14th WATCH DOCS IFF Highlights


The program of this year’s WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film International Film Festival encompasses more than 60 films from around the world.

On Friday, December 5, the festival will open with Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger directed by a renowned American documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, the laureate of this year’s Marek Nowicki Prize. The 2014 festival program will also feature a Joe Berlinger retrospective.

This year, the festival competition section includes 12 outstanding documentaries, among others, Return to Homs (Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary), Ukraine Is Not a Brothel. The Femen Story, which premiered at the Venice IFF and reveals the inside-story of the famous Ukrainian group of feminist performers, Web Junkie, which thematizes Chinese rehab centers for teenage Internet addicts, as well as The Shelter–one of the most warmly received documentaries at the Locarno IFF, directed by the winner of the 11th WATCH DOCS IFF Fernand Melgar.

This year’s WATCH DOCS program includes also four permanent thematic sections: I Want to See–a review of the most intriguing documentaries devoted to people, events, and themes which have been the center of attention for human rights defenders; Discreet Charm of Propaganda; New Polish Films–a set of the most interesting Polish social documentaries; as well as Watch Shorts–a short films section, which will include, among others, latest film by Jean-Gabriel Périot–We Are Become Death.

Films about the on-going drama in Syria will constitute another important item of the 2014 program. As part of this section, the festival audience will have an opportunity to watch, among others, Our Terrible Country  (FID Marseille Grand Prix), which presents an unparalleled, insider view of the conflict. Naturally, this year’s festival will also include events devoted to Ukraine. The program encompasses a selection of films about Euromaidan, however, the audience will additionally have a unique opportunity to watch excerpts from unfinished documentaries about the situation in the east of the country. Additionally, the festival line-up also includes a retrospective devoted to European cultural diversity “Europe: the Second Homeland?” prepared in cooperation with the Bergen International Film Festival. Among other films, the section includes the winner of the 2013 Golden Lion at the Venice IFF–Sacro Gra by Gianfranco Rosi.


Photo: Ukraine Is Not a Brothel. The Femen Story, dir. Kitty Green.