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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlava dok cdf

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

I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin
An essay filmed against the backdrop of lyrical images of feather plucking or drawing with chalk presents the clerical orders of Islamic women and how they rein in their impure desires. As a subversive element of Islamic fundamentalism, the director recites a poem by Iranian feminist writer Forough Farrokhzad.
personal program

I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin

Maryam Tafakory
United Kingdom, Iran / 2018 / 8 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
time and love and I
They are happy together, but she gets a job offer in another country and he doesn’t want to go. He tries to sway her decision in his favour by offering to marry her… In its format, the film perhaps most closely resembles a music video, but besides music it also uses poetry and dance to tell its story. Shot on an iPhone 7 Plus. 
personal program

time and love and I

J Ashlee
United States / 2017 / 5 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
The Remembered Film
Reality disappears before our eyes – all that remains is what’s preserved in our memories, the retelling of which allows us to bring it back to life. Camera in hand, the experimental filmmaker explores this abstract process in a stylized documentary with young boys in military uniforms and stories of war.
personal program

The Remembered Film

Isabelle Tollenaere
Belgium / 2018 / 18 min.
section: Short Joy
Central European Premiere
Lotus
After a dam flooded a village in northern Iran, one island remained. There’s a grave on it. On a hill above the new lake, an old woman looks out at it. An intimate look at the daily routine of an Iranian woman who has survived modestly for twelve years alone in a house at the base of the mountain.  She waits for permission to visit the island.
personal program

Lotus

Mohammadreza Vatandoust
Iran / 2018 / 13 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
In the Frame
During the day, Oxana paints frames as a man; at night, she puts on her female skin. Oxana is a transsexual living in Moldova, where even expressions of tolerance towards sexual minorities can be dangerous. This short film is an intimate look at gender and at the social isolation of people denied to right to their own identity.
personal program

In the Frame

Ion Gnatiuc, Artiom Zavadovsky
France, Germany, Romania, Moldova / 2018 / 17 min.
section: Short Joy
Central European Premiere
First Feature
Saudi Arabian cinema only recently emerged from thirty-five years of being an underground phenomenon. Before it was legalized, Bentley Brown used his childhood home movie camera to record filmmakers working in the town of Jeddah. The film’s melancholy mood is underscored by the voiceover of the women who form most of the film crew.
personal program

First Feature

Bentley Brown
Saudi Arabia / 2018 / 14 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
Into Thin Air
What happens to women who mysteriously disappear? Are they ever seen again? Do state authorities investigate as they should, or are the only ones truly searching for the women the ones they left behind? A compilation film that reveals several periods in history during which scores of women disappeared without a trace under various circumstances.
personal program

Into Thin Air

Cristina Motta
Argentina / 2018 / 15 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
The Marshal’s Two Executions
The films confronts two different views of the execution of General Ion Antonescu, Romania’s leader during the Second World War. On one side is silent black-and-white footage of the execution as recorded in 1946 by cameraman Ovidiu Gologanl; on the other are scenes from a biographical film shot in 1994 by director Sergiu Nicolaescu.
personal program

The Marshal’s Two Executions

Radu Jude
Romania / 2018 / 10 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Research / Souvenir (Dialogues)
This documentary combines interviews with participants in ethnographic research led by the filmmaker personally with footage of his own personal reflections and insights. The recordings, gathered during the three years prior to the end of the authoritarian regime of Zimbabwean president Mugabe, is accompanied by 8mm footage of Rhodesia.
personal program

Research / Souvenir (Dialogues)

Roger Horn
Zimbabwe, South Africa / 2018 / 18 min.
section: Short Joy
Central European Premiere
Mum, I'm Sorry
The only things they left behind were their personal belongings. They speak volumes about what kind of people they were. What they liked. Who was close to them. What hobbies they had. A film without words. Footage of objects belonging to people who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the island of Lampedusa in 2013 and 2015 - people whose lives were extinguished for good.
personal program

Mum, I'm Sorry

Martina Melilli
Italy / 2017 / 17 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
The Cake
An observational look at the interaction between two elderly women: 100-year-old Ema and her six years younger sister Zosie. The camera sensitively documents how these two once famous hostesses try to bake a cake at their advanced age. In so doing, it offers a perceptive portrait of their personalities and their relationships.  
personal program

The Cake

Małgorzata Goździk
Poland / 2017 / 18 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
Landline
There’s a helpline just for gay farmers. Through authentic recordings and reconstructed situations, the film offers a glimpse into the issue of British gay men from rural areas. For farmers it’s difficult enough to admit their orientation to themselves, let alone to their not-so-gay-friendly surroundings. 
personal program

Landline

Matt Houghton
United Kingdom / 2017 / 12 min.
section: Short Joy
East European Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt
UPP
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