The 2013 One World festival of human rights documentaries kicks off in Prague on Monday. Over a week and a half, this year’s festival, the 15th, will present more than 100 films on subjects ranging from the international hackers group Anonymous to acid attacks on women in Pakistan to a homeless New Yorker who’s become friends with top film stars. The theme of this year’s One World is tolerance and intolerance; festival director Hana Kulhánková told me why.
“And we were also horrified by some of the presidential candidates and the manner of speaking about migrants or people with differences that we experienced very recently. We thought it’d be interesting to focus on what Czech society is doing about it.”
You were referring to conflicts between white majority residents and Romanies in some Czech towns?
“We are basically talking about the majority of Czech society and their relation to anybody who is different than what Czechs think a natural Czech citizen is [laughs].
“It’s necessarily only the Romany minority. It can be any person of colour. It can be any immigrant. It can be a person with a different sexual orientation. It can really be anybody.”
Tell us about your special categories this year.
“I’m really happy that we were able to put together one category that is called Side Effects, which features films that deal with health issues and the health industry.
“Another special category, which came about because of the films that we got, deals with the media, and we’ve called it the The Power of the Media. We are interested in how the traditional media, like newspapers and magazines, are really changing because of the influence of internet blogging.
“We are showing films that show for example how it is in today’s New York Times and how they are dealing with it. Also we’re showing a film that deals with hacktivists, which is totally internet stuff.”
One of your guests last year, who I had the pleasure of meeting, was Emad Burnat, who earlier this week was on the red carpet at the Oscars with his film 5 Broken Cameras. Who are the special guests this year that will be particularly interesting, do you think?
“I think one of the special guests this year is going to be a Russian director called Vitaly Mansky. He is very famous. He’s made a few hundred documentary films and it’s going to be his first time at One World. He’s showing a film about contemporary Cuba, so it’s really interesting.”
Speaking of Cuba, you will have the very well-known Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez here.
“Yes, I’m so excited that Yoani Sanchez is going to be part of One World for real. Because we had her on the jury a few years ago, but it was done at long distance because she couldn’t travel at that time.
Finally, it’s not really your area perhaps, but I know One World in Schools – which something like half the schools in the country are involved in – will make a big step forward this year.
“Yes, a week ago my colleagues from One World in Schools launched a new internet portal, www.jsns.cz, where teachers and students can watch, download and stream all the materials that One World in Schools is using, including documentary films, materials, and questions and answers. I think it’s a really good tool.”