What’s the cost of safety? This is the question that the 25th One World Festival poses

  • 04.03.2023
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One crisis after another is shaking the world – the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, and climate change. One World can’t ignore any of these. Each year, the festival brings dozens of documentaries about human rights and human rights violations to cinemas. This year’s festival theme is The Cost of Safety. We’ve added a new competition category dedicated to virtual reality projects and an expanded discussion program. The 25th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will take place from March 22nd to April 2nd in 28 cities throughout the Czech Republic. The festival will take place in Prague from March 22 to 30, 2023. A selection of films will be available for viewing after the festival on the One World Online platform.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the One World film festival. Over the course of the festival’s existence, it has grown into the world’s largest event of its kind. “For this year’s edition, we decided to expand to include a discussion program that carries equal weight with the film program and to give more space to virtual reality. This has been highly successful in the past few years, so we’ve decided to create a separate competition category for it,” says festival director Ondřej Kamenický. The festival, once again scheduled for March, is subtitled The Cost of Safety.

The theme of insecurity and the search for safety runs through all the films in this year’s festival. Whether it’s the feeling of financial security, family support, or the security guaranteed by the state, these connections mean something different to each of us. Even the price we’re willing to pay for safety differs for everyone. With the slogan The Cost of Safety, we would like to encourage audiences across the Czech Republic to think about and respect each other’s diverse manifestations of fear, says Kamenický.

The murder of a Slovak journalist, unconventional relationships, and breaking the silence

This year’s theme – The Cost of Safety – will be reflected in all selected competition and non-competition films at One World. For each film, the festival plans special discussions with guests from around the world to put the films and their themes into a broader context. Compared to previous years, the One World discussion program will be significantly expanded – not only will there be more different types of discussions, but the entire program will also have its own dramaturgy.

In February, Slovakia will mark five years since the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. Director Matt Sarnecki’s Kuciak: The Murder of a Journalist revisits a case that reaches across the mafia and into the highest political echelons. The film, entered in the Czech Competition, will have its distribution premiere at One World and then be released by Bontonfilm. The festival will also present Blix in the same section. Director Greta Stocklassa follows a man who once stood alongside the most powerful rulers on the planet and was tasked with finding out whether Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In the film The Visitors, director Veronika Lišková travels to the northernmost city in the world. It follows anthropologist Zdenka Sokolíčková as she discovers why making a new home in Spitsbergen is far from easy. The documentary Pongo Calling by director Tomáš Kratochvíl also takes the audience beyond the borders of the Czech Republic. It focuses on Štefan Pongo, a Romani truck driver who fights prejudice and discrimination against Roma across Europe.

Happily Ever After shows that love can take many forms. Director Jana Počtová presents stories of people cohabiting in various ways – an open marriage, a polyamorous relationship, or just lovers. Director Soňa G. Lutherová also presents a documentary probe into intimate relationships. A Happy Man follows the story of a family in which one of the parents is going through the process of transition.

What happens after someone breaks the silence? Director Mikoláš Arsenev seeks an answer in After the Silence Was Broken, in which he follows the co-founder of the No! You Must Endure initiative, which draws attention to sexual harassment and abuse of power at Czech art colleges.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis interfered in the characters’ lives in Keeping the Faith. Veronika Stehlíková’s film presents their stories as they try to fill their remaining time as meaningfully as possible. In his longitudinal documentary Stop Time, director David Čálek looks back at the coronavirus period.

Testimonies from Ukraine and documentaries in the virtual world

What can one do to feel safe? Director Coco Schrijber provides an unconventional answer in Look What You Made Me Do. The film, part of the International Competition, features three women who escaped abusive relationships by murdering their partners. In the competition category You Have the Right to Know, director Adithya Sambamurthy and her film The Journalist and her Jailers take viewers to the first-ever trial against members of Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria for crimes against humanity. The film will have its world premiere at the festival, and protagonist Luna Wafta will be our special guest.

One World cannot ignore the unabated aggression in Ukraine as we approach one year since the Russian invasion. One of the thematic categories is therefore dedicated to Ukraine. Overcoming the Darkness is a film made by a collective of Ukrainian filmmakers who offer a glimpse into everyday life amid a raging conflict.

The current crisis in the Finnish eldercare sector and how society treats the elderly is observed by director Susanna Helke in Ruthless Times – Songs of Care, which is part of the thematic category Relationships. One World will, of course, address the energy crisis and sustainability. In The Oil Machine, director Emma Davie gives a glimpse of the problems humanity may face in the future, thanks to the oil industry. The New Gods category will present Polish Prayers by Hana Nobis, a film that follows a young Polish man’s journey from conservative Christianity and homophobic views to questioning the existence of God.

Virtual reality has gained a firm foothold in documentary filmmaking in recent years. In this year’s competition, Anna Mauersberger and Niki Smit will present The Shape of Us, which confronts audiences with the damage done to the planet by humanity’s rapid expansion. The interactive project El Helicoide will show what life is like in the infamous prison for political prisoners in the middle of the Venezuelan capital.

The festival in cities across the country

In addition to Prague, One World will take place in 28 other cities across the Czech Republic. Audiences will be able to enjoy it from March 22 in cinemas in Brno, Uherské Hradiště, Ústí nad Labem, Znojmo, and Mladá Boleslav. As usual, One World will also look beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and will take place in Brussels between 20 and 27 April.

One World Online – anytime, anywhere

The festival also considers visitors who cannot attend a screening in one of the festival cities. During the coronavirus pandemic, the festival launched the One World Online VOD platform,where the best documentaries from previous years of the festival can be viewed throughout the year from anywhere in the Czech Republic. Since January, the www.jedensvetonline.cz online platform has been offering more highlights from past years as part of this year’s 25th-anniversary celebrations. Selected films from this year’s festival will be available on One World Online from April 3 to 16, 2023.

The complete festival program and details regarding international and Czech guests will be presented at the press conference on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. You should be receiving an invitation from us soon via e-mail.

Details about the festival and downloadable materials can be found on the website www.jedensvet.cz.


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