Since 1998, the One World festival has brought a wide range of documentaries that fall under the general scope of human rights and related topics to Prague cinemas. The fest is organized by People in Need, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Czech Republic, which provides humanitarian aid locally and abroad and organizes a wide array of local human rights, social integration programs within the Czech Republic.
This year’s fest has a specific theme: “Don’t Be Scared of Eggality!”, which, in response to the 2011 Šluknov demonstrations that have bled into recent political campaigns, takes a look at racism, intolerance, and other forms of discrimination in order to draw attention to “recent dangerous tendencies in the Czech society.”
“Eggality” is a major theme in the fest’s bizarre promo campaign, which contains colorful graphics featuring an ostrich in a chicken coop, purporting to highlight the discrimination between chickens and their larger relatives (I can only hope this makes more sense for local audiences).
From March 4-13, One World will overtake most of Prague’s arthouse cinemas, including Lucerna, Světozor, Atlas, Evald, Ponrepo, the French Institute’s Kino 35, and the City Library (Městská knihovna). Apart from the shorts in the Docs for Kids category, all films are presented in English or with English subtitles.
The festival’s accompanying program features a number a panel debates with filmmakers, which take place at the French Institute following the screening of selected films – check the fest’s website for a rundown (all debates will be interpreted in both Czech and English). A special exhibition, Syria – Prisoners of the Conflict, will be presented during the festival in the Lucerna passage.
- Bravehearts, which opens the festival at Lucerna (invite only) and Světozor (open to the public) on March 4, was originally conceived as a documentary about youth politicians in Norway. The film dramatically changed when Anders Behring Breivik murdered 69 people, mostly teenagers, at Norway’s Labour Party youth camp. At Světozor (March 4 & 9) and Městská knihovna (March 13).
- Saving Face, which won the best documentary short at last year’s Academy Awards, looks at acid attacks on women in Pakistan. At Lucerna (March 5) and Atlas (March 8 & 11).
- Radioman charts the story behind the famed NYC movie shoot mascot Craig Castaldo, a homeless man who would turn up at film shoots on a bicycle with an oversized radio hanging around his neck and wind up being cast as an extra in dozens of blockbuster films. Interviewees include George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, and other stars who have crossed Radioman’s path. At Atlas (March 6 & 7) and Lucerna (March 9).
- Glacial Balance, from director Ethan Steinmann, is having its world premiere at the One World festival. The film puts “a human face, real-life stories and feelings, to the effects we are feeling from glacial decline” by observing communities that depend on snow and glacial melt. At Lucerna (March 6) & Atlas (March 9).
- When Bubbles Burst, from Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland (The Beautiful Country), examines financial volatility in the current economic climate, and future trends and predictions. At Městská knihovna (March 9) and Evald (March 13).
- In The Act of Killing, a controversial documentary produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, director Joshua Oppenheimer interviews two unrepentant killers who executed an untold number of accused communists for the state in post-1965 Indonesia – and allows them to re-create their crimes for the camera. At Atlas (March 6), Lucerna (March 10), and Městská knihovna (March 12).
- Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry made the Oscar shortlist for this year’s Best Documentary Academy Award, but failed to receive a nomination. Alison Klayman’s extraordinarily well-reviewed film follows the Chinese artist and activist from the 2009 Sichuan earthquake project to his run-ins with police and eventual arrest. At Světozor (March 5), Lucerna (March 11, along with a debate featuring the director), and Atlas (March 12).
- We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists follows the rise of Anonymous through beginnings at 4Chan up through their clash with Scientology and global political battles; it’s a little rough around the edges – with little new for those familiar with the group – but a fascinating introduction nonetheless. At Městská knihovna (March 7), Světozor (March 10), and Atlas (March 11).
- Camp 14 – Total Control Zone tells the incredible story of Shin Dong-Huyk, who was born and raised in total confinement at a North Korean re-education camp before escaping at the age of 23, only to be confronted with a strange new world that he has struggled to adapt to. At Lucerna (March 7), Atlas (March 10), and the French Institute (March 13).
- Daniel Abma’s Beyond Wriezen follows a trio of young German ex-convicts for three years following their release from prison, charting their re-integration into society. At Ponrepo (March 6) and Světozor (March 9, followed by a debate with the director).
- Local features are also well-represented: Free Smetana, from directors Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda (Český sen), takes a look at the case of bus driver Roman Smetana, who was sentenced to a jail term for drawing antennae on election posters; and Fortress (Pevnost), from Klára Tasovská and Lukáš Kokeš, which observes the unrecognized state of Transnistria, between Moldova and Ukraine, frozen in time since 1992.
One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
At Lucerna, Světozor, Atlas, Evald, Ponrepo, French Institute & City Library in Prague
March 4 – 13 in Prague, followed by screenings in 40 cities throughout the Czech Republic