Prague - Labeled as one of the largest and most important human rights film festival in Europe, the One World festival kicks off next week March 11.
Established 11 years ago, it has turned into a major cultural event in the country, seeking the best quality documentary films on social and politically engaged human rights themes.
The eleventh year will see around 120 films screened in 29 cities. The Prague part of the festival starts on March 11 and lasts through March 19.
Cinema Lucerna and Lucerna bar attached to the cinema have become traditional venues for meeting people and sipping on coffee while waiting for the next film.
The Langhans Gallery, seated just across the street, is the festival's "headquarters" where film makers, human rights activists and journalists meet and exchange their experience or just chat about the status of human rights in various parts of the world.
Burma on agenda
Annually organized by the People in Need foundation, the festival will open with a film Burma VJ whose protagonist is a young Burmese reporter called Joshua.
Together with some colleagues from the exiled Democratic Voice of Burma TV station, he decided to make a detailed record of anti-government demonstrations in September 2007 and their subsequent brutal suppression.
"With this film we would like to attempt something similar to what we achieved last year with the documentary called The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," says One World director Igor Blažević.
"Using the People in Need Friends Club, we organised a collection to help the Congolese women who had been raped. We went to the Congo with the money we raised, and not only did we distribute it among those who needed it," he explained to the reporters at the press conference.
"But most importantly, we also opened a mission there, which is still operating and helping people to this day."
The opening screening of the film will be attended by its Danish director Anders Ostergaard and the deputy director of the Democratic Voice of Burma Khin Maung Win.
No dedication this year
Every year is traditionally dedicated to certain topics. However, this year will break this tradition and is set to reflect on the global challenges facing today's world.
Therefore the films are about as diverse countries as Burma, South Africa, Kashmir, Ecuador, Venezuela, Congo and North Korea etc.
The supporting themes for this year's event are water, oil, gas, the energy industry, global warming, the economy and the financial crisis.
For the first time in the One World's history, the festival will present a feature film. Zdeněk Tyc's El Paso deals with the issue of social exclusion and is inspired by the true story of a Roma widow and mother of nine children.
The festival is also known for promoting dialogue and discussion. Apart from short debates after nearly every screening, there will also be three debating cinemas - the Divadlo Archa theatre, the Municipal Library (Městská knihovna) and the Institut Francais de Prague. Every day there will be an organised panel discussion on a topical issue at these venues after the screening of individual films.
- Světozor cinema (two theatres)
- Divadlo Archa theatre
- Atlas cinema (two theatres)
- Institut Francais de Prague
- Municipal Library (Městská knihovna)
- Evald cinema
- Ponrepo cinema
- Divadlo Minor theatre
The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain is reminded in the visual, in which among newly born babies stars also former president Václav Havel.
According to the festival director Igor Blaževič, the festival "cares about addressing today's young people in their twenties, who represent the first generation in the Czech Republic to grow up in freedom."
This year also expands the viewer target groups by adding new sections: One World for Senior Citizens, One World for Parents with Small Children and One World in Prague City Districts.
Every year sees a record breaking numbers of viewers. Last year's incredible 100,000 viewers, comparable to major festivals' attendance worldwide, will be hard to beat but who knows, the new sections might make magic.
Tickets for films can be bought at the box offices of all festival cinemas for 70 CZK.
You can see more information about the One World's festival web site here.