Lenka Kačmárová

Forget exclusive premieres! One World presents an inclusive festival

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were not able to attend a festival despite desperately wanting to? Just imagine visiting a cinema without experiencing the real pleasure of a film screening because you couldn’t hear or see what was happening on the screen. The One World festival believes all people, including those with disabilities, have the right to be integrated into wider society and its activities. This assumption is the baseline of inclusion. The international documentary film festival One World does not aim to be exclusive but inclusive! The 22nd season is being held 5-11 November in cinemas and online.

“An exclusive event is only for a chosen group of people and they really do love to be considered such,” explains Eva Krizkova, Executive Director of the festival. “Viewers who consider a festival premiere a space to shine on the red carpet by showing their social status will probably be disappointed by the One World festival. No red carpets will be present, and the award for the best Slovak or Czech film is going to be presented by homeless people. “

Inclusion means respect for and acceptance of every human being. Last year, when the festival was held online, the organizers received large amounts of positive feedback. The reason was that people who would not be able to attend under “normal” circumstances were able to, since they could watch the films online and in accordance with their daily schedules. This includes mainly parents of young children, people with disabilities and those not living in Bratislava.

“We have started to think about the possibilities of making the festival available to everyone, “ Eva Krizkova says. With support of the Bratislava City Foundation, the organizers decided to realize a project called One World Without Barriers. It is based on encounters and interviews with representatives of communities such as the visually impaired (Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union); the hearing impaired (the civic association Myslim – the cultural centre for the hearing impaired); the elderly (the civic association Zrejme); the homeless (the civic associations Vagus and Proti prudu); parents of young children; foreigners (the civic association Mareena); and other potential viewers. The project was also joined by other institutions such as the Kino Lumiere cinema, the city of Bratislava and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. Systematic strategies to make every audiovisual event accessible are being developed which means the focus is not only on the One World festival.

The effort to remove all barriers in shops, every form of transport and in the streets is important these days. The same should apply to cultural institutions where no group of people should find themselves marginalized. This is why an expert panel on accessible audiovisual events is going to be held during the festival. The panel is going to feature discussions with representatives of our cultural and audiovisual institutions and experts on the topic of inclusion within Europe. “A lot is at stake,” Eva Krizkova says. “Slovak films are struggling for every viewer and are losing viewers daily as a result of film inaccessibility.”

All 11 films will be ranked in the competition Slovakia and the Czech Republic for Human Rights, and the films will be accessible to viewers with visual or hearing impairment as well. Some will be screened at the Kino Lumiere cinema and some online. The organizers plan to make at least one screening accessible to all of the groups mentioned above.

Cinemas, theatres and other cultural venues are usually inaccessible to homeless people. The One World festival programme therefore includes a special preview screening of the film Čiary (eng. Lines) directed by Barbora Sliepkova. The filmmakers themselves will attend the preview screening on the premises of the civic association Vagus. Helping the homeless is not only about food and clothes. Real help means providing them with an opportunity to get back to normal life, which also means cultural events. Homeless people can attend the festival screenings thanks to cooperation with the civic association Proti prudu. Anyone who would like to attend the One World festival programme and can’t do so due to financial reasons is welcome to contact the organizers via email jedensvet@clovekvohrozeni.sk.

Everyone should feel comfortable everywhere and receive the kind of help and support that is needed at that moment. Let’s keep in touch! This is what the international documentary film festival One World asks for in its 22nd season. This is how the festival connects with all viewers without discrimination. The One World festival would also like to share its know-how with other events as well as with conventional cinema screenings.

The One World festival is held under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová, the Mayor of Bratislava Matúš Vallo, and the European Commission. The event is supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. The leading organizer is the non-profit organization People in Need.  You can buy early bird passes now. These are valid for online screenings as well as for live festival screenings. Screenings in Bratislava supplemented by encounters with filmmakers and other special bonuses will take place in the cinemas Kino Lumiere, Artkino za zrkadlom, the Klap cinema of The Film and Television Faculty of The Academy of the Performing Arts in Bratislava, Nova Cvernovka, A4 – Zero Space, and in the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava.