The Quest for Justice
This year, one of the most remarkable films in the competition is Cold Case Hammarskjöld, a thriller documentary that won best directing at the Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for the Lux Prize. Investigating the mysterious death of the UN secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjöld, in a plane crash in 1961, Mads Brügger discovers a crime with even further reaching consequences. Another Sundance competitor, Advocate, highlights the work of its protagonist, Lea Tsemel, one of the most famous and most attacked human rights lawyers. She has defended Palestinian feminists, nonviolent demonstrators and armed militants alike while pushing the praxis of a human rights defender to its limits with her tireless quest for justice.
In 2011, setting up a radio station and film studio in their besieged city, Douma, two young Syrians, Saeed and Milad—an artist and a film enthusiast—begin filming the revolution around them, and the aftermath. Taking four years to shoot, Still Recording won the international film critics’ FIPRESCI award in Venice, in 2018. The starting point of the South Korean documentary investigation, Kim-Gun, is a photo taken during the uprising in 1980, which still stirs controversy 35 years later; is the man in the picture a North Korean special agent or a local protester? Crime + Punishment, which won the Special Jury Award at
Sundance, shows a group of New York cops risking their careers to expose the discriminatory and harmful quotas in the city's police department.
In Aboozar Amini’s film, we follow two children and a bus driver as their daily lives weave through the background of Kabul, a city brought to ruin by political and religious powers. Kabul, City in the Wind won the First Appearance Special Jury Award at IDFA in 2018. Director, Dina Naser, spent four years in Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp, filming the everyday life of Amal, a 9-year-old Syrian refugee and her family for Tiny Souls, the winner of this year’s Dokufest Human Rights Award. Based on real testimonies, By the Name of Tania tells the story of a teenage girl forced into prostitution in a gold mining region in Peru.
What happens if medicine becomes a luxury and thousands of doctors have left the country? Tuki Jencquel’s film, Está Todo Bien, chronicles the staggering health care crisis in Venezuela. It received the Best Film Award at One World Film Festival in 2019. Tomislav Žaja’s Neighbors examines the possibilities of reintegration for the former residents of a psychiatric hospital that closed down in Croatia as they try to put their shattered lives back together. This year’s Documenta Madrid awarded the International Competition Jury Prize to Madame, a Swiss film that uses private, family archival footage for the filmmaker and his grandmother to engage in a conversation about gender, sexuality and identity. Love and Empty Words is a Polish documentary about a husband caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s, all on his own. How can one person face oblivion after decades of matrimony?
Seven of the Human Rights Competition filmmakers will be present in Budapest:
● Saeed Al Batal, director of Still Recording,
● Dina Naser, director of Tiny Souls,
● Philippe Bellaïche, co-director of Advocate,
● Małgorzata Imielska, director of Love and Empty Words,
● Tomislav Žaja, director of Neighbors,
● Sang-woo Kang, director of Kim-Gun,
● Tuki Jencquel, director of Está Todo Bien.
The Student Jury chooses the best of the 12 documentaries in the Human Rights Competition, awarding it the Best Human Rights Documentary.
The closing ceremony of the 16 th VERZIO Film Festival takes place on Saturday evening, November 16, at Toldi Cinema. Award-winning documentaries will be rescreened on Sunday, November 17, in the afternoon.
The Human Rights Competition program is supported by the UNHCR, the Goethe Institute, the Korean Cultural Center, the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Denmark and the Embassy of Switzerland.
16th VERZIO HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
Budapest – November 12–17
Debrecen, Kecskemét, Pécs, Szeged, Szombathely – November 21–24
Sharpen your Perspective
The 16th Verzio Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is supported by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.