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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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14 Homicides

14 Homicides

director: Jona Gerlach
original title: 14 Homicides
country: United States
year: 2015
running time: 34 min.

synopsis

The state of Utah has very broad definitions of when a police officer can use a weapon on duty. Last year, 14 controversial deaths were caused by the police. This documentary, based on traditional film structure, is made up of 14 two-minute static shots of the crime scenes. The soundtrack consists of recited texts made up of interrogation reports and the responses of people close to the victims. The objective communication sharply contrasts with the tragic incidents. The fixed camera view becomes a sad reminder of a fatal incident which paradoxically most authorities consider to be justified.

DETAIL:
An attorney for the Hunt family says they don't believe Darian attacked officers with the toy sword. He also stated that he was a harmless and innocent young man who was drawn into an incident provoked by the police.

biography

Jona Gerlach, a writer and filmmaker, received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah and recently began studying media arts at the University of Montana. Here he wants to focus primarily on the creation of experimental and documentary films. 14 Homicides is his directorial debut in which he combines some of the elements of avant-garde film with the starkness of realism.

more about film

director: Jona Gerlach
producer: Talena Sanders
editing: Jona Gerlach

other films in the section

Time Splits in the River
Four artists decide to make a film where apolitical parents play parts of dissidents from the 1980s. Later, they show them the footage, unfolding discussions about art and politics. A  fascinating conceptual therapy revolving around traumatic  events of the history of Taiwan combines a highly artistic style with the informal, echoing, in the best possible sense, the saying ‘the personal is political’. Idiosyncratic, half-improvised ‘performances’ of the protagonists, who embody a story fromthe life and work of writer Shi Mingzheng, and the visual side of the film, just as poetic as it is funny, make this film a highly personal experience that is difficult to categorize.“Through re-enacting the social minority’s experiences , the filmsheds light on new negotiations between the social majority and other dissidents, while exposing the impossibility of family communication.”

Time Splits in the River

Yu-Ping Wang, Chia-Hung Lee, I-Chieh Huang, Xuan-Zhen Liao
Taiwan / 2016 / 89 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Metaphysics and Democracy
On average, our eyes remained fixed on an advertisement for six seconds. Advertisements are probably the most common ideological channel that we encounter in visible form. Director Luis Ortiz has based his documentary film on this contrast à la thèse. The visual aspect of the film is made up of 57 one-minute static views of advertising. The soundtrack features texts that challenge the existence of ideology as such (the Borges story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius) and draws attention to the fact that we often confuse it with ontology (the critics of neoliberalism, such as Ignacio Ramonet and Noam Chomsky).“In times of political extremism I find it necessary to ask which mechanisms undermine democracy in the so called modern societies, then new progressive answers are needed to confront the simplistic discourses from the right.” 

Metaphysics and Democracy

Luis Ortiz
Germany, Colombia / 2016 / 59 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Visit
An inspection team from the World Bank arrives in an Egyptian village a few years after the revolution to assess how the transformation of agricultural management has progressed since the political upheaval. All of the activities are, as required, recorded by a television crew. We watch a drainage channel being built and visit the local museum. Everything seems to be as it should. However, the documentary’s authors leave the camera switched on even after the television crew has finished their work. As a result, the official record includes behind-the-scenes views and the members of the television crew become just additional actors in the film. The carefully arranged scene becomes an absurdly active image with advertising overtones.DETAIL:A reporter, wearing clothing that conceals all of her body except her face, interviews one of the local women. One detail is particularly worthy of attention: the front of her robe is embroidered with images of Western women wearing revealing clothes.

The Visit

Nadia Mounier, Marouan Omara
Egypt, Germany / 2015 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
A Distant Echo
What can the landscape tell us about ancient history and how it is shaped? George Clark’s film essay explores this question through seemingly motionless images of the California desert accompanied by a minimalist chorale. This chosen form emphasizes the at first glance subtle shifts in the nature of the landscape, which becomes a stage for negotiations between an Egyptian archeologist and the members of a native tribe regarding the ancient graves hidden beneath the sand. The result is a multilayered tale that uncovers traces of the past, the ecology of the landscape, and cinematic history in locations that were once used to film Hollywood epics. “Existing in the resonance between ecological, cinematic and sonic domains, A Distant Echo explores the mythical continuity of sand as site for history, transformation and preservation. The things we cherish must sometimes be buried.”

A Distant Echo

George Clark
United Kingdom, United States / 2016 / 82 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Vacancy
The camera observes an American motel along the main highway – just the way many of us imagine the United States. We follow four people inside the room at night, where they have been living in a kind of private purgatory for several years. Their sins are drugs, crime, and bad decisions. The slow flow of scenes and the occasionally blurred image create an atmosphere of being out of time and out of place – which probably just where these four people, incapable of breaking free from the vicious circle of apathy, feel themselves to be. The four documentary portraits combine to form a picture of the depressing life of people nurturing a tiny flame of hope. „,I have been to hell and / back. / And let me / tell you / It was / wonderful‘ (from Louise Bourgeois work)“ A. Kandy Longuet

Vacancy

Alexandra Kandy Longuet
Belgium / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The New Day
A mixture of documentary and fiction as seen through the eyes of a non-participant observer, this drama presents the life of the fisherman Maldonado. After his wife Celia leaves him, we watch his lonely life in a series of cyclical everyday activities as we listen to Celia’s voiceover. Although it tends to repeat itself, it reveals something new every day. We always observe a different part of the daily work of a fisherman, or see it from a different angle. This sense of conflict is heightened by contradictory motifs on-screen and in the voiceover. Words clash with images, the everyday with the extraordinary, space with time. “Maldonado is a fisherman of the Paraná River. Modern times leave him on a threshold: a way of inhabiting that no longer finds its possibilities. That frailty that cracks into his world is what we intent to film.”

The New Day

Gustavo Fontán
Argentina / 2016 / 62 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Thawathosamat
This nearly four-hour film encyclopaedia takes us on a tour of Thailand’s many religions, including various forms of animism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Footage is limited to images of rituals, all without commentary and accompanied only with information on the location and the text of short excerpts from the prayers.In the immense length of the film, the individuality of each ritual dissolves into a flow of colours, lights, shouts, dance, song, music, voices and exploding firecrackers. It is an encyclopaedia that does not emphasize differences but blurs them.

Thawathosamat

Punlop Horharin
Thailand / 2012 / 170 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
There Is No Sexual Rapport
The filming of pornographic movies results in hours of digital ballast and unused footage. This condensed visual collage of unused footage discovers the non-sexual dimension of convulsive physical choreography, emptied to the utmost of the scenes we would like to see. The film captures the frighteningly uncoordinated functioning of the porn industry, which violates the erotic principles of sexual coupling. The Lacanian impossibility of relations, the inability of natural arousal and climax, the absence of mystery in porn-stereo.  

There Is No Sexual Rapport

Raphaël Siboni
France / 2011 / 79 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Czech Premiere
Looking for North Koreans
The dual nature of North and South Korea, forcibly divided by the Soviet Union’s power plays, continues to aff ect the lives of both countries’ inhabitants to this day. Every year, more and more people leave the totalitarian north; every year, more families and lives are torn apart. Kidnappings, extortion, human trafficking, threats of extermination, and hundreds of missing are the order of the day. A dark shadow looms over neighbouring China as well, where the trail of most traffickers and their victims comes to an end. The film goes searching for North Koreans who have disappeared, interviews victims and traffickers, and explores the grey zone of these political twins.  

Looking for North Koreans

Jero Yun
France / 2012 / 73 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Touch
A highly subjective film essay that highlights the constructed nature of any work of art and of perception in general. After many years, a man returns home to New York’s Chinatown, where he recounts the story of his life and that of his dying mother in two languages. A film full of radical transitions between silence and words.“Chinatown is divided into two overlapping tribes: the watchers and the watched.” “I wanted to be photographer. I became a librarian cataloguing other people‘s lives, while secretly inventing my own.”

Touch

Shelly Silver
United States / 2013 / 68 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Fonja
Ten juvenile delinquents from the largest detention institution in Madagascar have joined a four-month workshop to learn working with a film camera, editing, creating simple cinematic tricks, and telling their own stories. The camera became a tool for them to grasp the new reality, allowing them to express themselves freely despite the isolation they live in. The film presents a sincere testimony about life in a strictly hierarchical, closed community as perceived by the young film-makers who were given the opportunity not only to discover and develop their creative potential, but also make new friends. “I want to reach out and spread the great spirit and creativity of this strong group, the emerging young filmmakers of the Antanimora prison in Madagascar, to inspire and create wonder amongst others.” L. Zacher
personal program

Fonja

Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, Lina Zacher
Madagascar, Germany / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Same River Twice
The two filmmakers who set out in the footsteps of Scottish discover John McGregor describe their film as a road movie. In 1869, McGregor undertook a trip along the Jordan River. Where McGregor sought spiritual renewal, the filmmakers use interviews and random encounters to explore Israelis’ relationship to their homeland.With the Jordan, Heracleitus’ famous statement about rivers could describe the various ways in which people see it. According to the filmmakers, Palestine is never mentioned in the film, and yet it flows through it like an undercurrent.

Same River Twice

Amir Borenstein, Effi Weiss
Belgium / 2013 / 110 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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