24. FDF

    A relevant and diversified insight into the world’s current documentary film production, talks with filmmakers and film workshop.

    Amnesty International Slovenia Best Human Rights Film Award

    The jury consisting of Margje de Koning, Siniša Gačić, Kaja Atanasova presents the Best Human Rights Film Award to Children of the Mist.  

    Children of the Mist  (Nhung dua tre trong suong) 
    By: Ha Le Diem 
    Vietnam, 2021; 90' DCP 
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    Jury statement
    Diem Ha Le impressed us at all levels of the film's narrative with Children of Fog. With an incredibly emotional directing and filming approach, she takes us into the life of a young protagonist with a smartphone in her hand, who lives torn between the modern world and the rural tradition of arranged marriages. The complex theme is treated in a way that does not even need to be understood, as the consequences of depriving an individual right to choose the future are felt through film images. Best of all, not only do we feel the protagonist's inner world, all the characters in the film, even the antagonists are portrayed so sensitively that we can delve into the characters and understand the world in which they face the historical practices of arranged marriages.

    Press conference

    Tuesday, 1 March 2022, at 11 am 
    Simon Popek 
    Cankarjev dom Film Programme Director

    Dark and Bright Images

    We are making progress. Following the year 2020 and rescheduled documentaries, which were screened in June instead of March due to the epidemiological measures, and after the year 2021 when films were screened only online, this year we are adding a hybrid version of the festival. A little here, a little there...

    Not all films will be available in a virtual environment, which is perfectly correct. Let the creators decide, for instance Jonas Mekas (1922–2019) or the heirs of his impressive legacy. Not only do they not allow online screenings, but Mekas' films – part of the retrospective on the centenary of his birth – are only available on film strips, and what is more, they are not available on 35mm film, but on the original 16mm film: as shot by a Lithuanian immigrant in the USA since the late 1940s with a Bolex camera. Sticking to the original medium is not a snobbish move, but a cultural statement. If you want to watch my films, you have to go to the cinema.

    The world in other news is still working flawlessly: Palestinians are no longer harassed by Israelis, citizens living in Western democracies are no longer repressed by their own countries, teenage girls in the Third World are no longer forced to enter into arranged marriages, the threat of nuclear cataclysm is a relic of the Cold War, and stubborn traditionalists have abandoned ancient customs and joined the 21st century. I have just mentioned the five shortlisted films in the competition programme, where the Amnesty International Prize for the best film on human rights is being awarded.

    That doesn't mean the other films – including three Slovenian films this year – only deal with cheerful themes, but it is valuable to present good views on the world, even if the elements of sadness and melancholy can creep in through the back door. Futura has a telling title where young people talk with enthusiasm about the future but are aware of the pitfalls and disappointments of the modern world. Day After... is a film that gleefully profiles Bangladeshi society on an outdated river steamer and portrays the country’s political polarisation. The film Sava speaks with inspiration about our mighty river flowing through our former common state, but at the same time also reveals local phobias. Factory to the Workers represents the first and only example of a successful workers' factory takeover in post-socialist Europe and the inability to compete in impersonal capitalism. And so on... 

    If we had to choose the most positive character of this year's festival, it would probably be the hero of the film Mr Bachmann and His Class, a passionate, dedicated, relaxed, music-inspired film about a teacher from a small German town who teaches young immigrants from the Third World who, with a bit of luck, will stay in the First World. The best films are permeated with refugee stories that seep in unobtrusively and enrich the films’ fabric. One of the great refugee stories belongs to Jonas Mekas who fled from occupied Lithuania with his brother Adolfas during the war, was forced to work in labour camps, and in 1949, after almost eight years, made his way to the New World where, after more than half a century, he became an icon of the struggle for independent culture and creativity and the first defender of a "different film". Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, we have screened countless films on the subject of emigration, but if there is one work that speaks convincingly and with poetic force about memories, childhood, roots, family and about the role of a homesick exile in a foreign land, where for a long time he feels uprooted, snatched away, pulled out, a man who wanted to stay at home, among people he knows and who speak his language, then it is Mekas' masterpiece Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania. Warmly welcome!

    Festival sections

    Human rights films addressing some of the most critical issues of our world, from the rights of underprivileged women, minorities, labour migrants or political asylum seekers, to environmental concerns and religious fundamentalism. The section also serves as an appeal to present-day mass media which tend to neglect numerous important and meaningful stories due to their ostensible lack of newsworthiness. 
    The Best Human Rights Film Award is presented by Amnesty International Slovenia.

    Current, Socio-critical 
    Documentaries in many ways relating to (and complementing) the competition section, but mostly – also because of their larger budget – bringing bigger stories that enjoy more media exposure.

    Myths, Icons, Media 
    In featuring films about innovative individuals, social phenomena, media interests and as yet unexplored stories the section brings to light some of today’s or recent history’s most prominent aspects.

    Intimate and Global Portraits 
    As suggested by the title, these are small-scale, carefully woven stories concerning either an individual or a particular place and time.

    Tribute: Jonas Mekas