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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Pit
The Pit
The Pit
The Pit

The Pit

director: Jona Gerlach
original title: The Pit
country: United States
year: 2019
running time: 10 min.

synopsis

Contemporary and archival footage of the Berkeley Pit, an open pit copper mine in Montana – today filled with contaminated water – is chemically altered using poisonous substances from this water containing copper, arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and sulfuric acid in order to call attention to the destructive consequences of mining.

“The film shows the destructive consequences of mine waste through a variety of photochemical processes using the same contaminants found in the water of the pit.“ J. Gerlach

biography

Jona Gerlach is an American author and filmmaker. After earning a degree in English, he went on to study media arts. He began making films in 2015, when his debut film 14 Homicides was shown at the Ji.hlava festival. Gerlach combines experimentation with elements of documentary film, with a focus on social issues. Besides video, he also experiments with classic film material.

more about film

director: Jona Gerlach
producer: Jona Gerlach
photography: Jona Gerlach
sound: Jona Gerlach

other films in the section

The Trembling Giant
A view of the landscape of the American Southwest, where the largest organism on Earth grows – a 60,000-year-old colony of quaking aspens – was filmed with a digital camera through the take-up reel of a 16mm projector in order to emphasize the characteristic effect of projected film material which rhythmically warps the space in front of the projector. Patrick Tarrant (1969) is originally from Melbourne, Australia and teaches at London South Bank University. He is the author of meditative films, that draw on the atmosphere of cities and urban peripheries.“My repurposing of a 16mm film projector warps space in three dimensions in order that we might reflect on our journey from a people who feared the natural world to people who must now fear for the natural world.”

The Trembling Giant

Patrick Tarrant
United Kingdom / 2016 / 19 min.
section: Fascinations
East European Premiere
Synthetic-free
Wave follows wave. Real movements of the ocean, redrawn by computer-generated animation, flow into the picture frame in relation to real-time wind speeds, their visibility defined by natural light levels. The monotonous sound further emphasises the endless irregularity of the observed. “3D Computer Graphics have powers for making new images. They are mostly used for entertainment. However, they can surely be applied more to creating new methods and ideas for exploring experimental expressions.” Y. Nishimura

Synthetic-free

Yoshiki Nishimura
Japan / 2017 / 9 min.
section: Fascinations
World Premiere
1/8
The film’s title refers to the sharpness of human vision when compared to that of a hawk. The deformations and blurriness of the image, dependent on the density of photoreceptors, hide concreteness. The allusion to the myth of Icarus addresses questions of distance and clarity, while the meticulous rhythm of the narrative develops the themes of point of view and falling from great heights.“This film focuses on the world that exists outside of stories. By destroying the main story of man, I wanted to discover all that has been erased from him or that is trapped outside of him.” R. Hayama

1/8

Rei Hayama
Japan / 2017 / 13 min.
section: Fascinations
World Premiere
Biblion
A visual study of the book as a medium and cultural artefact. Parallel images analyse books from the point of view of appearance and material with the film plunging into the depths of their microscopic fabric while, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the variety of their surfaces, textures, fonts and shapes blossoms into structured volumes ordered on a bookshelf. “Born from observing the phenomena of quietly vanishing old book stores, our work first became an exploration of the medium of the book itself, and then grew in to something more haunting.” E. Tammi, S. Ekström  

Biblion

Saara Ekström, Eero Tammi
Finland / 2019 / 13 min.
section: Fascinations
World Premiere
Latency Contemplation 2
Natural textures and close-ups of various surfaces of soil, rocks and water are vertically sliced and rhythmically abstracted. Within the stream of images, this tour of the outer world becomes a way of experiencing the landscape and its transformations, in whose regularity we can find stability and inner peace. “Cho´s internal visions and perception of the outer world come together in an abstract meditation on space, place and sound. Natural landscapes are pushed to the edge of abstraction through layering and other forms of manipulation.”

Latency Contemplation 2

Seoungho Cho
United States, South Korea / 2017 / 8 min.
section: Fascinations
Czech Premiere
The Bed and the Street
Protests against austerity measures, read as an expression of resistance to the state, are intermingled with an expression of intimate consonance. A demonstration of connection, this essayistic collage blurs the boundaries between private and public as it reflects on the politics of co-existence. "What if the revolution started at home, in the micro-politics of hand to hand, of our kitchen life, our bedroom life? If we said no to the old models of family, could we bring together bed and street?" M. Hoolboom, H. Frise  

The Bed and the Street

Mike Hoolboom, Heather Frise
Canada / 2018 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations
World Premiere
Some Exercise in Complex Seeing is Needed
The static footage shows just one thing: a person continuously swimming against the current. Despite swimming at a regular pace, the person stays in place. This image is accompanied by a recitation of a list of the filmmaker’s personal decisions and a description her micro-world, with references to her previous films and curatorial work. “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution,” we hear the words of American writer and feminist Emma Goldman, who promoted freedom of expression and the need for joy even amidst revolutionary struggle.

Some Exercise in Complex Seeing is Needed

Carola Dertnig
Austria / 2012 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations
Czech Premiere
We Still Have to Close Our Eyes
A compilation of behind-the-scenes footage shot while filming various Filipino films, including those of Lav Diaz and Erik Matti, creates a sense of quiet tension. In the style of slow narrations and in-depth observation, the film builds a dystopian sci-fi narrative of human avatars controlled by applications but is also a commentary on the various forms of contemporary Filipino cinema.    “They say once a filmmaker becomes a parent, that person stops making films. The Remote Daddy Framework is a way for me to go out of the house to document in spurts of three hours to repurpose and make" J. Torres

We Still Have to Close Our Eyes

John Torres
Philippines / 2019 / 13 min.
section: Fascinations
European Premiere
Field of Infinity
Inspired by Italian Renaissance art, the filmmaker transforms news reports of protests in the Gaza Strip into a painting of people and the landscape, as if the boundaries of fields and meadows were a place for overcoming political limitations and the ability of an expansive viewpoint presented the ideal of inhabiting the visible.  "The struggle for liberation intertwines with nature rejuvenation, creating an array of reflections." G. Silberstein  

Field of Infinity

Guli Silberstein
United Kingdom / 2018 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations
European Premiere
Distance
The filmmaker returns to a Hungarian village for her last visit to her grandmother. The blurring images emphasize the mental distance resulting from physical distance, but also the time that has passed since the childhood memories remembered in her quiet voiceover, which make up for the disappearing memories of the aging body. “The film grew out from a personal life situation when my grandmother got dementia at the age of 85. While she was losing her memories I tried to keep them even stronger than ever.” D. Zurbó

Distance

Dorottya Zurbo
Hungary / 2017 / 8 min.
section: Fascinations
Czech Premiere
Les Moutiers
Using the typical method of breaking the image down into digital elementary particles and their subsequently rearrangement, the filmmaker erases and recreates trees in the village of Les Moutiers in western France. The originally lush green and glowing yellow colours are transformed and set in motion until the viewer is unsure as to when the image is real and when it is a parasite that has attacked the digital imprint. The crowns of the trees are illuminated by the radiance of a cloudless sky. The leaves reflect the light, but after just a few seconds the image freezes and dissolves into a mesh of colour fields hinting at the falling leaves in the early autumn.

Les Moutiers

Jacques Perconte
France / 2012 / 18 min.
section: Fascinations
International Premiere
Mold
The image of a city broken down into a series of planes of view rolls towards us, its echoes enabling us to fill in the imaginary whole. This urban symphony of minimalism builds up a panoramic view into the distance while calling into question reality by visualizing the overcrowding of the urban environment.  "Life is surprisingly simple. Because all human beings are in a moment of repetition of the irreversible destiny of nature. Everything is only a trace and disappears." M. Yi

Mold

Myun Yi
South Korea / 2018 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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