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Maciej Nowicki and Konrad Wirkowski about the ongoing WATCH DOCS 2012

Makers of this year’s WATCH DOCS films especially often point their cameras to the suffering but also to those who help the suffering or… oppress them.

Ilian Metev doesn’t show patients in the Sofia’s last ambulance; Régis Sauder turns his camera away from inmates treated at the Baumette prison’s psychiatric ward in Marseilles, France. Instead, we will watch, the ambulance crew and the prison team of psychiatrists. And even if these documentaries are portrayals of nearly a heroic effort and empathy, the Sauder’s film strikes quite a different note. It is a bitter self-reflection of people creating, in good faith, such a flawed system.

“The law in these parts” takes a much harsher look on a similar subject, that is in one way or another important for all of us, living here and now, probably not in the best of the possible worlds. The film is a cinematic account of the story about the legal regime created by Israelis for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, told by its very creators – prominent Israeli military jurists.

The 12th IFF WATCH DOCS Marek Nowicki Prize has been awarded to Jafar Panahi, this year’s laureate of the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament. The review of Panahi’s films is a sign of the increasing number of works of fiction included in the current Festival’s agenda.

A non-obvious yet very attractive choice for viewers is this year’s theme of our permanent repertoire section on the language of the audio-visual propaganda. The Bartosz Żurawiecki’s review “Ladies to the Left, Gentlemen to the Right” offers a short tour around the cinema, mainly the Hollywood-style cinema, as a key preserver but also subverter of traditional gender patterns.

After a gap of several years, short documentaries are back to WATCH DOCS, this time for good. The reviewed Watch Shorts section features experimental films and creative documentaries.

This year’s thematic retrospectives will portray perpetrators of the major crimes against humanity (“Portrait of a Tormentor”) and explore the dangers related to creations of the image of otherness in culture, specifically in film culture (“Framing the Other”).

Thanks to the support received from the Polish Filmmakers Association, the founder of the WATCH DOCS award, this year we could invite three eminent artists to conduct the Festival’s master workshops in creative documentary (Wiktor Kossakowski), experimental documentary (Jean-Gabriel Périot) and human rights documentary (Klaartje Quirijns).

Join us at the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film. This year, the Festival takes place simultaneously in Warsaw and Lublin with films being accessible via the kinoplex.pl web service. In 2013, the festival films will be screened all over Poland as part of another edition of the WATCH DOCS Travelling Festival.

Maciej Nowicki
Festival Director

Konrad Wirkowski
Programming Director


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