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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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First Feature
First Feature

First Feature

director: Bentley Brown
original title: Awwal Filim
country: Saudi Arabia
year: 2018
running time: 14 min.

synopsis

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.

biography

Bentley Brown’s (1987) films have been shown at festivals such as the Berlinale or Rotterdam. He taught film and interactive media at Saudi Arabia’s first university-level programme for women.

more about film

director: Bentley Brown
producer: Mai Alshaibani
editing: Bentley Brown

other films in the section

The Holiday Inn-Side
Using simple animation with outline figures and objects against a dark background that evokes nightmares, an anonymous 16-year-old youth, a repeat offender at a correctional facility for juveniles, recounts his criminal past caused by traumatic experiences with domestic abuse within his family.

The Holiday Inn-Side

Charby Ibrahim
Australia / 2018 / 20 min.
section: Short Joy
European 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
Beyond the World
At the funeral of her grandmother, Yanlin, a young Chinese girl, learns that the deceased was a medium – and was possessed by a spirit named Gong. The film is Yanlin’s personal confessional – she never believed in the existence of miracles, but is now becoming interested in the world of spiritualism and finding out who Gong was in order to understand her grandmother better.

Beyond the World

Yanlin Li
United Kingdom / 2018 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Calling Ukraine
An older woman living in Latvia regularly Skypes with her sister and daughter, who are stranded in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine, helplessly listening to their woes. Close-ups of her troubled face alternating with photographs from her family archives testify to the impact of armed conflict on specific human fates.DETAIL:“In some neighbourhoods people have been hiding in basements since August 3rd. Without water. Without electricity. We had electricity for 24 hours. And then the Ukrainian army blew it up again.”

Calling Ukraine

Jean Counet
Netherlands / 2015 / 12 min.
section: Short Joy
East European Premiere
The Devil
This unconventional, musically conceived human rights documentary looks at the period African-American revolt in the 1950s and '60s. Full of energy, it resounds with the song The Devil by the French band Boogers, which forms a counterpoint to the archival footage of the struggle against racial segregation and discrimination.Images of dug-up streets, black children, their faces. Slowly, the guitars start playing a wild electro-pop: "If you look upon my face, you are watching now the devil." And the children's faces are replaced by their fathers'.

The Devil

Jean-Gabriel Périot
France / 2012 / 7 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
Mečiar
The symbol of a divided Czechoslovakia. An authoritarian autocrat whom everyone has forgotten about. The film follows Vladimír Mečiar in his retirement, in villa, alone. His two opponents watch him on film. Where did Slovakia’s schizophrenia start? In his Villa Elektra, Mečiar is building his own little Slovakia: Hlinka, Jesus, and sausages. Privatization, kidnappings, and the night of long knives. What really happened in Slovakia in the 1990s?

Mečiar

Tereza Nvotova
Czechoslovakia / 2013 / 40 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Transit
This silent portrait of a multipurpose compound that serves as a storage site, maximum security space, and luxury showroom slowly turns into a bizarre black-and-white science-fiction movie with the building as the main character. Despite its abstract nature, the meticulously composed rhythmic combination of austere, carefully framed shots lacking any other context is a fitting architectural commentary on the spirit of our era.

Transit

Mandy Krebs
Germany, Luxembourg / 2016 / 11 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Coal & Cossacks
A festive parade of Cossacks, solid in their pride, flows down the street in slow motion just as the coal flows down the conveyer belt. In all its massive and monstrous beauty, the giant steel mining equipment represents strength and security just as the Cossack army under God’s protection. A group of Cossacks, priests and boys halts before a church. Sabres touch the children’s shoulders and the boy is kissed. He wipes his lips with a handkerchief. A small festive moment, like when the coal is transported to the harbour.

Coal & Cossacks

Frédéric Cousseau
France / 2013 / 8 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Benghazi Stories
Three micro-stories from contemporary Libya – specifically the town of Benghazi, stigmatised by the terrorist attack on the American consulate and the death of the American ambassador – present the city during a time of change and offer a look at the life of a used-car salesman, a fisherman on the sea, and a young doctor as she learns to drive a car. Seen from the air, the cars covered in a fine layer of dust and sand look like toy cars lined up on a shelf. In the words of the jovial salesman, "you can still smell the factory."

Benghazi Stories

Omar Bushiha, Farag Akwedir, Ibrahim Algouri
United Kingdom, Libya / 2012 / 12 min.
section: Short Joy
Central European Premiere
Stop and Go
A look at the Balkans migration route in December 2015. Throngs of refugees make their way to Dobova, Slovenia. They get on the waiting buses in an orderly fashion and enter the system. The Slovenian government has had the journey under control for a month. Confined to a single file line, the migrants go through checks, inspections, and wait for the next step.

Stop and Go

Ralph Kronauer, Giovanni Pannico
Germany, Italy / 2017 / 15 min.
section: Short Joy
Central European Premiere
The Red Carpet
In this uniquely positive film, young Rubina is a dealer of the happiness experienced within the conditions of the slum – a wonderful place to be born if you don't mind that malaria isn't always such a great thing. A probe into an anthill full of wide-eyed children, contented dirt, sewing machines and trash, from where one can make it all the way to the Oscar ceremony. Houses like scattered, torn, and rain-soaked cardboard boxes under the palm trees. Children in the streets and hidden alleyways, on the train tracks, in such numbers that nobody dares to purchase chocolate to hand out to the poor children; there would be too much.

The Red Carpet

Iosu López, Manuel Fernández
Spain, India / 2012 / 11 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
Return to Adriaport
In 1975, Czech professor of economics Karel Žlábek, in collaboration with engineers from Pragoprojekt, designed and calculated the shortest route for linking Czechoslovakia with the Adriatic Sea via a tunnel. The plan called for spoilage from the tunnel – which would have led beneath the territories of Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Slovenia – to be used to construct an artificial island in the Adriatic Sea. The island, which was to be called Adriaport, would have belonged to Czechoslovakia. This scripted documentary tells the story of professor Žlábek's meeting with President Gustáv Husák in order to convince him of his vision.

Return to Adriaport

Adéla Babanová
Czech Republic / 2013 / 13 min.
section: Short Joy
Czech Premiere
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