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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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A New Shift
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A New Shift

A New Shift

director: Jindřich Andrš
original title: Nová šichta
country: Czech Republic
year: 2020
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

The closure of the Paskov mine, 2017; drilling into coal mines in the Ostrava-Karviná district, once a tradition, is now becoming a thing of the past. The Nová šichta retraining program drives a laid-off miner, Tomáš Hisem, away from his pickaxe, jackhammer, football Baník matches and Padlock concerts and into the world of object-oriented programming. New opportunities and horizons lead to changes in his personal life and career. This tender portrait of an ordinary miner navigating his way through the labyrinth of the labour market reveals both the nooks and crannies of a performance-oriented society and the transforming industrial agglomerations. Strong will and determination prevail over the media simulacrum of retraining in an impressive struggle for the soul and the dignity of one working-class man.

Q&A with the director and crew:

biography

Jindřich Andrš (1994) is a debuting director and producer. He studied documentary film directing at FAMU and film studies at Charles University and Edinburgh Napier University. His short film The Last Shift of Tomáš Hisem earned him a Special Mention in the Czech Joy section at the 2017 Ji.hlava IDFF among other awards. Nová šichta - an intimate time-lapse portrait of a laid-off miner who decided to retrain as a programmer, is his feature-length debut. With A New Shift, he participated in international workshops for Ex Oriente, Doc Incubator CZ, and IDFA Academy. As a producer, he completed the short film Pripyat Piano - a poetic film from Chernobyl. Pripyat Piano received the Silver Eye Award in 2019.

more about film

director: Jindřich Andrš
producer: Milos Lochman, Augustina Micková
photography: Tomáš Frkal
editing: Lukáš Janičík
music: Eliška Cílková
sound: Šimon Herrmann

other films in the section

Batalives
Tomáš Baťa created unique factory production in the middle of a town that he had built for his employees complete with civic infrastructure. In line with this philosophy, the Baťa brothers set up dozens satellite town reminiscent of Zlín all over the world. Some of them still serve their original purpose, others stand as mere reminders of the famous factories. Poetic episodes take place in standard terrace houses that provide a video clip backdrop for young Croatians or symbolize the life devoted to Baťa in Batadorp, Netherlands. Five protagonists from different continents tell their overlapping stories influenced by the Baťa system. ‘Baťa’s motivational motto “Today a Dream, Tomorrow Reality”, painted in large letters on the wall that divided the factory from the town, has always seemed incredibly sad to me. It would be much better to live according to a motto “Today Reality, But Tomorrow a Dream”.’ K. Zalabáková

Batalives

Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Way the President Departs
The compilation documentary The Way the President Departstakes us back to the events surrounding the presidential elections in Czechoslovakia in 1992 that led to the dissolution of the federal republic. The film, which uses clips from Czechoslovak Television and Original Videojournal, focuses on the first elections, in which the sole candidate was Václav Havel. It is Havel himself who is the focus of the film. We see primarily his immediate reactions to the changing situation around the elections, whether those intended for the public or expressed within his circle of advisors. In addition to observations of an important Czech politician, the film evokes public life in the 1990s.“I am sure that for today’s audiences, this behind-the-scenes look at politics will be interesting and stimulating, and they will be surprised at how dramatically the political scene has changed.”

The Way the President Departs

Pavel Kačírek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 51 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse
This commentary on the collapse of civilization in four acts contains trace elements of Islamophobia, atheism, tabloid media, Mark Zuckerberg, mouldy bread, demonstrators, migrant labourers, Egyptologists and scepticism. An extensive exploration of the transcendental questions of a metastasising civilization, presented through microscopic examples from Czech society. The society of excess and collapse, illustrated through the simplicity of children’s games on a playground.Seen from a voyeur’s vantage point on a balcony, children’s games reveal complicated issues of civilization’s entropy – naive creatures as metaphors for complex and complicated social mechanisms of power, control and subjugation.

To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse

Andran Abramjan
Czech Republic / 2013 / 40 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Good Driver Smetana
An experiment involving engaged citizen Roman Smetana – the Olomouc bus driver who drew antennae on politicians’ billboards – expanded into an action drama about courage and (Švejk-like) determination. This feature-length film is an expanded version of an episode from the TV documentary series Czech Journal, and an embodiment of exemplary persistence in civic disobedience. In Smetana’s story, his personal convictions, court rulings, and the post-modern era’s media engineering all converge. In the role of an “ordinary citizen” robbed of 15 minutes of his time by two curious filmmakers, former Minister of Interior Ivan Langer responds with dialectical ease to a simple question: Can you tell the camera that you have never engaged in corruption?

The Good Driver Smetana

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák
Czech Republic / 2013 / 77 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Prison of Art
“Most prisoners like boxes.” The constrained nature of prisons opens up an infinitude of fantasies and free artistic expression. Environment determines means of expression. A project of confrontation and dialogue with artists from the outside shows radical diff erences and a conspiratory divergence from social norms. This essay on imaginary and physical freedom introduces us to the extreme thoughts of our own boundaries and limitations.  

The Prison of Art

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2012 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
White on White
White on White is director Viera Čákanyová’s video diary that she kept while staying at the Polish Antarctic station, where in 2017 she shot the film FREM (2019), whose main character was an artificial neural network. During her stay, the author chats with various artificial intelligences, leading conversations that touch on the nature of film, art, and the meaning of life while also revealing a way of thinking that’s free from humanity and from an emotionality that forces deep introspection. Footage from her routine, everyday life at the station contrasts with lyrical images of the immaculate Antarctic nature, which the author complements with her own commentary and thoughts provoked by the loneliness of the ice-covered landscape.   „How can you think something fundamentally inhuman? I'm making a film about artificial intelligence, but it's getting harder, more absurd. The Antarctic landscape works like a drug. Am I walking in the white darkness, looking for a sense of relief? I am matter with consciousness, far from thermodynamic equilibrium. That’s is the only thing I can report on.“ V. ČákanyováQ&A with the director Viera Čákanyová:
personal program

White on White

Viera Čákanyová
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Illusion
In her original concept of a film as a computer game, the author presents her personal report from Budapest where she was spent a year as a student. The viewers take part in a game, going through several levels that put them into everyday situations related to the issues of the contemporary Hungarian society: they see the capital with the eyes of tourists, but they are mostly forced to use the subjective perspective of the Hungarians to think about the freedom of art, the right to education, medical care, and the questionable Hungarian political situation in general where the name of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is often heard again and again.“The most demanding part of this film was to fight my own paranoia and the standardized thinking constantly produced by my characters and the system I made the film about.” K. Turečková

Illusion

Kateřina Turečková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík
The privatization and bankruptcy of the famous Poldi Kladno steel mill in the 1990s long left its mark on Czech society and the media. The FAMU graduate film returns to the affair many years later from the point of view of its main actors: Poldi Kladno’s CEO Vladimír Stehlík and his personal advisor Lubomír Krystlík. By juxtaposing their remarks with archival television videos, the film provides a humorous look at the ups and downs of two men who contributed extensively to building capitalism in post-1989 Bohemia and who are now learning the art of aging on their meager pensions. DETAIL:“You have to turn it into a show. Otherwise nobody will find it interesting. Also, there is no point in returning to the past. Document it and enough.” “And how should we turn it into a show?” “For instance by taking a picture of Stehlík’s teeth.”

Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík

Tomáš Potočný
Czech Republic / 2015 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Near Far East
This film about the situation in presentday war-torn Ukraine originated over the course of a year as the director’s travel journal. Ukrainian teacher Tania, who works in Prague as a cleaning lady, takes the fi lmmaker along to visit her family in Transcarpathia. The director also meets with his friends who are local journalists, and with Petr, a revolutionary who gives an atypical tour of the residence of Viktor Yanukovuch. Observational, mostly static shots, in which Remunda appears only occasionally as a witness or moderator, is accompanied by his off-screen commentary offering reflections on his own relationship with Ukraine and with the media in general.DETAIL:“Drug addicts have been eradicated as a social class. So there’s none here.” “And where are they?” “I’d say they’ve gone for treatment. They’re sick people. They should be treated. There are all kinds of ways. They’ll get a shovel and dig trenches.”

Czech Journal: Near Far East

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2015 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
noimage
FilmPLACE, inspired by the famous collection of stories by Jan Neruda, returns to the same Prague neighborhood in order to compare its current state with the spirit of a place that (because it is required reading) has imprinted itself on the Czech unconscious. This collage of people and often tragicomic scenes is not just about memory, but provides an unfiltered look at the social changes etched into the old houses.

Tales of the Lesser Quarter 130 Later

Jakub Wagner
Czech Republic / 2011 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
noimage
FilmPOLITICIAN goes in search of the reasons for the negative media image of Jiří Paroubek. The former head of the Social Democrats and former prime minister was frequently ridiculed and caricatured as the embodiment of evil and a repulsive person who was leading the country to hell. The filmmaker printed out the best-known picture of him and went to ask journalists, techno-fans, and Paroubek himself.

Paroubek with a Thousand Faces

Jan Látal
Czech Republic / 2011 / 35 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Incoming
It’s 4903 km to the Czech town of Aš, but in Logar, Afghanistan, the main distance that the Czech team is trying to overcome is cultural. Talking heads ponder how to pass on know-how in a country wracked by 30 years of war, but more than once a siren tears the filmmakers and main protagonists back to reality, and there follows a far more dynamic spectacle. “Every day, we travel to hell. We put on vests and ballistic eyewear. We look like robots. We step out of those enormous vehicles like aliens.” In such a situation, taking off your helmet is an act of courage and humanity.

Incoming

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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