International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Verzio

Contemporaries
The presentation program of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Verzio
The program is presented by Oksana Sarkisova, Festival Director and Program Curator

Oksana Sarkisova is Director of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Verzio and Research Fellow at Blinken OSA Archivum at CEU (Budapest). Her fields of research are documentary filmmaking, amateur film and photography, early Soviet cinema, and politics of memory.

Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is organized by Blinken OSA Archivum and Verzio Film Foundation in Budapest, Hungary. Verzio brings to the broad public powerful creative documentary films that highlight human rights issues and go beyond the usual media coverage of current social and political affairs. The films address a wide range of issues affecting international affairs today: civil conflicts; war crimes; political repression; minorities; nationalism and racism; equal opportunities, women’s rights and children’s rights. The festival program includes International Human Rights Competition, Student and Debut FIlms Competition, Hungarian Panorama, and a selection of thematic blocks and supplementary programs.
Verzio has grown dynamically over the past 14 years, screening altogether over 800 documentaries for more than 90,000 visitors. Alongside screenings, Verzio organizes discussions, masterclasses, open debates and Q&A-s with filmmakers, human rights activists and civil organizations. These occasions present unique opportunities to create a dialogue between the audience and professionals of documentary filmmaking and human rights, helping to enhance critical thinking and media literacy. Verzio is committed to the use of documentary films in teaching and runs educational programs for the high-school students in the form of special screenings with discussions organized for high schools during the festival and throughout the year. Following the screenings in Budapest, Verzio takes a selection of its films to Pécs, Szeged and Kecskemét, building a broader platform for films and viewpoints to be examined creatively and critically in Hungary.

A Woman Captured (89’)
2017
Hungary
Director: Tuza-Ritter Bernadett
At the heart of A Woman Captured is Marish, a 52-year-old Hungarian woman who has been serving a family for a decade, working 20 hours a day without any pay. Her ID was taken from her by her oppressors, and she’s not allowed to leave the house without permission. She eats only leftovers and has no bed to sleep in. The presence of the camera helps her realize she isn’t completely alone, and after two years of shooting, she gathers her courage and reveals, “I am going to escape”.

Their Voices (26’)
2017
Poland
Director: Eri Mizutani
Experience the mysterious world hidden behind the walls of a Polish boarding school for young hearing-impaired students. The film introduces their universe with subtle observations and without a spoken word. Getting to know their habits, gestures and facial expressions we find an environment full of acceptance, understanding and airiness, so different from the world outside. The film allows us to share the children’s emotions, their visions of the world, and eventually, to hear their voices as communication barriers between the worlds of adults and children, and between the deaf and the hearing are transgressed.

In My Eyes (31’)
2016
Germany
Director: Raphael Schanz
Images of storming invaders and dehumanized masses dominate the media coverage about refugees. Investigating the subjective impact of the images, ‘In My Eyes’ invites five refugees to comment on the media portrayal and express their feelings while watching press photos as well as short television clips. Their reaction sparks a conversation on identity, humanity and dignity. They open up their individual stories, criticize the prejudiced media portrayal and voice how they would like to be seen in German society. The film offers a new perspective not only on the media debate, but further on our habit to judge others without actually knowing them.

I Forgot To Bring Forget-Me-Not Again (21’)
2018
Hungary
Director: Bicsák Boglárka
My main goal was to make a documentary about the complex lives of my grandmothers. For a year I observed their everyday life and talked to them about the past. I came to know them intimately and learned a lot about myself. I wanted to show how different their lives were—one coming from a “kulak” family that was persecuted during the socialist times, the other married to a military man and enjoying the benefits bestowed on the loyal members of society. But I began to understand how much they really resembled each other. The film reconstructs their worlds and narratives using photographs and documents from family archives.

Tiny Little Delicate Foreign Castles (11’)
2014
Portugal
Director: Rob Key
A camera is a dangerous weapon, and when it appears in the vicinity of a guarded object or building, even in a public space, all rational arguments become useless and it becomes a plausible threat. The filmmaker, Rob Key, attempts to film embassies in Lisbon from the outside, provoking a variety of reactions from the security guards, ranging from mild to aggressive. The aim of the documentary is to make the idea of boundaries in public spaces palpably visible to the viewer.