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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Latvian Coyote
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Latvian Coyote
Latvian Coyote
Latvian Coyote

Latvian Coyote

director: Ivars Zviedris
original title: Valkātājs
country: Latvia
year: 2020
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

The Latvian-Russian border may seem like just an area of endless swampy forests and villages filled with dilapidated buildings and no people. But this inhospitable place also happens to be a destination for refugees from various countries heading through Eastern Europe, as it not only represents the end of their painful journey but also the pathway into the Schengen Zone and open borders. Long-term unemployment and an influx of immigrants have creative a new job opportunity for smugglers known as “coyotes”, who risk their own freedom to help others find freedom for a small reward. This observational documentary shot over the course of three years follows smugglers, refugees, and law enforcement: three sides of a hopeless socio-economic triangle.
 
 
“My goal was to show a border portrait of the border. It seems to me that there is a tunnel — a 2-kilometre-wide tunnel called the "border zone." And in that tunnel you can very well see how the world is changing, how globalisation is happening.” I. Zviedris 
 
Q&A with Ivars Zviedris:
 

biography

Latvian director, cinematographer, and producer Ivars Zviendris (1967) has worked as a correspondent for LTV public television since the mid-1990s. In 2001, he graduated from the Latvian Academy of Culture and began profiling himself as an author of impactful portraits. His films regularly receive awards for best domestic documentary. He has also enjoyed much success abroad with his films Come, Erik (2005), Tide (2009) and Documentarian (together with Inese Klava, 2012).

more about film

director: Ivars Zviedris
producer: Marta Bite, Ivars Zviedris
script: Ivars Zviedris
photography: Ivars Zviedris, Haralds Ozols
editing: Haralds Ozols
sound: Ivars Zviedris, Haralds Ozols

other films in the section

Victoria
The hypnotic wasteland of Southern California is infused with the free-spirited nature of Easy Rider, the alienation and uprootedness of Michelangelo Antonioni, and the deep transcendence of Werner Herzog. It speaks to us through fragments of dialogues from iconic films, and yet it remains elusive and dissolves into abstract shapes, rhythms, and compositions. The landscape as a captivating and intangible, all-encompassing and insubstantial yet full emptiness becomes the means for the transgressive experience of two temporalities – the “real” time of people and the time of natural processes.„How much further do we have to go? I don't know. Not much further. That's what you said this morning. I sometimes say it all day. Really? You say it all day? We don't have much longer. We'll be there soon.“ L. Marxt

Victoria

Lukas Marxt
Austria / 2018 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Balaton Method
This documentary journey, which explores the landscape surrounding Hungary’s largest lake and its recreational resorts, includes live concert footage of seventeen local bands – well-established names and newcomers to the music scene alike. Their performances, including the participation of a hundred other musicians, are recorded at various times of day in diverse locations, ranging from harbours and hotel balconies to churches, helping to create a portrait of the distinctive atmosphere at each of the sites. This independent musical road movie shot around Lake Balaton is the first Hungarian feature-length film financed through a crowd-funding campaign.DETAIL:“Balaton! This word has magical power! It makes all eyes kindle, puts a smile on everybody's face. The shining sun and the naughty waves paint all the faces golden brown. The lake is full of tourists.”

Balaton Method

Bálint Szimler
Hungary / 2015 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The 727 Days Without Karamo
This film revealing the senseless nature of Austria’s immigration policy towards inhabitants of the Third World is more than a mere critique of the system. Director Anja Salomonowitz uses intimate stories of mixed couples/marriages to show the power of love. The film’s protagonists are composed into long, static shots that all share a unifying element – yellow. The film finds its emotional core in children’s rooms, since it is here that the young protagonists are at the mercy of mothers in love and the authorities; watching a 10-year-old girl pray for her father to return from Africa sends a chill down our spines.

The 727 Days Without Karamo

Anja Salomonowitz
Austria / 2013 / 80 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Our Daily Water
Drinking water deliveries by boat to remote Croatian islands is a great opportunity to observe often humorous daily life. Especially when the ship’s captain has a tendency to make coarse comments, regaling his young nephew, the newest member of the crew, with his choleric outbursts. Our Daily Water is an observational film, but it gives inner energy and humor to its protagonists. The film’s creators successfully convey the atmosphere of lazy days along the hot Croatian coast and the explosive temperament of the locals."Through this Mediterranean comedy about a Captain and his crew I wanted to tell a story of invisible people who work honestly in order to prevent our country from becoming an "accidental state"." V. Vorkapić

Our Daily Water

Vlatka Vorkapic
Croatia / 2018 / 57 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Turn off the Lights
Misogynistic Alex, who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, lives with his grandparents; Christian is the favourite son from a rich family; and Papan, the young father of a little girl, comes from a poor background – three Roma men who have left prison make their first contact with their families. The film takes an observational approach to capturing the moments immediately before and after their release, showing three faces of the Roma community in contemporary Romania.  

Turn off the Lights

Ivana Mladenovic
Romania / 2012 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
A last year in 114 minutes
The director captures the final year in the life of the woman who helped raise him, as age slowly gets the best of her. The simple filming style, in which neither the camera nor the protagonist ever leaves her flat, results in an unusually intense and extremely personal record of time passing and the relationship with a loved one. It’s a raw yet formal testament that sensitively manages to avoid any trace of sentimental kitsch, leading the viewer on an emotional journey of the everyday reality of Buni’s days and her mercilessly worsening physical and psychological condition.DETAIL:They put a pencil inside a tea package. I don’t know why someone would put the pencil in there. To keep a journal each time that you are drinking tea? I just don’t get it. In a tea for diabetes...

A last year in 114 minutes

Daniel Nicolae Djamo
Romania / 2014 / 114 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
noimage
FilmHOPELESSNESS uses hand drawings, cutout animation, and pixilation to tell the story of a Romanian citizen who died in a Polish prison as the result of a hunger strike. In this politically engaged documentary, the protagonist describes his absurd tale: although no guilt was proven, he was imprisoned anyway. He decides that a hunger strike is the only way to preserve his humanity.

Crulic - The Path to Beyond

Anca Damian
Poland, Romania / 2011 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
noimage
FilmVIDEO-DIARY consists of audiovisual diaries by three Serbian university students (cinematography, art history, and diplomacy). The trio shows and comments on their life in an increasingly fractured society marked by war, corruption, violence, end unemployment. Their observations on life show an awareness of social conflicts, and reveal their subtle emotions and the extremes of joy and unhappiness, excitement and resignation.

Awakening

Irena Fabri
Serbia / 2011 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Transference
Set against the backdrop of the death of an abused child, the film sketches a dark picture of the state social care system for threatened children in Slovakia. This mosaic of interviews with people who run the system or who are enmeshed in it carries an openly critical appeal – not to aggressive parents or arrogant social workers, but to a non-functional system such as it is. In contrast to the system’s dehumanizing character, we meet Serafínka, who in her efforts to help others displays truly heroic enthusiasm. The film is characterized by the direct, non-manipulative way of filming the individual persons involved. DETAIL:“Despite the fact that this system doesn’t work, there are exceptions to the rule. This exception is Nurse Serafínka.”

Transference

Zuzana Piussi
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2014 / 57 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
noimage
FilmBOUT shows the journey of an old and lonely man who embodies Georgia’s past and present. The former wrestler, who once beat seven opponents in less than a minute, is a reminder of past fame, a patriotic symbol, for wrestling is Georgia’s national sport. Today, he is going to visit his mother’s grave, and he yearns to meet the woman he loved and lost 50 years ago.

Ramin

Audrius Stonys
Georgia, Latvia / 2011 / 58 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
We Come As Friends
The director flies into Sudan at the time of the referendum on dividing the country into two: Sudan and South Sudan. Rather than focusing on this political act, however, he focuses more on the economic and environmental exploitation of local resources by Western and Chinese companies, which has had immense consequences, from the desperate living conditions of the local inhabitants to corrupt and impassive public officials. A caustic exploration of the heart of darkness into which the country’s beauty and wealth are changed by those who “come as friends”.DETAIL:“Now you may start feeling strange. Strangeness penetrates you. It enters your heart. You recall some sinister memories that you prefer to forget. From now on you are complete stranger. You are an alien.”

We Come As Friends

Hubert Sauper
France, Austria / 2014 / 105 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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