The 13th annual One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Awards, will be presented on Thursday, March 17th in Prague’s Lucerna Cinema.
One of the people who participated in this year’s festival was the British journalist Vaughan Smith, who is currently providing a refuge for controversial Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
When the final numbers are released, box office receipts are expected to be slightly up on last year. “When we add the attendance figures for the regional legs of the festival, this means that we should succeed in attracting an audience of more than 100,000 people,” says festival spokesperson Filip Šebek. Almost 150 foreign guests also attended this year’s One World.
THE AWARD-WINNING FILMS
This year the Best Film Award goes to the film 108 (Cuchillo de Palo /Renate Costa / Spain / 2010 /93 min.)
“This was a courageous and compelling personal investigation on film,” says Grand Jury member Rob Lemkin. “Through the unravelling of an uncle’s mysterious life and death, director Renate Costa explores the criminalisation and repression of gay men in Paraguay’s 1980s dictatorship. A film in which private and collective memories collide to produce a brilliantly layered and cinematically beautiful account of homophobia past and present, and its associated suffering, which has profound universal relevance. A film of rare wisdom.”
The Best Director Award goes to the documentary The Green Wave (The Green Wave, Ali Samadi Ahadi / Germany, Iran / 2010 / 80 min.)
“The director took us inside the 2009 Iranian popular movement with compelling storytelling and innovative use of social media like blogs and twitter, as well as techniques such as animation,” says Lemkin’s fellow Grand Jury member Ondřej Trojan. An extraordinary employment of archival footage brought home the enormous power of the people on the streets of Teheran. In reviving memories of individual suffering and collective strength, with great emotional power, this film represents all the popular democratic movements of the modern era, prior to and following the Iran upheaval of 2009.”
The Grand Jury awards Special Mention to the film Vodka Factory (Vodkafabriken / Jerzy Sladkowski / Sweden / 2010 / 90 min.)
“A film which portrays two generations of women in a small Russian town confronting a world defined by violent, alcoholic men,” says Ozlem Dalkiran, who also sat on the Grand Jury. The film powerfully deals with the issues of domestic violence, single-motherhood, the rights of children and aspirations of single women young and all. This it deals not with stridency, but delicately weaving the issues into the fabric of subjects with a deeply humanistic Chekhovian compassion.”
The Rudolf Vrba Award is given to the best film in the Right to Know category. The Jury that decides on this award this year is deliberately made up not of filmmakers but of charismatic, brave individuals working in the field of human rights.
“The attending members of the Jury Rudolf Vrba wish to acknowledge that the 5th member of the jury Liu Xiaobo remains in detention on China. His presence has been with us all along through his empty chair. We take this opportunity to once again call for his immediate and unconditional release,” says jury member Jerald Joseph.
The Rudolf Vrba Award goes to the film The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan (The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan / Jamie Doran / UK / 2010 / 52 min.)
“The disenfranchisement women and children in society was a thread in a few of the films in this category,” says Joseph’s jury colleague Catherine Absalom. “We strongly feel that this documentary makes the link to these systematic violations of fragility of women and children that happens in the context of patriarchy, religious structures, feudal systems and personal lust, greed and power. This is fuelled by corruption and lawlessness that enables it to thrive and continue.
This specific film highlights a universals message of power of those vulnerable abused young boys that is masked by cultural traditions which is here uncovered as child sexual slavery. These young boys are openly bought, abducted, sold, sexually abused, traded and in some cases murdered. The jury commends Jamie Doran for this compelling investigative journalism documentary that bravely brings to light the silenced, hidden and voiceless issues of sexual slavery. We hope that this thought provokes film will direct you to realize the systemic violation of the defenseless children, and be their voice.”
The Rudolf Vrba Jury awards Special Mention to the film Love Me, Please (Lubite menia, pojaluista / Valery Balayan / Russia / 2010 / 75 min.)
“Valery Balayan film portraying the murders of human rights defender and lawyer Stanislav Markelov and investigative journalist Anastasia Baburova, highlights the systematic climate of fear and intimidation in Russia that also supports the growth of Neo-Nazism,” says jury member Mary Frances Lindstrom.
The unchecked rise of neo-Nazism in Russia and its growth in Europe is not only a threat to human rights of a civil society but also a step back for humanity.
In Russia, these violent actions are undertaken within a climate of impunity. The States unwillingness to confront neo-Nazi groups use of xenophobia and racism has enabled its pervasive growth, indeed a call for ‘pogrom’ in 21st century Russia makes ones blood run cold. The jury commends the sustained bravery of the journalists, human rights defenders and civil society in Russia. This award stands in solidarity with their commitment to their work in the face of threats and intimidation.”
The documentary The Green Wave will also receive the Václav Havel Special Award as a film that uniquely contributes to the defence of human rights, awarded by the Jury whose honorary chair is Václav Havel.
The Czech Radio Award for creative use of music and sound in a documentary film will be awarded to the Czech film directed by Zdeněk N. Bričkovský In the Lands of Silence – Nikolai and Ludmila (V krajinách ticha – Nikolaj a Ludmila / Zdeněk N. Bričkovský / Czech Republic / 2011 / 65 min.).
“The documentarian approach towards life in a remote landscape of the Siberian taiga by Zdeněk N. Bričkovský makes full use of sound – which is not only a part of the film background, but above all becomes a full and complex complement to the visual element of the film,” says jury member Jiří Hubička. The fundamental formula for using all aspects of audio in the film is manifested in a statement of one of the film’s protagonists, the hardy and deeply religious folk philosopher Nikolai: ‘Silence does not exist. The sounds of nature are music, beautiful music. When you hear that music, you hear God.’ It is with this idea in mind that the director utilizes the sounds of nature, often recorded at exaggerated intensity, together with music interpreted by classical instruments, Nikolai’s songs, and synthetic sounds. The full sound, its stereophonic perception, the understanding for minute detail, and the contrastive use of silence – all of these contribute significantly towards the very intriguing and very poetic image of the film.”
The Student Jury Award for the best film in the One World collection of films for students will be awarded by the Student Jury to the film Thembi (Thembi / Jo Menell / South Africa / 2010 / 48 min).
“The Students’ Jury has chosen Thembi, an original film dedicated to the problem of AIDS in South Africa, as the winning film,” says jury member Jana Dobešová. The documentary is ideally suited to approach students with its story of the main protagonist who does not lose her optimism even when faced with an incurable illness. Thanks to her determination and admirable energy she is able to surpass the local taboos and openly speak about her own illness with other African students. Through the silver screen she can spread her message directly among our peers. We also commend the animated sequences in the film invoking an intimate atmosphere and allowing us to reach Thembi’s soul.”
The winner of the VŠEM Audience Award is Autumn Gold (Herbstgold / Jan Tenhaven / Germany, Austria / 2010 / 94 min.).