One World Festival Starts

    Today marks the start of the 23rd edition of the One World International Human Rights Film Festival throughout the Czech Republic. This years slogan – “Connection Lost” – refers to one of the phrases most frequently encountered by people meeting with the use of the technological options offered by the internet. “It is a message informing us of a weak connection or other technical difficulties that negatively affect our technology-based communication. At the same time, these words perfectly describe the situation that many people have found themselves in during the pandemic,” explains Festival Director Ondřej Kamenický. One World will screen 101 documentaries from 50 countries, and viewers can look forward to more than 40 discussions within the One World Live programme. The complete programme is accessible at: www.oneworld.cz/2021/program 

    The opening film, which will be screened this evening starting at 7 pm, is Courage. It will take viewers to the recent demonstrations that took place in Minsk. This documentary about the Belarusian Free Theatre, which has been daringly criticising Lukashenko's authoritarian regime in its performances for the past fourteen years, portrays the theatre ensemble’s members at a time when their country finds itself at a crossroads. The emotional film captures the perseverance and courage of thousands of protesters who are calling for change and democracy but who continue to meet with the same relentless state violence and arrests that the government uses as it doggedly tries to remain in power. A discussion with the film’s director Aliaksei Paluyan; Natallia Satsunkevich, who is the Coordinator of the Viasna Human Rights Centre; the Belarusian actor and activist Kyril Masheka; and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Tomáš Petříček will follow the screening.

    The first part of the festival, running from 10 to 19 May, belongs to the series of discussions held as a part of the One World Live programme. There will be four discussions a day, which will be streamed on the festival’s social network pages as well as on the newly created One World Online platform. The One World Live studio will operate in three time blocks: morning, afternoon, and evening. The morning starts at 10 am with the “One World Informs” educational block, during which experts will cover topics such as cyberbullying, the power of documentary film, how to handle separation and long-distance relationships, and how art changes our perspective of the climate crisis. Then, every day at 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm, One World Live will offer a documentary film screening followed by a discussion with the film’s creators and experts on the relevant theme. The list of individuals who have accepted our invitation to participate in this post-screening discussion include imam and lawyer Seyran Ates, freediver and cold water athlete Kiki Bosch, and Meredith Broussard, who is an associate professor at New York University and the author of the book Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.

    From 20 May to 6 June, all of the films will be accessible on the One World Online platform. The festival’s organisers continue to monitor the pandemic situation and government measures, and they hope that they will be able to hold some screenings and accompanying events at open-air cinemas. “It’s awful that for several months we’ve been trying to determine whether or not we’ll be able to organise some screenings at open-air cinemas, and we still have no definitive answer. The situation in the culture sector is extremely uncertain, and there is no existing plan for cultural event organisers to follow. We hope that the rules for open-air cinemas will be relaxed for at least a few days when the festival is underway,” says Ondřej Kamenický.

    In addition to the main Connection Lost category, the festival includes the three traditional competition categories (International Competition, Right to Know, and Czech Competition), and ten other thematic categories. The International Competition presents the best of the world’s current documentary film production, bringing together important themes with exceptional formal handling. You can choose films from the individual categories on the festival’s website, where you can browse through the programme by date, or directly on the One World Online platform.

    A total of ten films are competing for the best documentary award in the Czech Competition, of which two are being shown in their world premiere. These are Tomáš Hlaváček’s new film Housing Against Everyone about the inaccessibility of dignified housing in Czechia, and On Your Marks!, a Formanesque docu-comedy from the Sokol environment. Also included in this category is the film A Marriage – directed by Kateřina Hager, who attracted attention several years ago with her successful Children Online, and Asad Faruqi – which we are screening in its European premiere. One of the films being shown at the festival in its Czech premiere is Helena Třeštíková’s latest film, Anny, which captures the life of a charismatic older prostitute, which is full of brief ups and many downs. In addition to new films, the competition includes documentaries that have received much acclaim at festivals over the past several months. The most expressive of these is the film A New Shift by Jindřich Andrš, which received awards at the festivals in Jihlava and Leipzig.


    - This year’s programme includes 101 films in 15 thematic categories.
    - We are presenting 91 films in their premiere (13 in their world, international, or European premiere, and 78 in their Czech premiere).
    - More than 60 festival guests have confirmed their online participation.


    - Tickets/Vouchers may be purchased for each film on the One World Online website. The ticket price is CZK 90.
    - Selected films are in English or they have English subtitles.
    - Selected films have open captions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
    - Selected programme events are interpreted into Czech Sign Language.
    - Our info booth at the Karlín Barracks will be available to you during the entire festival. Here, you can obtain all necessary information about the festival and purchase festival merchandise, which will also be available from the One World E-shop.

    Additional information, as well as this year’s visuals, are available for download atwww.oneworld.cz.