A Human Rights Film Festival kicked-off in Warsaw on Friday night. The headlining film for opening night was a documentary about petitioners in China. Here's more from our Warsaw correspondent.
The 10th annual Watch Docs Human Rights Film Festival kicked-off in Warsaw on Friday night.
[Konrad Wirowski, Programming Director, Watch Docs Festival]:
"The festival began as an educational program created by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and is organized every year around the 10th of December, which is International Human Rights Day. "
A special guest of Watch Docs this year is American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, who will be conducting a master's workshop at the festival. Before the start of the opening film, Wiseman was given an award for lifetime achievement.
[Frederick Wiseman, Award-winning Filmmaker]:
"I think the work the Watch Docs festival is doing in bringing movies about human rights to Poland and raising the issue of the various ways that human rights are violated around the world ... it's an extremely important thing to do and I respect the people that are doing it."
The documentary film chosen for the opening night is called "The Petitioners". It shows the desperate plight of the so-called petitioners in China. These are people whose rights have been violated and who try to register their grievance by petitioning. But often, petitioning leads to further persecution by the authorities.
[Maciej Nowicki, Director, Watch Docs Festival]:
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"This is a very powerful and dramatic film, which delves into an area that is rarely portrayed and that we would not have seen, were it not for this film. It shows people pitted against a highly oppressive system, and centers on the issue of human dignity being trampled by the authorities. It's also a bold presentation, done by somebody from China, of a subject-matter that is uncomfortable for the government."
Tom Ozimek, NTD News, Warsaw, Poland.