sexpert, which looks at sex education in India. This documentary, which will most likely teach you many things that you did not know about sex and the world’s most populous country, may be downloaded and screened free of charge until 20 February. It is available on thewww.promítejity.cz website, where you will find more than fifty other documentaries from the festival’s previous editions available for free download.