One World In Prague: Art Of Collaboration


One World, the world famous human rights film festival, was established in Prague nineteen years ago. Organized by the People in Need organization, the festival has grown into the largest human rights documentary film festival in the world.

This year it will be held between 6 and 15 March, and for the first time it is accessible to persons with disabilities, such as hearing impairments. “We work within a broad concept of human rights, as stated in the Universal Declaration,” said festival director, Hana Kulhánková: “According to the Declaration, all people have the right to participate freely in the cultural life of their community.”

One World 2017 will open with the film Good Postman set in a small, dying village on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, through which refugees pass daily on their way to Europe. Ivan, the good-hearted village postman, would like to move the refugees into unoccupied, crumbling buildings and in that way bring new life to the village. So he stands for mayor. The documentary is visually impressive, sensitive, sometimes almost tragicomic, and it captures an idiosyncratic human goodness against the backdrop of a difficult geopolitical situation. “The movie is very ordinary, but with truly beautiful camera work and music. It is about all of us, about our conscience. It makes us ask whether we would help, or not“, adds Kulhánková. 

Photo: One World Festival

Family is an important theme of this year’s program. Especially in today’s cultural sphere, which emphasizes the role of the individual, a discussion about new forms and meanings of the concept of the family is pertinent. The Family Happiness category includes films like Future Baby, which raises questions about ethical boundaries at a time when children can be grown in test tubes. The film Who´s Gonna Love Me Now? documents the efforts of Saar, an HIV-positive gay man, to find his way back to his Orthodox Jewish family after 18 years apart.

Photo: Claire Beilvert

The slogan of this year’s festival campaign is “The Art of Collaboration”. It is a concept in contemporary art, which has inspired One World and places it into a society-wide context. “We chose a very positive-sounding slogan, because Czech society has been receiving rather negatively worded messages for a long time,” Kulhánková said. 

Examples of collaboration or its absence can be seen across the whole festival programme. This year’s new categories include “Vote for Change!” – focusing on the populist movements and civil society activists who have brought the need for change into the political arena. Migration remained a major theme for videographers and filmmakers in the past year, and therefore another new programme category is “Dreams of Europe” – films about refugees on their way to Europe as well as those who, after encountering the European reality, awake from a naive dream.

The special program category “Face of the City”, which was created in collaboration with the reSITE architectural and urban planning platform, addresses human impact on the environment and how the environment, in turn, influences humanity. Dream Empire is a film about a bizarre and dangerous situation in the Chinese real estate market, where China is building a grandiose “ghost town”. This category also includes Abandoned Land, a debut film by director Gilles Laurent about the former residents’ return to the contaminated zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

One World this year includes over 110 films, including 23 premieres from dozens of countries around the globe.

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