One World is back for the 20th time

The human rights film festival will present 128 films

The 20th edition of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival runs March 5 to 14 in Prague at nine cinemas. The festival will also run in another 36 towns across the Czech Republic and in Brussels in March and April.

This year’s program presents 128 films from 52 countries in 15 categories. There are 20 premieres including five world, 12, international and three European. The festival will show 10 films for the hearing impaired, four films with audio commentary and six films for families. Some 119,498 people visited One World in 2017.

Privacy in the virtual world is explored in the opening film of this year’s One World (Jeden svět) film festival, The Cleaners, which looks at the work of content moderators on social networks. Nameless people in nameless buildings in the Philippines decide what we see on our Facebook wall. The film will be introduced by director Moritz Riesewieck.

For the second year, an international jury will choose the best Czech documentary from 10 productions. World premieres in this section include director Saša Dlouhý’s God Forsaken about immigrants’ lives, and AsexuaLOVE, the first film to explore our country’s asexual subculture.

Another three films are Czech premieres that range from a coming of age tale to a look at the fate of the maker of the legendary Lada cars.

Two other competition categories are the International Competition and Right To Know. The first presents documentaries with a unique and original style and these will compete for the prize of best film.

In the category Right To Know, 12 films will be vying for the attention of the Václav Havel Jury. The participating films reveal serious human rights violations or present strong stories of people actively fighting for human rights.

One highlight is Director Barbet Schroeder’s new film The Venerable W. It looks at the discrimination and repression of the Rohingya ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, and specifically at the Buddhist monk Wirath who promotes ethnic violence despite the peaceful principles of his religion. Barbet Schroeder is known for his fiction films, which date back to the late 1960s. The film will feature a special guest, the internationally renowned Burmese political activist Wai Wai Nu, who will give a solo talk.

One new addition to the festival is the section Americana, which takes a look at the current state of the US. The election of Donald Trump and issues facing African Americans are among the topics.

Another category, Eurodrome, looks at the challenges that Europe has had to face in the past few years: mass migration, growing populist movements, and the economic crisis.

The unifying theme of the documentaries in the category Beyond the Horizon is distance – between continents and people, and from ourselves. The participating films look at a place beyond our physical as well as mental horizons.

The subjects of the films in the category of Art For Change use music, film, or poetry to try to effect change on the personal or societal level.

The documentaries in the category of Journeys To Freedom look at countries in which the nonprofit organization People in Need is active or that have long been the subject of their attention. Director Feras Fayyad’s Last Men in Aleppo, which has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, shows the impact of the war in Syria.

The category One Zero looks at stories of people who have become entangled in the digital web. Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras looks at the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange in her new film Risk.

The subjects of the films in Long Live Life! break down ingrained stereotypes to show that even in today’s stressful and fast-paced world, you can follow your own path and enjoy life on your own terms.

Environmental issues are the subject of the films in the category UnEarthed. Humankind has still not managed to slow the worsening state of the environment.

The traditional category of Panorama presents documentaries that have been successes at important foreign festivals.

A new addition this year is Talking Cinema, which will present six public discussions on selected films related to current issues that resonate throughout society. The discussions will be in English, with simultaneous translation into Czech. Three of the discussions will be translated into sign language.

This year for the third time, One World Interactive invites viewers into a virtual environment containing documentaries about real people and events. This year will be the first time that audiences can see the films at the same time and in the same place as other viewers in a special VR cinema.

Kim Longinotto is the subject of a retrospective. In her documentaries, she focuses on stories of strong women who refuse to be told what they should do. Her films have appeared at One World since the festival’s founding.

Some documentaries aim for more than just audience applause and a full house. This year’s festival is showing 23 films whose goal is to affect real social change. Some of the filmmakers have launched their own campaigns that the public can join, and for other films, the organizers of One World have prepared special accompanying events.

Running concurrently with the One World festival is the East Doc Platform (EDP), the largest event for documentary filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the course of a week, Prague will host a gathering of top film professionals, with a wide range of interesting public lectures by leading experts. The subject of the seventh annual EDP, “The New Resistance,” looks at the current political situation, at attempts at limiting documentary freedom, and at critical voices in the media.

A complete program is at

Video on YouTube

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