Opening Night

10 November 2020 - 7:00PM to 9:00PM

This year we will open the 17th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival from Trafó, and we are inviting you to join us virtually through our website and Facebook live, at 7pm on 10 November!

This is an unusual year for film festivals in all respects, and Verzió is no exception. Anyone who has attended our opening night festivities in the past has become accustomed to the joyful atmosphere of a full house. We bump into friends and acquaintances, wait excitedly for the opening film, and listen to speeches that convey our reflections on the year and the important problems that are reflected in the films. 

In 2004, Árpád Göncz opened Hungary's first human rights film festival at the Toldi Cinema, and the entire OSA staff helped guide visitors at the event. We have strived to maintain this familiar atmosphere while growing into one of the most visited film festivals in the country. It is a wonderful feeling to be part of an annual experience with films that open something in us, that make us think, that start a dialogue with the person sitting next to us, and that give us an experience that accompanies us beyond the cinema hall.

The list of the Festival’s opening guests has been impressive, with well-known people who stand up openly and boldly for human rights, testifying year after year to the prominent role of documentaries, which not only capture the past, but are also a means of shaping our future. Our guests have included Gyula Gazdag (film director), Miklós Jancsó (film director), Ferenc Kőszeg (founding chairman of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee), Béla Tarr (film director), György Soros (philanthropist), László Majtényi (lawyer), Ildikó Enyedi (film director), Lajos Parti Nagy (writer), János Térey (poet), Gergely Péterfy (writer), Árpád Schilling (theater director), Kornél Mundruczó (director), Antónia Mészáros (managing director of UNICEF Hungary), and Andrea Tompa (writer and theater critic). 

And the most significant public figures in 2020? The community of the University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest — each and every one of them. 

We are thrilled to announce that the 17th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will be opened by the FreeSZFE community - including students and teachers alike. The event will be broadcast live from Trafó.

The citizens of the University of Film and Theater Arts Budapest (SZFE) have been occupying their university for more than 70 days. During this time, they have not only fought for the autonomy of higher education, but have also come to know each other and themselves better. They have learned a lot about the world around them. Students have continuously recorded the events taking place around the blockade both for themselves, and later, hopefully, for the world. The occupation of the university is still taking place, therefore their film is still in the making. Their performance at the Opening Night of the 17th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, however, will give us a glimpse into the process of making a community documentary. The performance will also introduce us to the citizens that have been blockading the buildings of their university for more than two months.

Even in this year of physical isolation, we have the tools to connect in thought and heart, to experience our humanity, and the joys and challenges of others through the screen.

Let’s dive into this year’s 50 documentaries. We have 12 days to get closer to each other’s realities.


Timetable of the Opening Night

The Opening Night will be broadcast live on our website and on our Facebook page.

7:00 pm Opening speech by Dr. Oksana Sarkisova, Festival Director
7:15 pm Opening performance by FreeSZFE

The Opening film 76 Days, a Chinese documentary shot in a Wuhan hospital during the first months of the coronavirus outbreak (Viewer discretion is advised.) will be available from 7:00 pm November 10 at
Go to the site and register with a free user account.
To watch 76 Days for free, go to the film’s page, click on the “Kölcsönzés” (Rental) option, and enter the promo code: 76NAPVERZIO  
Once the first 200 viewers have “rented” the film, another 400 tickets will be made available at the price of 900 HUF.
More information about tickets and passes can be found here.

9:30 pm Q&A with Hao Wu, director
During our online discussions you will have the chance to ask your own questions in real time but you can also prerecord questions and messages to filmmakers on the films' pages!