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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Optimism
Optimism
Optimism
Optimism
Optimism
Optimism
Optimism
Optimism

Optimism

director: Deborah Stratman
original title: Optimism
country: United States, Canada
year: 2018
running time: 15 min.

synopsis

Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory abounds in goldmines and lack of sunshine. This portrait of the town is an audiovisual collage on the search for the sun and gold, history, and the everyday realities of its inhabitants. The atmosphere of cold, snowy Canada infuses the film with a dark mood reminiscent of Twin Peaks.

biography

Deborah Stratman (1967) is a film director and artist working in Chicago. She focuses on power relations in society and environmentalism. Optimism premiered at the Berlinale in 2018.

more about film

director: Deborah Stratman
producer: Deborah Stratman
photography: Deborah Stratman
editing: Deborah Stratman
music: Charlie Chaplin
sound: Deborah Stratman

other films in the section

Cockpit
An observational documentary follows cockfighting on the Indonesian island of Bali. It creates a scathing denunciation of senseless violence against animals, fed by a betting frenzy. It does so not by depicting the fights themselves, but rather primarily through rapid cuts between gestures, movements, and facial expressions of the enthusiastic onlookers.DETAIL:It’s over, the cockfight is over. While punters in the audience exchange and count their money, the injured cock still lies in the ring, unable to fly.

Cockpit

Luke Malone
Indonesia / 2015 / 4 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Pampa del Istmo
“(Where) do the places we remember exist?” asks Camila Ausente in the opening of her ten-minute documentary search for an answer to this question. The film combines repeating images from Mexico with oral memories of her father's childhood in Argentina.

Pampa del Istmo

Camila Ausente
Argentina, Mexico / 2018 / 11 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
I Wish
By tradition, the head of state addresses his citizens on state holidays. Over the many decades of his reign, the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, gave many such speeches. A political study in the form of a short archival film, Ojalá reveals a persistent consistency in the well-wishes and promises of a monarchy far removed from real life.

I Wish

Antonio Anton
Spain / 2016 / 6 min.
section: Short Joy
East European Premiere
The Horses of a Cavalry Captain
This politico-aesthetic essay is based on found footage from the filmmaker’s family archive. The horrifying parallel between horse breeding and the Nazi racial ideology takes on sharp contours thanks to the dry commentary and the montages of seemingly meaningless, coldly real images, which do not allow the film to drop down to the level of a mental or emotional exploitation of the topic.

The Horses of a Cavalry Captain

Clements von Wedemeyer
Germany / 2015 / 11 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
For a Better Life
A woman sells her five-year-old son to a French tourist for 100 dollars, but the dream of a better life turns into years of physical and sexual abuse. This animated film looks at young Fekri’s journey during the most vulnerable years of his life. Can he recover enough to leave his family?

For a Better Life

Yasmin Mistry
United States / 2018 / 10 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
The Still Life of Vera
The lost magic of postcards is explored on film in this FAMU student exercise. A mosaic composed of seasonal motifs and short messages illustrates the relationship of several people to Věra. The passage of time is shown only by the change in the heads of state on the postage stamps. Will the mysterious recipient be found?DETAIL:“My dear Mrs. Bechyňová, I found a box with 254 postcards in an antique bookshop on Spálená Street. They were all addressed to you and were being sold for one crown each. P.S. Is anything wrong with you?”

The Still Life of Vera

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2015 / 9 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Blue sky from pain
This film gives one of the many refugees who were unjustly imprisoned in detention centers located close to European borders a chance to tell his story. His horrifying experience is reflected in the static, well-composed, deep focus shots, which reveal traces of lingering suffering in the abandoned buildings.

Blue sky from pain

Hyacinthe Pavlides, Stephanos Mangriotis
Greece, France / 2016 / 14 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
My God Never Dies
Nearly twenty years ago, a Muslim refugee whose face we don’t get to see crossed the border of Myanmar, a country plagued by ethnic-religious conflict. He has since been unsuccessfully applying for asylum in Japan. Deprived of the opportunity to work and live outside a refugee facility, the now-40-year-old man turns to Allah as his last hope for human dignity.
personal program

My God Never Dies

Daichi Amano
Japan / 2019 / 17 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Cablestreet
The documentary captures a data cable from Chinese company Huawei being laid out onto the seabed floor. Two robot-like voiceovers – English and Mandarin – reflect on the nature of technology and how they overlap with business, war, politics and society. They are not given any explicit identity and it can be interpreted as a conversation of artificial intelligence or as a symbolic dialogue between the US and China in the midst of a Cold War for technology.
personal program

Cablestreet

Meredith Lackey
United States / 2018 / 19 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
New Life
This minimalist portrait of young parents offers a voyeuristic look at their daily routine. The intimate scenes, dominated by just two colors (grey and red) and shot using a slow zoom, are accompanied by the sounds of the city and barely audible dialogues.DETAIL:“I now remember my dream, daddy. You were at work. I was across the street. Helping some lady I think. I don't really know why. I don't remember. But I was afraid.”

New Life

Kiro Russo
Bolivia / 2015 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
East European Premiere
Consumed
This short accompaniment to the intermedia project Serial Narratives reveals the real price of cheap goods from China. The testimony of an anonymous worker harmonized with hypnotic images draws attention to the frighteningly elaborate choreography as all phases of manufacturing process undergo rigorous mechanization.

Consumed

Richard Seymour
United Kingdom, China / 2016 / 19 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
The Little One
An unusual animated documentary of the experiences of young Vietnamese who have spent their entire lives in the Czech Republic, living between two cultures. The drawn animation style allows the filmmaker to give the film a natural emotionality, intimacy and poetic stylization.

The Little One

Diana Cam Van Nguyen
Czech Republic / 2017 / 10 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
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