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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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A Well-Kept Secret
A Well-Kept Secret

A Well-Kept Secret

director: Mihkel Oksmann
original title: Soonlepa Saladus
country: Estonia
year: 2018
running time: 25 min.

synopsis

The small Estonian village of Soonlepa is home to its last three residents – a witch, an artist, and a philologist. All their lives will change when Aino the witch is diagnosed with cancer. This melancholy film captures everyday life in an abandoned village with interviews full of memories of youth and discussions of art and poetry. 

biography

Mihkel Oksmann (1992) is a young Estonian director and documentarian. In 2018, he earned a master’s degree from the film academy. Besides film, he is also involved in conceptual art, music, and producing. 

more about film

director: Mihkel Oksmann
cast: Aino Undo, Enn Johannes, Tõnu Otsason
producer: Mihkel Oksmann
music: Fred Klein
sound: Juhan Vihterpal

other films in the section

We are epicenters of the earthquake
The earth is scorched; trees are dying; species are becoming extinct; rivers are drying up. Human interventions have thrown the ecosystem off balance. The irreversible changes will have a devastating impact. A trip of a young urban couple to the country provides a base for a spontaneous poetic contemplation on dried-up landscape and mankind's environmental grief. Nature has ceased to be a relaxing place. Looking at nature can cause anguish. In this film about contradictions of ecological awareness, the ability to articulate such grief, be it through a prosaic statement or poem, meets the inability to let go off one's thoughts and feelings, to think outside the box and act on it.
personal program

We are epicenters of the earthquake

Tomáš Hlaváček
Czech Republic / 2020 / 40 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Life could be so beautiful
During the 1940s, Polish writer Andrzej Bobkowski headed from the south of France to occupied Paris, describing everything he saw in diaries in which his hundreds of kilometers of cycling were transformed into a deep reflection on wartime Europe. Decades later, Angelika and Filip retraced his route and filmed everything along the way. During the exploration of Bobkowski’s path through the landscape and in culture, a conflict arises on the interpretation of the author’s diaries, with the pair’s creative debate leading to a reflection on their own relationship. In this documentary video diary and from the literary work, a reflection on modern life, work, and love arises.“Relationship as eternal circle around eternally the same things. No matter how many times you discuss, you will never fully understand each other. But what holds you together?” A. Herta, F. Jacobson

Life could be so beautiful

Filip Jacobson, Angelika Herta
Poland, Germany / 2019 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
There Will Be More Springs to Come
On average, the population of Lithuania is twice as poor as it was ten years ago. A contemplative film comprises scenes of a girl harvesting and selling strawberries during five years of economic and political changes in Lithuania. The film is about the circle of life and the market, and the influence of national economics on human existence.

There Will Be More Springs to Come

Neringa Starkevičiūtė
Lithuania / 2018 / 27 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Ars Moriendi - The Art of Living
A sensitive film portrait tells the life story of 93-year-old Rosemarie Aschenbach, revealing the world of her thoughts. After a number of life setbacks, she was able to free herself and is now writing her dissertation in philosophy. The ordinariness of life contrasts with the richness of her opinions on life and death.

Ars Moriendi - The Art of Living

Kristina Schranz
Germany, Austria / 2018 / 30 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
East European Premiere
The Kids in Wonderland
Believing in God is great. The director carries out a social probe into the roots of young Charismatics in his hometown in Slovakia. Pop songs, ecstasy-like states, and modern merchandising all target youth. What do representatives of a generation think about the recent phenomenon, the Charismatic Movement? 

The Kids in Wonderland

Ema Kovalčíková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 38 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Mother. Gabriele. Television.
Some consider television to be just a marginal entertainment, but for others it’s an essential part of everyday life. The film follows two friends - social actresses - who entertain themselves by participating in various TV shows. Their lives seem very empty, and they can only find happiness in the TV shows. 

Mother. Gabriele. Television.

Lucia Kašová
Slovakia / 2018 / 28 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Marie
The director’s purely observational camera enters the home of a family living in a village in the Danube Delta, where the birth of another girl arouses more tension stemming from the uneasy life of the extended family. In her short film, the director thematises a conflict between generations of three women reliant on each other, while Maria, a ten-year-old girl who has to take care of her younger sisters, comes into focus. In the timelessness of traditional rural relationships, shown in a slow pace of everyday life, Maria’s childlike innocence is exposed to harsh orders of her grandmother who requires respect and proper conduct.“What drove me to Iordana was curiosity. So I allowed myself to be surprised by their world, in order to be able to deconstruct their reality.” L. Popa

Marie

Letiția Popa
Romania / 2018 / 32 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
International Premiere
Hopschotch
Katya and Matvei live together in the Belarusian countryside. Then something happens that causes them to reassess their relationship. In this directorial debut – a melancholic study of the dynamic between two lovers – the intense sense of tension between the two protagonists contrasts with the calm co-existence of two friends who have come to visit. 

Hopschotch

Dasha Demura
Belarus, Russia / 2018 / 54 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
International Premiere
Last Knights of the Right Side
Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny – the National Radical Camp – ONR. The last knights defending the right in Poland. An extremist neo-Nazi group defending the values of nationalism and true faith. This focused collection of scenes showing the executive apparatus of power honestly and consistently uses trust and opportunities to take a look behind the scenes at the organization of marches, meetings with citizens, and even volunteer efforts to collect clothing for the elderly. In precisely composed shots, the atrocious leap from the Warsaw Uprising to genocide, to a modern day Kristallnacht, is interwoven with the intimate confessions of the protagonists. Snapshots from the life of these mercenaries of hate reveal the ideology of the right-wing extremism that has taken control of public space in Poland.
personal program

Last Knights of the Right Side

Michał Edelman
Poland / 2020 / 67 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
International Premiere
Jochen
A sequence of bucolic black-and-white fragments of the southern Tuscan countryside opens a portrait of a peaceful daily routine, of reconciled old age spent in a sun-drenched idyll. Without a hint of emotion, Jochen, aged seventy, outlines the unsettled life of a retired drug smuggler, the life of a person with two stories – one as an outlaw, the second as the respectable head of a family. The account starts with the first days of the hippy movement and psychedelia in Germany, covers the profitable illegal subsistence associated with marijuana, opium and heroin, and ends with a transitory existence in the Tuscan paradise. It is a monotonous narrative of an uncommon life intertwined with the motif of personal freedom as symbolized by a ride on an unsaddled horse.
personal program

Jochen

Daniel Fill
Austria / 2020 / 47 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Boundaries
The idea and story of the film begins on a train: the recording of a message on a cell phone suddenly stops after the crossing of the state border. The real situation initiates a movement to the realm of art: the short message becomes a documentary letter, the director’s poetic meditation on the importance and ubiquity of borders – in geography, history, and cinematography. Listening to the persistent humming sound, we follow the author on her existential journey through four cities consisting of real images and footage taken by the director’s father 25 years ago that always bring us to some visible or invisible border. “In the film school I was assigned to make a video essay on ‚Boundaries in film‘ topic. I started to think of where cinema ‚ends‘ but instead I realized I should first learn where is the end of myself.” Y. Shatun     

Boundaries

Yuliya Shatun
Belarus / 2019 / 29 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
I'm 20
Sima is a 20-year-old student of history. Both her mother and her father – the latter a famous hippie and Soviet dissident known as “Jura the saboteur” – died when she was still a child. In this diary-like film, Sima, confronted with the people who knew her father, tries to find out who he was and what values he represented, and in this way to perhaps find her own place in life.

I'm 20

Ekaterina Mamontova
Russia / 2018 / 45 min.
section: Between the Seas: Student Film Competition
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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