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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Sea of Shadows
Sea of Shadows
Sea of Shadows
Sea of Shadows
Sea of Shadows

Sea of Shadows

director: Richard Ladkani
original title: Sea of Shadows
country: Austria
year: 2018
running time: 105 min.

synopsis

A fierce struggle for the preservation of an ecosystem is taking place in the Gulf of California. A Mexican drug cartel had discovered the so-called “sea cocaine” – a rare fish called totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) that has become the central article of the multi-million-dollar business with the Chinese mafia. To hunt these fish, the criminals use illegal nets, killing other animals, including the smallest whale in the world, the highly endangered vaquita. The dramatic documentary thriller shows the fierce fight of undercover investigators, environmentalists, journalists, and the Mexican Navy in an attempt to save the vaquita from extinction at the last minute.

"By illuminating the problem through cinematic storytelling while offering solutions and captivating heroes with a cause, I hope to help save our this ecosystem, which is on the verge of total collapse" R. Ladkani  

biography

Richard Ladkani (1973) is a recognized director and cinematographer. His distinctive “fly-on-the-wall” style and a direct connection with his film protagonists have earned him numerous international awards. His film The Ivory Game (2016) was shortlisted for an Academy Award Oscar. For Malaika Pictures, he produces films that show and reflect the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

more about film

director: Richard Ladkani
producer: Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler
editing: Georg Michael Fischer, Verena Schönauer
music: H. Scott Salinas
sound: Roland Winkler

other films in the section

Acid Forest
The Curonian Spit is a destination for both tourists and cormorants. The camera follows visitors from a bird’s-eye view. Their sensations become part of the place’s biodiversity. The ancient birds are – for now – turning into feared bearers of ruin. This observational document looks upon a spectacular part of the continent, the main attraction of which is its dead forest.

Acid Forest

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Lithuania / 2018 / 63 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
The question is not whether we have to change, but whether we are taking the necessary steps quickly enough. Renewable energy or nuclear? Neither the people nor the politicians can make up their minds. The ice is melting. Trump is calling people back to the coal mines. All this is shown against the backdrop of a “green tour” by former Vice President Al Gore of the USA, who calls for a revolution before the deluge comes.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
United States / 2017 / 99 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Wilder than Wilderness
An expedition into the Czech countryside reveals the adventurous stories of plants and animals that take place all around us, and explores fascinating places where nature is returning after being devastated by man. The film, narrated by the filmmaker, captures the true wildness of nature and the course of filming.

Wilder than Wilderness

Marián Polák
Czech Republic / 2017 / 81 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Earth
Spectacular images show several mining sites in Europe and North America. The relief-like terrain created by heaving machinery shows that man is changing the world like to other species before. Interviewed by the camera, the workers describe the pragmatic reasons for mining and they joy they feel from their work, but also reflect on their negative impacts on life on Earth. The interviews are made more powerful by seemingly neutral static shots of the changing landscape. The fascinating spectacle resembling a work of abstract art lays bare the unparalleled facts of life in this new wasteland and remind us of the consequences our planet suffers because of our modern way of life. “If we regard the Earth as an organism, then the Earth's crust - its skin which is its most delicate organ. I wanted to take a closer look at the wounds we are inflicting upon the Earth.” N. Geyrhalter     
personal program

Earth

Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Austria / 2019 / 115 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
The human approach has brought the planet Earth to a borderline called sixth mass extinction by scientists. Along with contemporary philosophies of thinkers such as Timothy Morton, calling for a radical change of the human relationship to the nature, the alarming fact has roused three documentarians to create a film that would be completely different from all the films showing beautiful landscapes and animals and would rather focus on everything that has been destroying this beauty. The suggestive shots of the places from all around the world that are most affected by extractions and industry serve as a proof of human short-sightedness and together with the highly-informative and brooding voice-over, they call for a last-minute change. “Sometimes you need to go up in the sky to convey place, but if you stay up there all the time, you float away from what is meaningful.” E. Burtynsky, J. Baichwal, N. de Pencier   
personal program

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch

Nicholas de Pencier, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky
Canada / 2018 / 87 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
The Dispossessed
The camera’s steadfast gaze carefully follows the toil of small-scale farmers across the globe and records speeches by representatives of food conglomerates and supporters of sustainable development. The documentary essay uncovers the pyramid of an agriculture industry interested only in profit, with no regard for the nutritional needs of man and the soil.

The Dispossessed

Mathieu Roy
Switzerland, Canada / 2017 / 182 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
World Premiere
Nature: All Rights Reserved
The autumn landscape on glass in an office, virtual 3D tropical motifs or static palm trees in a dentist’s waiting room. This original collage of motionless simulations of the outside world, accompanied by an authentic mix of sounds, uses ironic imagery to explore the role of depictions of nature in relaxing the inhabitants of overtechnologised urban centres.

Nature: All Rights Reserved

Sebastian Mulder
Netherlands / 2016 / 21 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Becoming Animal
This philosophical film-essay explores the relationship between man and nature through long scenes of the mountainous landscape of the American West. A quiet meditation on the imperfect perception of reality, the search for the meaning of life, and finding harmony in the world around us, accompanied by a voiceover of the filmmakers’ views and philosophical commentary. 

Becoming Animal

Peter Mettler, Emma Davie
Switzerland, United Kingdom / 2018 / 78 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
To the Unknown
The flora and fauna of Madagascar fascinate scientists from all over the world. Some spend their entire lives exploring the island. This visually captivating documentary follows several researchers during their work in the inhospitable conditions of the rainforest. A film reflection on the enthusiasm and patience of individuals hungry for the discovery of the unknown. 

To the Unknown

Liinu Grönlund
Finland / 2017 / 30 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
Do Animals Have Rights ?
Can animals defend their rights in court? Symbolic film sequences frame philosophical and cultural-historical searching for the roots of today’s position of farm animals as products of the food industry and the attempt to give them equal rights in the context of new scientific discoveries and political struggles in the EU.

Do Animals Have Rights ?

Martin Blanchard
France / 2016 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
East European Premiere
Wild Relatives
This observational film essay on our relations with the natural wealth is based on a real event and seed banks storing quantities of seeds of various plants in case of a global catastrophe. The film documents three places with different traditions related to the land – Aleppo, Lebanon, and Svalbard.

Wild Relatives

Jumana Manna
Lebanon, Norway, Germany / 2018 / 66 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Central European Premiere
Welcome to Sodom
They call it Sodom. A hell for people. A paradise for business. The world’s biggest dump of electronic waste is teeming with noises of people working. They rummage, collect, recover and burn down. An impressive apocalyptic tableau on meticulous work within a new economic segment. A disconcerting testimony on life conditions.

Welcome to Sodom

Florian Weigensamer, Christian Krönes
Austria / 2018 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Nature
Czech Premiere
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