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Most of the Festival events will take place within four topic blocks or the Festival “paths”. The first three deal with the human rights and freedoms issues that arise during the period of transition from authoritarian regimes to democracy. Five additional documentaries will be shown outside the blocks.


Films: A Cry From The Grave; The Punishment; Babitsky’s War; Why Did They Kill Their Neighbors?; Good Kurds, Bad Kurds 

Discussion: Combating the crimes of politicians (Humanitarian intervention or international criminal courts?). Saturday, 15 December, 15:40 (following the screening of “Good Kurds, Bad Kurds”), KINO LAB Theater

Host: Prof. Andrzej Rzepliński

Participants: Kevin McKiernan, director of the film Good Kurds, Bad Kurds

Marek Antoni Nowicki, International Ombudsperson in Kosovo

Joanna Weschler, Human Rights Watch

Tatiana Kasatkina, International “Memorial” Association

Josef Pazderka, People in Need Foundation in Prague


Film: Long Night’s Journey into Day

Discussion: Bringing the past regimes to justice (transitional justice), Saturday, 15 December, 19:05 (following the screening of Long Night’s Journey into Day), KINO LAB Theater

Participants: Prof. Wiktor Osiatyński

Prof. Andrzej Paczkowski

Krzysztof Kozłowski, Tygodnik Powszechny


Films: The Diplomat; Compassion In Exile: The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama; The Making Of The Revolution

Discussion: No-violence road to democracy – techniques of action, Sunday, 16 December, 13:52 (following the screening of The Making of the Revolution), KINO LAB Theater

Host: Marek Nowicki, President of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Participants: Ryszard Bilski, Rzeczpospolita

Dr Zuzana Fialová, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Adam Kozieł, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights


Films: School Prayer. A Community At War; The Front; Urban: Yes Or No

Discussion: Freedom of speech, conscience and religion – where are the limits? Sunday, 16 December, 19:42 (following the screening of Urban: Yes Or No), KINO LAB Theater

Host: Marek Nowicki, President of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Participants: Prof. Ewa Łętowska

Aleksander Chećko, Polityka

Agnieszka Rybczyńska, Ph.D., Maria Curie-Skłodowska University

in Lublin
A Cry From The Grave

Directed by Leslie Woodhead

United Kingdom 1999

104 min.

Path I 

Screenings – Saturday, 15 December 2001, 10:00, KINO LAB Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 16:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

The film tells about Europe’s largest ethnic purge since World War II, that is the 1995 events in Srebrenica. Shown in chronological order, the events are summarized in a detailed account. Witness statements and a pronouncement of The Hague Tribunal prosecutor have been recorded. The film also includes unique footage shot by the Bosnia Serbs army and by soldiers of the UN forces. The documentary provides the opportunity to discuss responsibility of the UNPROFOR commanders, who failed to protect the Muslim population from mass slaughter within the UN Safe Area.

The film is convincing to the extent that its fragments were screened during the trial of General Radoslav Krstic before the Hague Tribunal. 

The Punishment

Directed by Goran Rebic

Austria 1999 

91 min.

Path I

Screening – Sunday, 16 December 2001, 18:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

A documentary on the NATO air raids in Belgrade. The cameras went to work immediately after the first raids in March 1999. Voicing their opinions in the film are the people of Belgrade representing a whole range of social groups from intellectuals and students to soldiers and taxi drivers. The documentary analyzes their attitudes towards the West and democracy, and also towards the dictatorship under which they live. The recorded pronouncements reveal an acute value crisis, lack of conceptions for the future, fear, sense of harm, and disagreement to collective responsibility.

The controversial documentary is still another voice in the discussion about the sense of humanitarian armed intervention.

Babitsky’s War

Directed by Paul Yule

United Kingdom 2000 

65 min.

Path I

Screening: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 12:00, KINO LAB Theater

The film shows the story of Andrei Babitsky, the Russian journalist missing from Chechnya in December 2000. He had been reporting on the war in Chechnya for Radio Liberty, from the city of Grozny under siege among other localities, informing about the raids of civilian objects and violations of human rights. The film uses original footage shot by Babitsky and his friends.

Participants of the panel discussion will include Festival guests from the Moscow “Memorial” and the Czech People in Need Foundation, which provides humanitarian relief to Chechnya.

Why Did They Kill Their Neighbors?

Directed by Kumiko Igarashi

Japan 1998

49 min.

Path I

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 13:20, KINO LAB Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 20:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

The film shows the role of a popular radio channel in the 1994 civil war in Rwanda: manipulation of information and instigation to massacre. Brought to the foreground has been the story of one of many inter-tribal families. The central character is a young man forced by his neighbors to murder his sister’s children. Of the 130 thousand Hutu people who had been charged with war crimes, he was among the few who admitted their participation in the mass slaughter. Three years later, he was released and returned to his home village.

The film, which makes a mention of a court established ad hoc in Arusha (Tanzania) to prosecute crimes committed during the Rwanda conflict, may provide the opportunity for discussion on a permanent International Criminal Court.

Good Kurds, Bad Kurds

Directed by Kevin McKiernan

USA 2000

79 min.

Path I

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 14:20, KINO LAB Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 14:15, LABORATORIUM Theater

The film provides a discerning analysis of the American policy on the ethnic purge campaign against the Kurd minority in south-eastern Turkey. It also accuses the media: their keeping silent helped to preserve the policy of violence in the region. The shooting for the film took nine years; it was shot in Turkey and in Washington, DC, where a Kurd activist solicited for American media interest in the situation. Among the cameramen involved in the project, there was the three times’ winner of the Academy Award Haskel Wexler.

Long Night’s Journey into Day

Directed by Deborah Hoffmann and Frances Reid

USA 2000

90 min.

Path II

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 17:30, KINO LAB Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 12:15, LABORATORIUM Theater

The film tells about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – the South-African attempt at coping with the problem of so-called transitional justice, that is responsibility for authoritarian regimes. The issue of this kind of responsibility arises in each and every instance of transition to democracy. The documentary summarized four different cases of racial killing examined by the Commission. Testifying are the victims’ families, experts, and witnesses. Among those shown in the film there is Chairman of the Commission Desmont Tutu.

This is the opportunity for the Festival audience to compare one of the world’s most interesting political experiments of the 1990s – the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – with Central-European experiences of lustration.

The Diplomat

Directed by Tom Zubrycki

Australia 2000

82 min.

Path III

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 13:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 10:00, KINO LAB Theater

The hero is José Ramos Horta, the Nobel Prize peace award winner, who had for 24 years struggled for independence of East Timor. The documentary shows first and foremost Horta’s diplomatic efforts – his meetings with politicians and UN officials. The shooting took over 20 months; it started with before the fall of President Suharto and went on even during the dramatic events following the referendum that gave freedom to Timor. Accompanying Horta with a camera over those months, the director Tom Zubrycki provided an account of effective political lobbying.

Compassion in Exile: The Story of the 14th Dalai Lama

Directed by Mickey Lemle

USA 1992

51 min.

Path III

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 15:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 11:40, KINO LAB Theater

The film portrait of the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibetans, also offers a specific insight in the modern history and current situation of his country. Residing in Dharamsala in India, faithful to the principles of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama struggles for the rights and dignity of his countrymen never resorting to violence. The Nobel Prize peace award winner and one of the world’s most respected moral authorities is also a famous human rights defender.

The China policy in Tibet, characterized by common and regular violations of fundamental human rights and by brutal devastation of Tibetan culture, is called the “final solution” (Endlosung) by some historians. 

The Making of the Revolution

Directed by Katarina Rejger and Eric van den Broek

Netherlands 2001

52 min.

Path III

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 16:30, LABORATORIUM Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 13:00, KINO LAB Theater

The film tells about the student movement Otpor! [Resistance], which led the peaceful revolution following the presidential elections forged by Slobodan Milosevic. The documentary was shot with semi-professional equipment, showing the organization’s activity in close-up. For example, the film shows a training session preparing the students to withstand police interrogation, as well as a radio discussion with the young oppositionists telling the people that fear can be overcome, even after over a dozen years of dictatorship.

School Prayer. A Community at War

Directed by Slawomir Grűnberg

USA 1999 

50 min.

Path IV

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 12:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 16:00, KINO LAB Theater

In a provincial US town, the mother of six sues the local school authorities, demanding that joint prayer and Bible lessons be removed from public schools. She is assisted by a lawyer from one of America’s biggest human rights and liberties organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union. The entire local community unites against the woman, standing up in defense of the long tradition of religion in schools. Both parties to the conflict quote freedom of religion and one and the same United States Constitution.

The Front

Directed by Martin Ritt

USA 1976

94 min.

Feature film

Path IV

Screenings: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 21:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 17:00, KINO LAB Theater

The only feature film shown at the Festival is a lighter production, an exception in terms of its not too serious tone. The derisive picture of the days of McCarthyism in America brings to the minds of the Polish and East-European audience a specific fragment of United States history, not too well-known locally and characterized by strict intervention of censorship in the whole of cultural life. Woody Allen is Howard Prince, a cashier whose old college friend is the script-book author Alfred Miller. Miller’s name is on the black list. Therefore, he asks Howard to sell scripts to TV studios under his own name in return for a proportion of the profit.

Urban: Yes Or No

Directed by Ryszard Bugajski

Poland 1997

42 min.

Path IV

Screening: Sunday, 16 December 2001, 19:00, KINA LAB Theater

Ryszard Bugajski’s report on the scandalizing weekly “Nie” [No] published by Jerzy Urban strives to answer the question about the limits of freedom of speech in democratic society.

Jerzy Urban, the Government Spokesman in the 1980s, was seen in Poland as the symbol of the authorities’ information monopoly and of the last stages of the communist propaganda. Thus protection of Urban’s freedom to express opinions has a specific paradoxical after-taste; however, it can also be seen as proof of a serious approach to fundamental individual rights.

The Chair

Directed by Robert Drew

USA 1962

58 min.

Screenings: Friday, 14 December 2001, KINO LAB Theater (closed screening)

Sunday, 16 December 2001, 11:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

A classical documentary, shown at this year’s Cracow Film Festival within their series "Top Ten Documentaries in Cinema History”. It was produced by the authors of so-called "cinema verite", the famous Drew Associates. The production took two years and involved simultaneous work of five TV crews. The film got the Eurovision Grand Prix at the Cannes festival in 1963.

Minute after minute, the film shows the struggle of lawyer Louis Nizer for reprieve of Paul Crump who had been sentenced to death. It was in fact a struggle for three fundamental rights: the right to life, the right to a fair trial, and freedom from discrimination.

The Thin Blue Line

Directed by Errol Morris

USA 1988 

101 min.

Screening: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 21.00, KINO LAB Theater

The documentary by Errol Morris contributed to acquittal of its hero Randall Dale Adams, charged with the killing of a Dallas policeman. Morris originally came to Texas to produce a film on a forensic psychiatry expert notorious for his opinions to the defendants’ disadvantage, often resulting in their death sentences. Doctor James Grigson (known as "Dr. Death") also participated in the proceedings against Adams; this is how the director learned about the case and became interested in it. The outcome is a formally untypical and deeply moving film about court injustice.

Paragraph 175

Directed by Rob Epstain and Jeffrey Friedman

USA 1999 

81 min.

Screening: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 17:45, LABORATORIUM Theater

Paragraph 175 was a criminal law provision of the Third Reich targeted against homosexuals. In the film, victims of persecution under Paragraph 175 tell their prison and concentration camp stories. Homosexuals have never been officially recognized as victims of Nazism; they were not granted the right to damages; and they are also the least-known of the groups against which the Nazi terror had been targeted.

The film deals with the issue of discrimination of minority groups – one that can hardly be left out at the Festival.

Women in the Sun

Directed by Subhi Zobaidi 

Palestine 1998 

57 min.

Screening: Saturday, 15 December 2001, 19:30, LABORATORIUM Theater

The director Subhi Zobaidi lives and works in a refugee camp in Ramallah. The film is a recording of accounts of Palestinian women – the victims of violence and those who oppose violence against women. The documentary summarizes e.g. the 1997 conference in Ghaza, where the problem of so-called honor killings was openly formulated. The honor killings are committed by relatives against women whose conduct brings disgrace upon the family. Such acts are not prosecuted; generally, they are shown as cases of suicide in police statistics. The film is an interesting account of the fundamentalist reaction to the activity of a women’s movement struggling for legal protection of women against violence and discrimination.

Profits of Punishment

Directed by Catherine Scott

Australia 2000 

52 min.

Screening: Sunday, 16 December 2001, 21:00, LABORATORIUM Theater

A film about private prisons in the United States. This biggest and most profitable business in the USA is also growing fast in Australia and South Africa. What is more, gaining influence are international corporations that take control over the market of private prisons. Cases of violation of the fundamental human rights are even more frequent in such isolating institutions as compared to the state-controlled ones, and the inmates are treated simply as cheap manpower. 

Despite the overpopulation of American prisons, ever more people are sentenced to prison terms there. The film analyzes the relationship between this fact and the flourishing private prison industry.

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Community. The views expressed herein are those of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and can therefore in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Commission.