A Syrian Love Story takes home the top prize from the One World Festival
- Incorruptible and Out of Fashion were also among the winners
The Best Film Award at the 18th edition of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival held in Prague (read the news) this year, which focused on the topic of migration, was won by British director Sean McAllister for his film A Syrian Love Story [+see also:
film profile]. “The jury was impressed by the radical approach the director has chosen in the storytelling and by the braveness of the protagonists, who allow the audience to experience an intimate story bringing out the human factor and an honest picture of a family in crisis amidst the larger political one,” read the grand jury statement. Chinese director Zhao Liang netted the Best Director Award for Behemoth [+see also:
film profile], selected for the main competition. The jury justified its choice by stating, “Zhao Liang is a director who manages with artistic precision and outstanding imagery to paint a loud and clear statement against the violations caused by greed and illusion… He is able to creatively craft a complex and beautiful, yet devastating, image.”
The jury named after Czech president Václav Havel was on the lookout for a film that could make a significant contribution to the defence of human rights in the Right to Know competition, and they found exactly those qualities in Incorruptible. “The documentary shows the importance of citizen participation in carrying out successful democratic transitions, as well as the necessity for the international community to support the rights of citizens to decide their own future. It shows that there is a way to effectively express disagreement with political leaders corrupted by the exercise of long-lasting power, accustomed to mass manipulation, and ruling without any control mechanisms or transparency. Incorruptible shows that the people should always be aware of their own strength, whether in developing or highly developed societies,” explained the jury as the award was handed to director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. A Special Mention was granted to Nanfu Wang for Hooligan Sparrow, in which she examines the activities of Chinese activist Ye Haiyan, who goes by the titular nickname.
The Czech Radio Jury Award for the creative use of sound and music in a documentary film was bestowed upon Johanna Schwartz’s doc about Northern Mali musicians after Islamist rebels banned music and singing in the country, They Will Have to Kill Us First, while the student jury picked the Estonian film Out of Fashion by Jaak Kilmi and Lennart Laberenz, as the movie made students “reflect upon overproduction, consumerism and the wasting of the world’s resources in the fashion industry”. The audience got the chance to cast its vote for the AVAST Foundation Audience Award, which went to Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami for her docupic Sonita [+see also:
film profile], about the 16-year-old Afghan rapper of the same name. The second most popular title with the audience was Helena Třestíková’s Mallory, which won the Best Film Award in Karlovy Vary’s documentary competition last year.
Here is the complete list of award winners:
Václav Havel Jury Award
Incorruptible - Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Václav Havel Jury Special Mention
Hooligan Sparrow – Nanfu Wang
Czech Radio Jury Award
They Will Have to Kill Us First – Johanna Schwartz
Student Jury Award
Out of Fashion – Jaak Kilmi and Lennart Laberenz
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