One of the biggest film festivals about human rights in the world starts on 6th December. The program includes: competition, four permanent sections and four retrospectives.

14 new documentaries will be judged by the international jury as part of the Competition. Among them, the shocking “Of Fathers and Sons” by Talal Derki. The author of the famous “Return to Homs,” in his latest movie, tells a story of a father who raises his sons for Al-Qaeda’s fighters. So far the film has received the award for the Best Foreign Documentary at Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Horn, the main award of the International Competition at Krakow Film Festival. Among the 14 films of the Competition we will also see “Three Identical Strangers” (dir. Tim Wardle), portraying an unbelievable story of American triplets. The brothers had been separated after birth and met nineteen years later. It was only then that they discovered, they had been subjected to a mysterious experiment as children... Both Talal Derki and Tim Wardle will be the guests of WATCH DOCS festival. The next important title of the Competition is a documentary “Graves Without a Name”: the newest film of Rithy Panh, a Cambodian director living in France, dedicated to the memory of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime. Maxim Pozdorovkin, the author of “Pussy Riot – Punk Prayer,” will present two of his films. As part of the Competition, we will see “The Truth About Killer Robots” (European premiere of the documentary, which debuted at TIFF Festival in Toronto) devoted to the ethical consequences of the increasing automatization. Whereas the second film by Pozdorovkin: “Our New President,” analyzes the portrayal of Trump’s 2016 campaign by the Russian propagandists in the Government media. The second title can be found in the section Discreet Charm of Propaganda, this year dedicated to the phenomenon of fake news and conspiracy theories. In this section we will also see i.a. “Behind the Curve”: a portrait of the so called Flat Earthers, propagating on-line the notion that the Earth is flat.

This year’s WATCH DOCS Festival begins at the time of United Nation’s climate summit in Katowice, and the important element of the festival’s program is the Climate Screening section. The section will include i.a. the film “Welcome to Sodom” by Christian Krones and Florian Weigensamer - visually astonishing documentary about people operating the biggest African junkyard of electronic-waste imported from the West and Anote’s Ark” by Matthieu Rytz depicting the life of the inhabitants of the Pacific atoll for whom global warming means the literal end of the world. In Katowice – on 7th - 9th December together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, IKEA and Polityka Insight WATCH DOCS also organizes “Climate Film Festival.” The section Who Defends Your Rights? will present films about people who actively fight for human rights in the world. The movies will provide the individual and collective portraits of human rights defenders. In New Polish Films we can find i.a. “The Underground of Hope” by Jan Bluz, first feature-length film touching upon the issue of medical use of marihuana in Poland and “The Good Change” by Konrad Szo┼éajski – a documentary analyzing the polarization of political attitudes in the contemporary Poland. The titles which can be found in the I Want to See section are i.a. “Give Us This Day” by brothers Michael and Jeffrey Zimbalist, portraying the life of policemen and gangsters in the most dangerous city in the USA, “The Judge” – an unexpected portrait of the first woman in the world to rule in the Sharia court and “Alt-Right: Age of Rage” – a documental vivisection of American far right in Trump’s times. The program of Czech Gaze. Echoes of Ji.hlava has been prepared together with one of the most important Czech documentary festivals. The section will offer i.a. “Czech Allah” by Zuzana Piussi, taking us behind the scenes of the populist anti-immigrant movements in Czech Republic and “Limits of Work” by Apolena Rychlikova: a documentary about the shocking conditions, in which people performing the lowest-paying jobs work every day.Among the short films, in the section WATCH SHORTS, we will see i.a. “Atomic Soldiers,” dedicated to the last living witnesses of first nuclear tests conducted in the USA in 1950s.

This year, the festival screenings in Warsaw will take place in Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art and Muranów and Luna cinemas. The tickets for all screenings and accompanying events are free of charge. Selected festival films will be also available online, and directly after the festival in Warsaw, WATCH DOCS Belarus in Minsk will begin. In 2019 the films will be screened in over thirty cities in Poland, visited by the Travelling Film Festival WATCH DOCS.


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