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.
The Czech Competition Jury Award went to Miroslav Janek's Normal Autistic Film (Czech Republic | 2016 | 88 min.). The documentary shows the rich inner lives of children with autism and the ways they cope with the world around them. In February this year the film also won the Czech Lion Award and the Czech Film Critics Award.
"This is an exquisitely crafted and masterfully edited film with a wonderful and uplifting story about the inner lives of five exceptional children, whose hidden worlds are revealed to us in a beautiful way," the jury said.
The Czech Competition Jury gave Special Mention to Robert Kirchhoff's documentary A Hole in the Head (Czech Republic, Slovakia | 2016 | 88 min.). The film presents rare testimony about the Roma Holocaust.
"This is a powerful and poetic film that reminds us that we still don't know everything about the Holocaust," the jury said. "The director and his crew create a visual landscape for an important testimony of the Roma people and acknowledge them among the forgotten victims of the Second World War."
The student jury chooses the best film from a selection of films for students.
The Student Jury Award went to Death by Design by director Sue Williams (USA | 2016 | 73 min.).
"We decided to award the film mainly because the topic touches all of us, a generation surrounded by electronic devices," the jury said in its statement. "We believe that the public is not knowledgeable enough about the risks of production of consumer electronics and that raising awareness about environmental pollution is very important. We appreciate that the film also showed positive examples of responsible manufacturing and gently communicated the message that when it comes to the Earth's problems we are all in it together."
Vigorous 104-year-old blogger Dagny Carlsson from Sweden enchanted audiences at the 19th annual One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. The documentary about her active experience of extreme old age Life Begins at 100 won this year's AVAST Foundation Audience Award. The film easily held onto first place throughout the entire festival. Its final score in the voting was 1.22.