One World starting

The festival showcasing human rights documentaries is in its 21st year

The 21st One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival runs March 6 to 17. Prague venues include Lucerna, Světozor, Evald. Oko, DOX, the French Institute (Kino 35) and the Municipal Library.

The program is divided into 14 categories with three competition categories and eight thematic ones, plus short films, virtual reality, and a special category for children, Docs for Kids.

There are 117 documentaries from 51 countries, with 17 world and international premieres and three European premieres. Over 140 festival guests are expected.

Identity in the globalized world is explored under the festival’s motto Safe Proximity. The festival program includes two categories on searching for and defining one’s identity as an individual and across society. “The protagonists of these films are either struggling to figure out where they belong, or they know it but find it difficult to understand their surroundings or society. Some of their stories take place on the other side of the planet, but thanks to film we learn that we have much in common,” festival’s programming director Ondřej Moravec said.

The International Competition presents documentary films that will vie for Best Film and Best Director awards. The experimental Reconstructing Utøya, which had its international premiere at this year’s Berlinale, uses survivor accounts to recreate the 2011 attack on a Norwegian summer camp.

For his film Sakawa, director Ben Asamoah traveled to Ghana to document an unusual way of making a living: fraudulent emails and false identities to swindle rich Americans and Europeans. The death of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld remains the subject of conspiracy theories. In Cold Case Hammarskjöld, Danish filmmaker Mads Brügger and a Swedish private investigator attempt a reconstruction of events.

The competition category Right to Know calls attention to human rights violations and gives voice to leading activists from around the world. The Václav Havel Jury will choose from 12 documentaries. In its international premiere, Novaya is the story of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which since 2000 has lost six of its journalists. Está Todo Bien explores the current Venezuelan crisis. On Her Shoulders is a portrait of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nadia Murad, who fights for Yazidi rights. The importance of citizen journalists is shown in Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World.

This year’s Czech Competition features seven world premieres. The section includes two episodes from the documentary series Czech Journal: The first is Filip Remund’s The Okamura Brothers, which takes an unconventional look at three very different brothers.

The other film, Real(e)state – in which actors experience first-hand how the real estate market works – reflects the fact that lack of accessible housing is a pressing issue in the Czech Republic. The psychological portrait Another Chance is the story of marriage con-artist Mirek and his latest victim Monika, who is waiting for her betrothed to get out of jail. The protagonists of Never Stop are active seniors who show that one can live life to the fullest despite one’s age.

The question marks and exclamation points from this year’s visual design refer to two categories. The protagonists of the films in the category titled ??? want to be a part of society, but for some reason, society refuses to accept them. They are trying to find their own identity, but often they run up against a lack of understanding from friends and family.

The category titled !!! presents the stories of people and communities that are defending their certainties, and whose identity is defined by the where they live.

One World Interactive presents eight virtual reality projects at the DOX Center for Contemporary Art offering new perspectives on historical events, visions that cannot be depicted using traditional media, and other insights.

The protagonists of the films in the Long Live Life section follow their own path, and some even find new ways of living that have not yet caught on in society. One film, Punk Voyage, follows a Finnish punk band from its appearance on the Eurovision Song Contest all the way to their final concert. Band member Pertti Kurikka will come to Prague, and moviegoers will be able to meet with him at several post-movie debates.

The Panorama section has films that have enjoyed success at other film festivals throughout the world. For instance, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, which movingly captures life in the American South and was nominated for an Oscar, is considered one of last year’s best films.

The category One Zero take viewers into cyberspace to show us our lives can be affected by ones and zeros. All Creatures Welcome, for example, takes us into the workings of the Chaos Computer Club – the largest hacker society in Europe.

The traditional category Journeys to Freedom looks at the situation in countries where People in Need is active or that are at the focus of its activities. The category Short and Accurate present short documentary films. The category UnEarthed is dedicated to films with an environmental theme.

There is a retrospective of Oscar-nominated American documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman. He will present his recent series The Trade (2018), which looks at the production and distribution of heroin, as well as earlier works like City of Ghosts, the winner of the 2018 One World Audience Award.

Talking Cinema presents five discussions with foreign experts on selected films from this year’s program. All discussions are held at Kino 35.

The One World film festival and the Institute for Documentary Film join forces to organize East Doc Platform, the largest industry event for documentary filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe. This year’s topic, Eastern Logic, will explore the region’s specific way of looking at the world, which may sometimes seem bizarre when seen from the outside but which often brings us strong stories and unreal situations.

For some people, a ticket to the movies can take a bite out of their pocketbook. For them, the festival has “suspended tickets.” Anyone who purchases or picks up a ticket at the One World information stand in the Lucerna building can purchase one extra ticket and leave it “suspended” for someone else – and anyone who cannot afford a ticket can pick up.

New this year, the festival offers 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 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.

A complete program is available at

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