Controversy as a message for the closure of the Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival 2013

On the last day of the Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival 2013, three films will be screened which strongly divide, provoke and disturb, but also inspire and motivate by presenting the courage and determination as the most loyal patrons of personality and identity.

Audience in Podgorica will have the opportunity to see a short documentary at 17h00 When I Was a Boy I Was a Girl, followed by nowadays especially important Pussy Riot – Punk Prayer at 18h00, while the Festival will be closed by motion picture Blue is the Warmest Color, a film that never ceases to provoke strong reactions, but despite the pressures it is still being screened and collects awards.
When I Was a Boy I Was a Girl is a kind of cinéma vérité, in which director Ivana Todorović, takes the audience into the lives of those who are pushed to the margins of the media and society. It is a film about love, happiness and desire to belong, a film about Goca who is a transvestite in Belgrade, the capital city of a country where organizing or participating in a pride parade is forbidden. She decides to celebrate her thirty-ninth birthday on stage in front of the audience. And thus she tells them the story of her life: When I was a boy I was a girl, that will leave no one indifferent. Few months after this film was made, Goca started to work as activist for transsexual persons’ rights in Serbia, she left her previous work and is still in the search for her soul mate. When I Was a Boy I Was a Girl was named the Best Balkan Documentary film in 2013, the Best short film in 2013 and the Best Documentary Film in Serbia in 2013.

The Pussy Riot – Punk Prayer is on the program at 18h00 – a joint piecework of producer Mike Lerner and director Maxim Pozdorovkin. The film depicts the story of three young women, Nadia, Masha and Katya, members of the feminist art collective group Pussy Riot, who performed a political protest performance in duration of 40 seconds in the Temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow. This act led to their arrest, charges of blasphemy and judicial process that has made headlines across the world. With unprecedented access to participants and the use of exclusive materials, the film journeys to the human faces behind the distinctive colored ski masks. This film is evidence to censorship and repression in Russia today. It was presented in numerous festivals, and it won the Award of special jury of world cinema documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival will be closed with the film Blue is the Warmest Color, a daring and socially important lesbian drama by Abdellatif Kechiche, which won the Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2013. Screening starts at 20h00. Although it was a true sensation in Cannes, the film has a limited distribution in the U.S. cinemas due to several-minutes’ and explicit erotic scenes, and can only be presented in cinemas in which persons older than 17 years can enter. This film gives an insight into a grand love story, arouses controversies, goes beyond the limits of artistic and socially relevant context, carrying the message that it is all right to be yourself, and to, despite everything, persistently fight for your rights. The film centers on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle who is climbing to adulthood and dreams of experiencing her first love. She will experience it soon, but quite different from the most of her peers… Steven Spielberg said in Cannes: “For this great love story we did not know how it will be played, but we were genuinely happy that someone had the courage to tell it in such a way. The issue of “gay” marriage is one of many that afflict America. This film carries a quite strong, positive message “.

The fourth Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival 2013 was opened on 17 December at the Montenegrin National Theatre by award ceremony for the affirmation of human rights and civic activism, which were presented in two categories: the category of outstanding individuals and organizations. The award ceremony was followed by a screening of the motion picture documentary that pushed the boundaries of documentary – The Act of Killing, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, a Danish-Norwegian-British production. The audience was able to hear the address of the author by video link.

On the second day of the Festival audiences was introduced to motion pictures Albert’s Way, A Stranger and Halima’s Path. Those who have seen the first screening, attended also the speech of director of Albert’s Way – Predrag Bambić, after the screening, and discussed various topics in the area of human rights and work on this film. The third day featured screening of films More than Honey, Gulabi Gang, and An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker.

The Festival is organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in cooperation with the Montenegrin National Theatre (CNP) and BELDOCS, with the media sponsorship of RTCG and Vijesti, and support of the Canadian Embassy.

Fast Forward Human Rights Film Festival, the first and only one of its kind in Montenegro, aims to contribute, through the film, to raising awareness of citizens about the importance of human rights and their protection and improvement, as well as to the value framework that encourages harmonious relations among those who are different in any grounds.

Dragana Koprivica, PR Manager of the Festival