6th Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

Verzio 6 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival finished November 8th, 2009. More than 3300 interested viewers joined us in the past week to watch challenging, creative documentaries in Budapest.

The 1500 euro Audience Award went to Anders Østergaard’s Burma VJ-Reporting from a Closed Country. Congratulations!

One of the most popular films this year was the festival opening film, Carmen Meets Borat directed by Mercedes Stalenhoef. Gyula Gazdag’s Hungarian Chronicles attracted the most viewers from the Hungarian film selection. The highest rated Hungarian documentary was Balazs Krasznahorkai’s Women of Omor.

In his opening remarks George Soros emphasized that “While it is important to watch these films, we cannot stand idle in the face of humiliation inflicted on our fellow humans either. I open this festival hoping that the films screened here will help us learn about and understand the real stories and prompt us, as active citizens, to stand up against the violation of human rights.”

We hope that more and more of us will become active citizens in the upcoming years!

The Verzio team wishes to thank to all the staff and supporters who have made our 6th festival possible!

See you next year!
See. Think. Talk. It is your business!


Opening remarks by: George Soros

Opening Film
Mercedes Stalenhoef, The Netherlands, 2008, 85'
Guest: Mercedes Stalenhoef

Important information:
Tickets: 750 HUF
Festival Pass: 4000 HUF if purchased before 3 November / starting from 4 November 4500 HUF / Festival passes are
available in Toldi Cinema / Budapest, V. Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 36–38. Tel.: +36 1 472 0398

Festival venues:
Toldi Cinema: Budapest, V. Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 36–38. Tel.: +36 1 472 0398
Cirko-gejzír Cinema: Budapest, V. Balassi B. u. 15–17. Tel.: +36 1 269 1915

Deciphering tales

“My path is to create a fresh perception of the world. I am deciphering in a new way a world unknown to you,” – these words of the pioneer documentarist Dziga Vertov, published in 1923 in the avant-garde journal Lef, still hold today for filmmakers searching for fresh perspectives to present familiar and overlooked issues alike. For each film its director has to redefine a delicate balance between factography and creativity, objective rendering and personal interpretation, tradition and experiment. The 6th Verzio program features a variety of imaginative ways to handle these tasks. The harsh realities of the North Korean labor camps reworked in a musical (Yodok Stories), the road to capitalism in Poland through an insight into dubious funeral dealings (Necrobusiness), a look at 20th century history through the perspective of military cooks (Cooking History), or a portrait of post-apartheid South Africa as a promenade at the Cape Town waterfront (Sea Point Days) – these are but a few examples of the original, perceptive, and concerned films that make up this year’s program. Two important additional programs extend the contemporary international and Hungarian documentary panorama. Our traditional “Festival Crossroad” section presents a collaborative program entitled “20 years democracy”, on which Verzio cooperated with 4 partner festivals: One World Prague, One World Bratislava, Watch Docs (Warsaw) and DOK Leipzig. As a result of the cooperation, a representative selection of films, reflecting the complex transformations in the region since 1989, became available on-line, the highlights of which will be screened on the movie screens as well. A unique chance to revisit the first wave of de-Stalinization in documentary cinema is offered by a panorama of short Polish films produced in 1956-1959. Branded the “black series,” these films are pioneering critical social documentaries in the context of imposed conventions of socialist realism and strict state censorship. Supplemented by special screenings for high-school students, as well as discussions and debates with the filmmakers open to all, Verzio 6 creates a forum welcoming provocative themes, fresh looks, and ingenious thoughts.

Oksana Sarkisova
program director