EDITORIAL

One World Romania #15

We are on the verge of extinction. Paradoxically so, since the demographic explosion shows a growth ten times higher than the global population from 400 years ago. In other cases, this process of extinction is visible and palpable. Birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, flowers, trees, and other types of fauna and flora that once formed our ecosystems have gone extinct or are heading towards this at an amazing speed, way faster than the so-called normal extinction rate.  And now the fertile soil itself is on the verge of extinction. Under these conditions humans seem to prosper. The global population continues to grow abruptly. It surely doesn’t look like we're endangered. We live under the impression that only exotic species go extinct, somewhere in faraway places we only heard of during geography or biology classes. The illusion of human prosperity is perpetuated only by the conviction that man is separated from the environment, that he is something other than nature and nature is somewhere outside of him, something which can be savoured occasionally during holiday trips, while the rest of the time it is exploited for various economic activities. The reality is different, however. If the biodiversity of the soil which supplies our food, the water we quench our thirst with, the fauna and flora which provide our means of subsistence go extinct, we will certainly go extinct too. Man is nature. Whatever happens to nature happens within us as well, and whatever happens within us is reflected back to nature. 

Starting from this vision which renders man as an integral part of the world’s vast and complex ecosystem, One World Romania #15 will focus on the concept of “ecology,” applied not only to the environment, but also to the human mind and body. In this edition we wish to reflect upon the interaction between body, mind, and the world around us and to become aware of both the ecology of the environment and that of the mind and the body. We understand how pollution and ecological disasters have a negative impact on our physical and mental health, but we are less aware of how our actions, thoughts, and emotions affect and pollute the environment in a perpetual feedback loop. The irresponsible desire for expansion, without any respect for what surrounds us, actually reflects a profound disconnection from our own needs, which, in reality, are never in conflict with those of the planet. For all these reasons, a holistic approach of this triad, – body/mind/environment -, is the main theme of this year’s edition, around which we will organize a series of special events and screenings followed by debates. We’re trying to capture the complexity of the natural environment on a small scale, hence the film selection is conceived as an ecosystem in itself, with all sections relating, in one way or another, to the main theme of the edition, and being interconnected in various modes. They can be seen as branches growing from the same trunk, which form a whole only when they come together. 

The section “The Bruised Body of the Planet” will be dedicated to the celebration of the environment in all of its forms. Here we will present some of the most provoking recently released documentaries which approach aspects such as environmental protection, the effects of industrialization and urbanization, individual and collective ecological responsibility, the ecological disasters caused by war, as well as the often conflictual relationship between technology and nature. 

This first section engages in a direct dialogue with “At Home in the Wild”, a section composed of a series of documentary-portraits of people who, through various circumstances, came to feel alienated in the environment they live in and often find refuge in nature. Although the space differs from protagonist to protagonist – from Europe and Africa to Latin America, the feeling of alienation persists and seeks resolution. 

We complete the organism of the selection with the section “Body and Soul”, where we approach the ecology of the mind and the body through documentaries which investigate specific physical and psychological disturbances, by analyzing the way in which they constitute a dysfunctional response to the surrounding reality. We then move on to “The Fruits of Labour”, a section which explores the working conditions and climate, as well as workers’ rights in various cultures, beginning with the individualistic ones from the West and reaching as far as the collectivist cultures of the East. Following the example of natural biodiversity, the section “The Garden of all Flowers” is dedicated to diversity and the promotion of tolerance towards fellow human beings, regardless of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, or religion. This year we also introduce a section which focuses on cinematic methods of recording and analyzing the past. Therefore, in the section “On the Origin of Species - How We Tell Our Histories” we celebrate the variety and the resourcefulness of filmmakers who examine history. 

In addition to all these, the festival includes the already-classic sections which partially overlap with the theme of the edition. In the section “When the Rug Is Pulled from under Our Feet” we will come back to the aggravation of the refugee crisis and the factors which influence the migration phenomenon. Observing deviations from the rule of law both in the country and the rest of the world, we continue with the tradition of dedicating a series of important documentaries to justice. The films in the section “The Law of Nature: Prey and Predator” document the way in which judicial systems vary in space and time, by analyzing the modes in which justice is applied in various countries, as well as in various key moments in history. These films also remind us of the crucial role played by justice in the regulation of a sustainable economic system. 

In light of the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes, the selection wouldn’t be complete without ”This Ukraine Will never Stop.” We dedicate this section to Ukrainian filmmakers out of the desire to support a culture which was brutally interrupted and we show our solidarity through movies, as well as through special events with Ukrainian guests, who will tell us about cultural colonialism and the responsibility of cultural figures in the face of Russian aggression. 

This year we bring documentary short films back to the public’s attention in the section “Arthropod Shorts,” where we will show some of the most recent Romanian and foreign short films. Additionally, we will screen a retrospective of short films from Sixpackfilm, the Austrian distributor, one of the few distribution companies which promote and support this genre. This selection deals with the theme of the edition and the guest of the associated event will be the representative of Sixpackfilm, Gerald Weber, who will hold a masterclass on art documentary distribution. 

Last but not least, instead of the classic retrospective of the festival, this year we thought of creating something special, namely a series for contemporary authors, from each of whom we have selected two movies - hence the name “Double Bills.” In this program we discover some of the most interesting and original cinematic approaches of the moment, belonging to internationally acclaimed filmmakers, from Sergei Loznitsa, – here featured with two found footage documentaries -, to Chloé Galibert-Laîne, a specialist of the desktop documentary genre, and ending with Nicolas Klotz and Élisabeth Perceval, masters of interdisciplinary experimental cinema. 

Like every year, the OWR Competition reunites the most provocative and unique recent authorial voices. We are delighted to invite the public to discover filmmakers at the beginning of their career, who have captivated us with their fresh and courageous visions. Eleven films will be evaluated by the two juries: one made up of professionals from the international film industry, and the other of high school students from around the country. 

In the Work in Progress section we will present some of the most promising emerging Romanian directors and the documentaries they are developing. The festival will also involve the long-standing project KineDok, an endeavour of the One World Romania Association aimed at promoting the documentary genre all over the country.   

The film program is completed by a series of interactive and interdisciplinary side events which reflect the main theme of the festival and draws parallels between the environment and the personal sphere by promoting the development of a global consciousness and identity meant to include not only the individual, but the ecosystem which supports them as well. Since one of the most urgent ecological problems is the extinction of fertile soil, the events will focus mainly on soil regeneration and man’s relationship with soil. We have thus prepared a series of debates featuring specialists in biodiversity, regenerative agriculture, soil and forests health, conscious consumption, green energy, in addition to practice-oriented events like a nutrition workshop, yoga sessions, a visual storytelling workshop, and a pottery workshop. Furthermore, we will organize a day dedicated to “green” events at the Văcărești Natural Park, where we will learn to recalibrate our bodies and senses in relation to nature. 



Seeking to establish a closer collaboration with artists from other fields who approach the concept of sustainability in their practice, in partnership with Asociația tranzit.ro we will host a collective video performance with several Romanian and foreign artists. Added to this, there will be another performance, signed by Florin Flueraș and guided by Eliza Trefas, as well as a durational performance: Dusk, by Maria Drăghici.

This year’s series of visuals is also authored by Maria Drăghici and it is built around human spaces noninvasively claimed by nature, which invite us to a fictional negotiating table, where we can openly talk about the certainties and uncertainties of the future. 

Through the documentary film selection and the side events accompanying it, in this edition we wish to contribute to the development of a gentler life, one which unfolds in harmony with ourselves and the nature that we are all part of. We celebrate diversity and the right to existence of all forms of life, because on a fundamental level we are all one and the same thing: life.





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