Prague - To shed light on the abatement of human rights and dignity before the eyes of the public.
This is how the aim of the International Documentary Film Festival One World is described by its founder and director Igor Blaževič.
In the ten years of its existence, the festival has succeeded in reaching this goal and then some more. The numbers speak for themselves - 3,000 enthusiasts that welcomed the first year of One World in 1999 transformed last year into 71,500 viewers.
The Prague portion of this year's anniversary event begins March 5th and lasts through March 13th. Afterwards, the festival sets out for outlying regions, with screenings taking place in a total of 28 cities.
Special dedication to Burma
This year's festival is dedicated to Burmese politician and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as to the Burmese people who last September courageously stood up to the military regime that has ruled the country already for nearly half a century.
The entire world followed with bated breath the several-day-long bloody repression of the Burmese junta, which ended in the death of at least three dozen people and the arrest of 3,000 others.
As such, this year One World decided to bestow the Homo Homini prize for contribution in the area of human rights to three Burmese activists who personally took part in the demonstrations: Su Su Nway, Phyu Phyu Thin and Nilar Thein.
Not one of the three, however, can come to accept the award; two have been forced to stay in hiding since last September while the third has been in prison.
Hopes for a better world
Burma unquestionably belongs among the cruelest dictatorships in the world, for which the leader of their junta, General Than Shwe, has come to earn an "honorable" spot in the dictator band playing in the festival´s trailer and used as the festival´s promotion logo.
Other musicians comprising this "band of dreams", or rather nightmares, are Cuba's Fidel Castro, North Korea's Kim Chong-il, Belorussia's Aleksandar Lukashenko, and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
This year will again feature the presentation of the Václav Havel Award, named after the keen supporter of the festival under whose patronage the event is taking place. Václav Havel is known for having appealled to the Burmese government to release Aug San Suu Kyi from the house arrest.
"Nine years of the One World festival represents nine years of self-reflection, nine years of growing self-confidence here. If young people in particular are willing to take interest in the problems, misery, and conflicts of today's world, we all have hope that the future world will be a little bit better than the current one," declared the former dissident turned president Václav Havel.
The tenth annual One World festival with its offering of 138 films does not, however, aim to balance; rather it wants to bring attention to significant events that await us this year.
For instance, celebrated will be the 60th anniversary of the acceptance of the General Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
And this summer will welcome the Peking Olympic Games, which are already prompting vocal protests due to infringement of human rights and damage to the environment.
The most current news in this regard is Stephen Spielberg's recent resignation as an artistic director to the Games due to the sale of weapons into Darfur, which China has not concealed, and in fact has publicly defended. One World features a presentation of Asian films in the scope of the Asian Panorama section.
The Czech Republic is gradually preparing to take over the helm of the EU presidency, which will be passed on from France.In this respect, One World has prepared in cooperation with the French Embassy a showing of French documentary films that will be newly available for viewing at the Institute.
One of the juries will be occupied, among others, by French experimental director Jean Gabriel Périot, whose film Even if She Had Been a Criminal... was awarded last year in the short film competition.
A total of 16 films will compete in the category of the Main Competition. This same number will also vie for the prize in the category "Right to Know". One World has also compiled themed sections such as "Dictatorships in the spotlight", "Putin's Empire", and the retrospective category "Films That Changed the World".
So, we can metaphorically say that the toddler has grown into a strong individual with its own views and mission, whose voice can be heard well beyond the terrain of the Czech Republic, where One World presents selected films in nearly 30 cities as well as in the scope of the program One World in Schools.
This year in the scope of an endeavor called A World in a World, a mini-presentation of films from One World sets out to other cities such as Washington, New York, Madrid, Paris, Sao Paolo, Hong Kong, and South Africa's Pretoria.
One World on Aktuálně.cz
Once again this year Aktuálně.cz brings you not only interviews with interesting festival guests but also reviews of selected films, drawing you closer to the issues about which the works are dealing.
Among the selected pieces are, for instance, the documentary Shadow of the Holy Book, which illustrates the immorality of large international companies operating in Turkmenistan, as well as Andrei Někrasov's investigative documentary Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Litvinenko case and the power structures of Russia.
In the Israeli film Jerusalem is Proud to Present, orthodox Jews clash against Jerusalem's homosexual community in the midst of preparations for a gay and lesbian rights parade.
The British piece Abandoned addresses the theme of insufficient care in Bulgarian social institutions, which is a theme intimately known here as well. For this the Czech Republic recently received criticism from the BBC.
A special about the film will be written by Aktuálně.cz reporter Eliška Bártová, who has dedicated herself long-term to the issue and recently visited social institutions of Great Britain.