The 2014 One World festival of human rights documentaries, which gets underway in Prague on Monday, will showcase over 100 films from more than 50 states around the world. The theme of the 16th edition of the festival is work. Ahead of the curtain raiser, the director of One World, Hana Kulhánková, explained why the organisers chose that subject – and shared some tips as to what films to catch.
“We feel that it’s something that everybody is dealing with. It doesn’t matter if you have work or if you’re looking for a new job – it’s just such a part of our everyday lives that it’s something that really connects us.
“We were really looking for films that see jobs, work, however you call it, from different points of view, showing how different people are dealing with a lack of work, or too much work.”
Every year there’s a lot of interest in the opening film. What’s the opening film for 2014?
“I’m so happy that this year’s opening film is Miners Shot Down. It’s the world premiere of a documentary made in South Africa and it’s about a very shocking case that happened there in 2012, when thousands of miners were on strike because of their very low wages.
“After a few weeks of strikes, the military and the police really began very violently shooting at the miners and there were dozens of people killed.
“Till nowadays, the case has not been properly investigated. So this film can really be used in court as like a witness, because the director of the film, Rehad Desai, was in the right place at the right time and he gathered a lot of material there.
What other films would you recommend this year?
“My favourite this year is a Hungarian film called Judgment in Hungary. It’s a very interesting film that takes place in a courtroom. It’s about the case of a group of Hungarian men who were taken to court because they shot dead I think it was six or eight Roma people. It was a big case in Hungary.
“The filmmakers were following the story for three years and they were the only crew allowed to be in the courtroom.
“I was following the whole process of the making of the film and I’m so happy that the film is now finished and especially that the men were sentenced to life in prison.”
Some people who maybe don’t go to the festival might think that it’s all kind of bleak films and difficult subjects. Are there any lighter films that might attract the casual viewer?
“This year we have so many funny films in the programme as well. One of my favourites is a Polish film called Everything is Possible. It’s about a beautiful 80-year-old woman who is really into hitchhiking and goes all around the world, just hitchhiking.
“It’s such an empowering and beautiful film about an old person who decides to not give up on her life because a tragedy happened – her son died.
“She was so depressed that her doctor said, you have to change your life, go and travel. And she took it to heart and started travelling.
“We are lucky because she is going to come to the festival and audiences will have a chance to talk to her.”
What about other interesting guests who are coming to this year’s One World?
“I’m really happy that the director of a very interesting documentary on Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer [Mark Lerner], is coming.
“It’s very interesting to see the complexity of what Pussy Riot really mean. They’re out of jail but still on the covers of the newspapers because they are still protesting about what’s going on in Russia.”
The One World festival of human rights documentaries runs in Prague from Monday until March 12. After that it moves on, in reduced form, to more than 30 other cities and towns in the Czech Republic.