Verzio Festival Crossroards: ONE WORLD ROMANIA
One World Romania has reached its 5th edition. It’s the only documentary festival in Bucharest and the only one dedicated to human rights in Romania.
The festival is non-competitive; it's strength is in the debates surrounding the films and the dialogue we establish through film with different communities. First, it was an offspring of the One World in Prague, but gradually the concept, selection and organization became autonomous.
In 2011, One World Romania brought to Bucharest fifty films, which were screened in four cinemas and accompanied by eleven other events, debates and exhibitions set in alternative locations. During the year, we take our films On Tour, throughout Romania. We are constantly trying to integrate documentaries into the educational process.
We at One World Romania like to partner with other festivals with which we share something: be it the love for documentary or the belief that a good film is more effective than many conferences. It is the case with Verzio.
We are happy to bring to Budapest three films from our 2012 selection and a recent Romanian long awaited release. Planet Kirsan depicts in a subtle, non-judgmental way, an eerie republic where chess is the main ideology imposed by its strong-handed leader. It has been showing in our section entitled “Between fear and freedom”. 108 takes us to Paraguay, in a very emotional family investigation that unveils – in the country’s hidden past – its crimes against homosexuals. The film is relevant for the section we named “Washing our dirty laundry”. The Redemption of General Butt Naked gives another amazing angle on how to deal with the traumas of the past. In this superbly shot, thought-provoking exam of justice and forgiveness, we follow a charismatic general who killed about 10,000 people himself. Finally, our Romanian proposal – Turn Off the Lights – contrary to its title, throws light on the after-prison life of four very young men. A tender, intimate portrait of a youth in disarray.
All these four films show that – seen by a director behind the camera – reality becomes meaningful and, in an elusive way, more spectacular than fiction. Enjoy this sample cocktail from One World Romania and, generally speaking, keep your eyes on Verzio.
6th edition of ONE WORLD ROMANIA is scheduled for March 12th-17th, 2013
Unless indicated otherwise, films are screened in original language with English and Hungarian subtitles.
Renate Costa / Spain / 2010 / 95 min / Spanish
Dark family secrets explored by a filmmaker tracing her gay uncle's fate under the Paraguayan dictatorship.
You won't often come across a street number 108 in Paraguay. The first blacklist of homosexuals from the days of dictator Alfred Stroessner included 108 names, and the number has remained a derogatory term up to the present day. On the list was Rodolfo, filmmaker Renate Costa's uncle, who was later found dead in his room. The death was surrounded with a great deal of secrecy in the family, and Costa's father still seems uncomfortable about the whole affair. Rodolfo was the black sheep, the one who wanted to be a dancer rather than a blacksmith like his brothers. To find out just who her artistic uncle was, Costa visits his old friends, uncovers the notorious lists in the archives, listens to tales of persecution and torture, and attempts to reestablish contact with her father. Witnesses and clues gradually reveal Rodolfo's true identity as a persecuted gay man and the terrifying "108" homosexual blacklists that ruined lives, careers, and families.
producer: Marta Andreu, Susana Benito
editor: Carlos García, Núria Esquerra
camera: Carlos Vásquez
sound: Amanda Villavieja
music: Berta Rojas
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Magdalena Pięta / Poland / 2010 / 50 min / Russian
Chess-fever in Kalmykia.
A fascinating journey to the core of an authoritarian government.
Autocratic leaders have a tendency to imprint their own passions on their subjects, but the former president of the Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a former chess champion and the head of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), has taken the phenomenon to a completely new level. He has made chess mandatory in schools and founded a private school for exceptionally gifted players. "The king is the most important piece," – chant generations of Kalmyk children about to learn the most important rule of chess, but also of political life in their country. Elected president of The Republic of Kalmykia within the Russian Federation in 1993 and staying in office through 2010, Ilyumzhinov required every student to study chess in the first three grades, as part of a wider plan to turn Kalmykia into a future world capital of chess. The game is expected to change everything. As the game clock is set, a fascinating journey into the workings of an authoritarian government begins.
producer: Krzysztof Kopczyński
editor: Mateusz Romaszkan
camera: Michał Popiel-Machnicki
sound: Agnieszka Janowska
music: Anna Widermanska
tel.: +48 228 284 810
The Redemption of General Butt Naked
Eric Strauss, Daniele Anastasion / USA / 2011 / 85 min / English
Once he went into battle naked with his army of child soldiers;
now a Liberian general reinvents himself as a Christian evangelist.
The captivating transformation of a war criminal into a "man of faith."
Best US Documentary, Sundance 2011
The Redemption of General Butt Naked follows Joshua Milton Blahyi, also known as General Butt Naked – a brutal Liberian warlord who once believed he was blessed with supernatural powers that enabled him to dodge bullets. He went into battle naked with his army of child soldiers, ruthlessly delivering death and destruction. Today, Blahyi has renounced his violent past and reinvented himself as a Christian evangelist; he travels the nation of Liberia as a preacher, seeking out those he once victimized in search of an uncertain forgiveness. Is it possible to forgive such crimes? Filmmakers Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion track his often troubling path up-close, finding both the genuine and the disconcerting in Blahyi's efforts, raising questions about the limits of faith and forgiveness in the absence of justice. A compelling portrait of an extraordinarily complex personal odyssey, a film that explores both the power and the limitations of faith and forgiveness.
producer: Daniele Anastasion, Eric Strauess
editor: Jeremy Siefer
camera: Ryan Lobo
sound: Jacques Boulanger
music: Justin Melland
tel.: + 1 718 797 0581
Turn Off the Lights
Ivana Mladenović / Romania / 2012 / 77 min / Romanian
Love, money and abuse. Three Roma ex-cons trying to find their way in the outside world.
Tribeca Film Festival 2012
After years behind bars, three young Roma men are released from prison. Bidding an emotional farewell to their fellow inmates, they exit to find a variety of welcomes – Giani Versace, the beloved son of a large Roma family, is greeted by a boisterous welcoming committee, while Chilibar Papan meets an empty street with a hurt and lonely glare. The film's third character, Alexandru Mititelu, is released after serving four years for killing his girlfriend at the age of 14. Alex addresses his past with a disturbingly blasé attitude toward violence, women, and guilt. Offering a rare peek into different sub-cultures of Roma communities, the film shows the three ex-cons trying to reconcile the outside world with the gray-shaded areas of morality with which they all struggle. Depicting the cocoon of their former one-room existence in stark contrast to the realities of their outside community, Turn Off the Lights is a portrait of reintegration in a society where indulgence, violence, and excess are a matter of survival.
producer: Cătălin Mitulescu & Daniel Mitulescu
editor: Anca Iliesiu
camera: Luchian Ciobanu & Claudiu Ciprian Popa
sound: Vlad Voinescu
tel.: + 40 21 411 8099