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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » November 28, 2013
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Filmmakers Focus on Human Rights
November 28, 2013   
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This year’s Watch Docs, an annual international film festival focusing on documentaries about human rights issues, opens Dec. 6 in Warsaw.

A wide selection of documentaries from around the world will be screened at the seven-day festival, which will also include meetings with filmmakers, debates with human rights experts, masterclasses conducted by accomplished documentary directors, and workshops with movie industry insiders.

Watch Docs is now in its 13th year. The highlights of the upcoming event will include a retrospective of work by Maria Ramos, a Brazilian documentary director whose work has won awards at festivals around the world. Audiences will see six documentaries by Ramos, including Hill of Pleasures, her latest film about attempts by the Brazilian authorities to regain control of the favelas, the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Ramos will be among the festival guests and will conduct one of the masterclasses.

Competing for the main Watch Docs prize will be over a dozen documentaries, including Our Nixon, a film compiled exclusively from archival, amateur footage shot by close associates of U.S. President Richard Nixon who were embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Warsaw audiences will also see No Burqas Behind Bars, a documentary about Afghan women who, ironically, feel free only after they are put in jail. Other entries include Salma by Kim Longonotto, the story of a Muslim woman who after 25 years in confinement uses poetry to work her way to freedom. The film was previously shown at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals, where it attracted much attention.

The Warsaw festival’s special sections include “I Want to See,” a selection of documentaries about events, people and topics which are of the biggest concern to human rights activists. For example, viewers will see Inequality for All, a documentary that studies the relation between the degree of democracy and economic inequality within society.

A section entitled “The Discreet Charm of Propaganda” will explore how films are used as indoctrination tools, while in the “New Polish Films” section, Watch Docs audiences will see some of the best documentaries on social issues made in Poland over the past year. There will also be a section with short films.

This year Watch Docs features a section organized jointly with the One World film festival in Prague, which is the world’s largest film festival focusing on human rights.

Watch Docs films will be screened at the Muranów movie theater, the Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art (Kino.Lab theater), and the Ethnographic Museum (Antropos theater). Admission to all screenings and accompanying events is free.

Watch Docs closes in Warsaw Dec. 12. Next year the festival will go on a tour taking in over 30 Polish cities.
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