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Amnesty International Slovenia Human Rights Film Award

(Competition Section)
Competition section Human rights films addressing some of the most critical issues of our world, from the rights of underprivileged women, minorities, labour migrants or political asylum seekers, to environmental concerns and religious fundamentalism. The section also serves as an appeal to present-day mass media which tend to neglect numerous important and meaningful stories due to their ostensible lack of newsworthiness.

International jury

Lea Aymard
She studied acting at a theatre conservatory (Conservatoire régional de théâtre), philosophy and cultural management. In France, she worked as an actress and organizer of cultural events in a prison. In 2006, she moved to Slovenia, where she worked in the field of television as a camera assistant and videographer for 7 years. After 2014, she has worked as a camerawoman, steadicam operator and director of photography for documentaries and video projects, for example the latest documentary LGBT_Slo_1984 (directed by Boris Petkovič). In 2017, she joined Zavod TransAkcije and developed the first Slovenian trans video platform, TransTube. Between 2017 and 2023, as part of her work as a program associate, she carried out peer to peer counselling for transgender people and their loved ones, led support groups, appeared in the media, facilitated trainings and workshops on trans topics and took part in advocacy attempts to address the necessary changes with state institutions for realizing the human rights of trans people. She also regularly cooperates with the Amnesty International Slovenian as a videographer.
Urška Djukić
Urška Djukić is a director and screenwriter. She studied at the Academy of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica. In 2016, she shot the short feature-animated film Good Run, Life!, which received the Vesna Award for the Best Short Film at the 19th Festival of Slovenian Film. In 2019, she was selected for the 39th edition of the Paris Cinéfondation Rezidence, where she developed her first feature film entitled Little Trouble Girls. Her latest short animated-documentary film, Grandma's Sexual Life, received more than 50 awards, including the European Film Academy Award for Best Short Film 2023 and the César Award for Best Animated Short Film. In 2023, she received the Župančič Award of the Municipality of Ljubljana for outstanding creations in the field of art and culture.
In intertwining different forms – animation, fiction and various forms of experimental techniques, Urška creates hybrid visual narratives and is particularly focused on investigating modern femininity.
Ayat Najafi
Ayat Najafi, film and theatre director, multimedia artist, born in Tehran, lives in Berlin. His focus is on interdisciplinary and multimedia theatre as well as experimental and documentary films. His two feature documentaries, Football Under Cover (2008) and No Land's Song (2014), were screened at more than a hundred international festivals and won numerous awards, including the Berlinale Teddy Award and the Best Documentary Award at Montreal World Film Festival. His last feature film, The Sun Will Rise (2023), premiered in La Biennale di Venezia - Cinema as the opening film of Venice Days. He has produced theatre plays at Hebel Am Ufer – Berlin, Ballhaus Ost – Berlin and Iranian Artists' Forum – Tehran, among others. His theatre productions have been performed at the Fajr Festival, Iran, as well as at international festivals, such as Kunsten Festival des Arts – Brussels. In 2017, he co-created the collective art project Sandstorm – And Then There Was Dust. The exhibition presenting the outcomes of the project opened at Depo Istanbul and in Galerie im Körnerpark Berlin.

Mirror of Hypocrisy

Taja Premk
AIS Communications and Events Program Manager 

For a week in March, documentary films take us into the world of filmmakers, replicating on screen global stories and the lives of different, inspiring people. The art of cinema based on documentation provides a firsthand look at human rights issues. It takes us to places where rights are violated; where stories of cruelty take place, as well as where solutions, communities and inspirations emerge. 

Documentaries, like this year's festival selection, hold up a mirror to contemporary capitalism, consumerism, war profits and hypocrisy. At a time when wars around the world are acquiring new dimensions, plunging into new depths of cruelty and inhumanity, these films take us right into war zones. The social inequality shaping our world and our daily lives guides the art of cinema and shows viewers the way to recognize it and take action. It shows us the faces of hypocrisy shown, all too often, by our society, politics and the public.

This year, the competition programme, the films competing for best human rights award presented by a three-member Amnesty International Slovenia jury, will take us all over the world and offer an inside look at the lives of people who have suffered social injustice. 

The brilliant Slovenian director Maja Weiss will take us back to the time of World War II, when human life was losing its value. A documentary about the last living victims of a Nazi racial experiment, Snatched From the Source tells the stories of Slovenian children included in the infamous Nazi programme called Lebensborn, which was designed to promote the Aryan race.

Nemanja Vojinović’s documentary Bottlemen features one of the world’s biggest landfills, in the vicinity of Belgrade. It sheds light on the life in this dumping ground and its main protagonists, Roma plastic bottle collectors – bottlemen. The lives of one of the largest marginalised population groups are often relegated to the fringes of society. It is no different in Slovenia where, for example, many Roma families in the south-east of the country live without access to water and also without electricity. At Amnesty, we fight all forms of discrimination and have been advocating, in partnership with Roma activists, the rights of the Roma population for years. 

In Silence of Reason, Kumjana Novakova examines the role of violence against women in times of conflict and war. The director focuses on rape victims in the vicinity of Foča, on the border with Serbia. Their testimonies and stories later led to systematic rape and sexual slavery being designated for the first time in history as war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Amnesty International Slovenia forms part of the fight against all forms of violence against women and girls, raises awareness of the consequences of gender inequality and educates about harmful stereotypes. To learn more about these issues join us at our Akademija Amnesty. 

In Total Trust, Zhang Jialing opens up the topic of technological mass surveillance in a digital society. At the heart of this is total control that sacrifices the individual's right to privacy and keeps in check especially activists, journalists and human rights lawyers.

Wang Bing, director of Man in Black, presents one of China’s most important classical composers, whose strange nude performance reenacts the cruel events and practices related to the process of re-education. He endured this persecution because daring to criticize the Chinese Party. 

Everyone fights injustice in their own way. Films evoke in us the feelings of people experiencing injustice first-hand. But we fight these injustices through activism, advocacy and by educating the young generations – these young people will one day lead the world forward... in the hope that a better and less unjust future awaits them.  

See you at the movie theatres. 

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