Rudolf Vrba Jury
Alyaksandr Atroshchankau, Belarusian human right activist and journalist is one of the most visible participants of Belarusian opposition protests, and not only because of his height. Within the last decade, he has been arrested more than fifty times. He joined the democratic opposition in the fall of 1999 when the first opposition members disappeared. He became involved in distributing information materials and took part in street protests. He actively joined the political scene during the presidential campaign of 2001 when he became the spokesperson for the Zubr movement. Currently, he serves as spokesperson for the civic movement Free Belarus. Due to his active involvement in the presidential campaign, he was suspended from the Faculty of International Relations at Belarusian State University.
Khin Maung Win
Khin Maung Win became a founding member of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) when it was founded in 1992 in Oslo, Norway, as a shortwave radio station. DVB is a Burmese-run multimedia station broadcasting daily shortwave radio and satellite TV to Burma. It is the only free TV station that millions of Burmese rely on, a major news and information provider for Burmese as well as international audiences. In addition to his main job, which is to manage the organization, Khin Maung Win has produced dozens of radio and television programmes. His current position at DVB is deputy executive director, responsible for organization management, which includes development of broadcast strategy and editorial policy, along with an executive director. DVB has won several international prizes for its professional work and has now emerged as a role model for exile medias worldwide, sharing its experience with fellow exile media.
Ethiopia and Czech Republic
Daniel Messele worked on different posts for People in Need in Ethiopia. Since 2003, People in Need runs development programs in the educational and social sector, and is trying to increase access to potable water in the region. During his stay in Ethiopia, Daniel Messele was mainly engaged in educational and social projects, which were targeted to socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Most activities of PIN take place in the Southern Nations Regions and are making efforts to implement modern teaching techniques in the Ethiopian educational system. Daniel Messele served the organization until he left to study in the Czech Republic in September 2007. He is also a founding member of Shiny Day Social Services Association, a national NGO. He has studied English Language and Literature, History, and Psychology. He is currently a Ph.D. student of Public and Social Policy at Charles University, Prague.
Rodica Pascari was born in 1970 in Moldova. At present, she lives in the small village of Stroenŝi in the north of Transnistria, which is a separatist part of Moldova ruled by an authoritative presidential regime. Rodica has always been actively involved in public life in her community. She headed an opposition group that was campaigning against the corrupt mayor of her municipality. Consequently, she had to endure intimidation and threats. She was even beaten up by unknown assailants and had to be hospitalized after nearly being strangled. She lost her job as a kindergarten director because of her activities and now must work as a porter. Nonetheless, Rodica continues to devote herself to public actions. She is fighting against the injustices of the non-democratic local government and has already won several cases. Her fearless approach provides a positive example to those around her, and she is one of a small number of “little heroes”, which Transnistria so badly needs.
Yoani Sánchez, the independent Cuban journalist responsible for the world renowned blog Generation Y, has been selected as a members of the Rudolf Vrba Jury. However, the Cuban regime has made it impossible for her to leave Cuba by denying her the exit visa needed to attend the festival. Yoani Sánchez will only be able to participate in One World as a virtual member of the jury, through her articles and interviews.
On the other side of the camera
My relationship with the movies was always from the seats, in a dimly lit room where I listened to the sound of an old projector. This stayed the same until I started to live my own movie, a type of thriller with both pursuers and pursued, where it was my turn to escape and to hide. The film is set, basically, in the virtual world, which makes the character’s unreal or semi-fantastic nature seem even more cinematic. The cause for this sudden change from spectator to protagonist, has been my blog Generation Y, located in the extensive space of the internet, which is so rarely dealt with in celluloid. One day I woke up with the desire to write the true script of my days and not the rose colored comedy that was on display in the official newspapers. And so I stopped seeing the movies and started living them.
In time, new actors appeared on the scene and the dramatic line defined itself as an intense search for freedom of expression. Each post that I managed to publish proved to be a short film - in barely three hundred words – made up of a pile of daily life stories that the official media seemed to ignore. I became deft with my eye, since I did not have a camera. It was unnecessary to create fantastic creatures in the style of Spielberg, because reality had already surpassed the limits of the imagination. Never before had I felt the giddiness of the movie director, meanwhile I was finding from my viewfinder-blog just how many anecdotes and experiences were waiting to be told.
Two years after embarking upon the most reckless adventure of my life, I have my doubts if I will be able to lower the curtain and to leave the movies some day. The long film that we have been living for several decades in Cuba seems far from the moment where the credits start rolling and the screen fades to black. Nevertheless, the viewers are no longer so interested in the endless reels that the authorized projectionists are showing them. On the contrary, they seem captivated by the vision of those who are taking a camera, a blog or even a blank page and recording the questions, the frustrations or the joys of the citizens.