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Film festival goes online

CULTURE

The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) is one of the most important events dedicated to cinema and human rights around the world. When this year’s festival — held in Geneva — was disrupted by covid-19, the organisers had to think up an alternative program fast.


"We had to cancel the festival but we don't need to cancel the core of our mission, which is, of course, to show films . . . to give a voice to activists, artists, experts, to denounce serious situations, to propose and highlight solutions and possible answers," festival chair Bruno Giussani told Euronews.


To ensure the continuity of programming, guests still participated in a series of festival debates but instead of being conducted in front of a live audience the events were broadcast live online. As for this year’s film screenings, as ever, the subjects covered in the 2020 2.0 edition of the FIFDH were numerous and varied. Fittingly, the environment and climate emergency featured prominently throughout this essential festival.


As a precautionary measure, the judges watched the nominated films remotely before delivering their awards list. The winner of the documentary award — the Grand Prize of Geneva — was Colectiv, directed by Alexander Nanau. According to the FIFDH website: “Colectiv is a spectacular political thriller that details a team of sports journalists who investigate the Colectiv nightclub fire in Romania and in doing so uncovers high-level government corruption in the Ministry of Health itself. The film centres on the story of the victims and survivors in an unusual and profound way, and asks the question, ‘When we know the truth of what happened, how are we going to act?’”


Meanwhile, the Grand Prize award for fiction was handed to Maternal, directed by Maura Delpero. “‘I would like to be different, but I can’t . . .’  — the sentence of Lu to her friend Fati — summarises the dilemma the teenage mothers face in Maternal. These young mothers and their children can turn to no other place than a religious convent. So their world clashes with the strict moral codes of the nuns that provide shelter for them and their children. Delpero’s debut film interrogates a system that on one hand prohibits abortion but on the other hand does not really provide support to the teenage mothers. The directing, cinematography, dialogue and pace make this directorial debut a genuine discovery.”


| Watch all the debates and interviews of the 2020 FIFDH here

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