The 18th Verzió is coming soon online and in cinemas 

The Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will go live for audiences, in cinemas and online, 9–21 November. The organizers of the 18th Verzió Festival have once again selected nearly sixty new films, representing the hottest international and Hungarian human rights documentaries, of which the majority will have their Hungarian premiere at the festival. The program will be available online and in cinemas nationwide, with screenings in Budapest and five other Hungarian cities. This year’s opening film, the HBO documentary Divas, directed by Máté Kőrösi, gives insight into the lives of three twenty-year-old girls from Budapest.

The Verzió Film Festival has endeavored for the last 18 years to display a variety of the events happening today, to show personal stories and provide its audience with an imprint of the world. No matter the circumstances, documentary filmmakers have tirelessly worked on the frontlines, gathering evidence of changes and challenges, and capturing the current state of the world. Films, discussions and round table programs all encourage audiences to face the multilayered reality they live in. Oksana Sarkisova, the Verzió Festival Director, summarized this message as follows: We have chosen “Layers of Reality” as this year’s Verzió motto. We truly believe that all of the approaches and experiences conveyed by different documentaries should help us comprehend as much as possible about the world around us. Even though we consume a great deal of news every day, we are barely impacted by it. The films selected this year will help us delve into our selected topics and discover their complexity through personal stories. 

Complying with all pandemic restrictions and recommendations, this year’s film festival will return to the cinemas; the festival program will be available in three cinemas in Budapest, and in cooperation with Open Spaces, in cinemas in Debrecen, Szombathely, Pécs, Szeged and Kecskemét. Owing to Verzió’s experience and success online last year, the program — including films, recorded discussions and round table programs — will be online the week of 15-21 November

This year’s opening film, Divas, Máté Kőrösi’s debut documentary, will have its Hungarian premiere at Verzió, in Trafó, 9 November. The director, freshly graduated from the Documentary Film Department of the University of Theatre and Film Arts, developed his diploma film into a documentary, in co-production with Makabor Studio and HBO Europe. The film focuses on Szani, Tina and Emese, or “the Divas”, as they call themselves. Three twenty-year-old girls who talk about make-up, clothes and profile pictures for hours. Despite these superficial topics, however, they all strive to leave behind their troubled pasts, to graduate from high school and to start their adult lives. This is when Máté, the young director, comes into picture. He follows them with his camera until their graduation, hoping to find out what is hidden behind the perfect make-up, only to realize it is time he grew up as well.

During the 18th Verzió, along with the films shown in the International, Student & Debut Film, and Hungarian Competition, audiences can explore the layers of reality emerging through various topics. This year, films in the Anthropocene section demonstrate the human impact on the environment, while the Parrhesia: The Moment of Truth section highlights stories of young journalists, artists, teenagers and activists fighting tooth and nail for a future in countries where the (im)possibility of fighting against power or authoritarian regimes unveils a different layer of reality. Films included in Dive into the Mind section place an emphasis on mental health, while the works in Viewfinder tell stories about the power of images and the camera, as well as the capacity of storytelling. 

The detailed festival program will be available mid-October.