The juries of the 19th annual One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival granted seven awards to films that were screened in Prague from 6 to 15 March.
The Best Film award went to Nowhere to Hide by director Zaradasht Ahmed (Norway, Sweden | 2016 | 85 min.), in which a male nurse in Iraq films his daily life scarred by war. Later he must flee Islamic State and himself becomes the protagonist of the story. The director came to Prague to present his film personally.
"Thanks to the courage of its protagonist and the dedication of its filmmaker who doesn't take no for an answer, this best film award not only allowed us to witness the life of a family man and a proud professional in circumstances that none of us wishes to experience, but also gave us unique access to a country torn apart," the jury said about its decision.
The Best Director award went to Jiu-liang Wang for Plastic China (China | 2016 | 82 min.). It presents life in a Chinese family business for plastic recycling, where adults as well as children must eke out a living among the waste imported from Europe.
"The awarded director proved some incredible talent in finding an intimate, complex and yet respectful way to document the harsh reality of social classes faced with the aftermath of an economic globalisation that has bittersweet consequences," the jury said. "For many of us, recycling simply means preserving nature. For many others, it is a way of surviving that might affect your health and that of your children."
The Václav Havel Jury awards films that make an extraordinary contribution to the defence of human rights.
The award for a film making an extraordinary contribution to the defence of human rights went to Chasing Asylum by Australian director Eva Orner (Australia, USA | 2016 | 96 min.). The film exposes the inhumane conditions in detention camps on islands in the Pacific where Australia holds asylum seekers.
"This is an original and shocking film that exposes the international community's moral, legal and political failure to tackle one of the most pressing humanitarian issues that the world faces today: the flow of refugees fleeing persecution, conflict and many other perils at home," the jury said in its decision. "Specifically, Chasing Asylum portrays the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of the Australian government's policy of shipping asylum seekers and migrants to offshore prison camps, to be held indefinitely as punishment for seeking refuge in Australia."
Special Mention by the Václav Havel Jury to director Duro Gavran for his film News from Laayoune (Croatia | 2016 | 50 min.).
"The film depicts the Sahrawi nonviolent struggle for justice," the jury said in a statement. "While Sahrawis under occupation in the occupied territory face multiple human rights violations, Sahrawi refugees languish in the middle of the Sahara Desert awaiting a long-promised referendum on self-determination, but the UN Security Council has so far failed to implement the vote. With this special mention we urge the international community to act."
The Czech Competition Jury this year for the first time selected the best film from among Czech documentary productions and co-productions. One World created this new jury in order to support the presentation of Czech documentary films at foreign festivals.