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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Refugees Are Welcome Here
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Refugees Are Welcome Here
Refugees Are Welcome Here
Refugees Are Welcome Here
Refugees Are Welcome Here

Refugees Are Welcome Here

director: Tomáš Rafa
original title: Refugees Are Welcome Here
country: Slovakia
year: 2020
running time: 97 min.

synopsis

"Open the borders," chant democratically-minded people in Berlin and frustrated refugees behind the barbed wire of makeshift camps. Encounters with empathic volunteers and clashes with repressive state forces and hostile ultra-right citizens are woven together in a crooked trajectory. The director focuses on the dramatic atmosphere of the unenviable presence and uncertain future of the refugees through direct immersion into emotionally tense events. Without hijacking events with commentary or standing in the position of a distant witness, the film allows the viewer to become a direct participant in the path to freedom through in-your-face camera work.
 
 
"When you're filming between ultra-right groups, the most important thing is to act as if you belong there and keep calm. I don’t take part in the discussion, I record their statements because they want me to, I never ask them questions. T. Rafa

biography

Artist, photographer and director Tomáš Rafa (1979) studied at the Academy of Arts in Bánská Bystrica (Slovakia) and Warsaw. Since 2009, he has been documenting growing nationalism and neo-fascism in the former Visegrad region. In his native Slovakia, he is involved in the transformation of "sports walls" surrounding Roma communities into street art galleries. Since 2015, he has focused on a European solution to the refugee crisis. His projects have been on display at the Prague and Berlin Biennials as well as the MoMa PS1 Gallery in New York.

more about film

director: Tomáš Rafa
producer: Združenie Art Aktivista
photography: Tomáš Rafa
editing: Tomáš Rafa

other films in the section

This is a war, baby
Without showing any explicit battle footage, this film nevertheless manages to show the life of Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers on the Donetsk front. Images of ruin and destruction from places that only recently were the scenes of fighting are transformed into a tragicomic parable of survival in a provisional space-time. Looting is a daily occurrence, and going out in search of booty becomes a boyish adventure during which the participants explore places only recently inhabited by private individuals. And when all this is recorded by a Polish television crew headed by a canny female reporter, an existential satire is born. The war is there, but somewhere around the corner."The most difficult thing for me in creating this film was the choice between my personal sympathies and the desire to present the most objective picture of the war I saw in front of me." Y. Pupyrin

This is a war, baby

Yurii Pupirin
Ukraine / 2017 / 59 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
365 days, also known as a Year
Day after day, images of film life in the author's collage glued together from fragments of feature films flow at a frame rate in which the date of the day appears in various forms. The original jigsaw puzzle shows what one year of diverse film footage might look like. The selection of scenes by calendar key is an interesting probe into the history of cinematography in different countries, a showcase of moods and diverse styles of film narration. The link between the selected scenes is a certain urgency connected with the realization of a specific date, whether such a date denotes a historical milestone or a simple act of brushing one’s teeth. „365 Days' can be perceived simply as a recycled fiction story. As a video essay it discovers meaning of calendar dates for cinema and invites to think about life, memory and time.“ D. Bondarchuk 

365 days, also known as a Year

Dmytro Bondarchuk
Ukraine / 2019 / 99 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
New Life of Family Album
  In 2005, documentary filmmaker Adam Oľha’s father decided to leave his wife and six children in order to start a new life. As the oldest of the siblings and the only remaining man in the family, Adam explores his father’s old photographs, compares them with the present, and tries to discover what led to such a radical decision. He traces his parents’ relationship from its beginnings, reveals problems in communication between husband and wife at a particular time, and observes how they are reflected in the lives of his sisters.  

New Life of Family Album

Adam Oľha
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2012 / 80 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Mirage
Dubai becomes the setting for an audiovisual meditation contrasting the majestic and exuberant life of the big city with the uneasy and cheerless life of its inhabitants. The film captures Dubai after the economic crisis has interrupted an era of feverish construction, and creates a delicate impression where long rides through town alternate with close-ups of women lying on the beach and images of sandstorms burying construction workers.  

Mirage

Srđan Keča
United Kingdom, Serbia / 2011 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Between Us
Various forms of partnerships, love, and intimacy are examined in a detailed empathic study by a young female director. The film is riddled with themes of a lack of freedom, emotional scars from previous relationships, cheating, and gender fluidity. With the help of structured conversations between three couples, who read each other questions prepared by the director, and archival footage of their everyday family and romantic life, we gradually get a comprehensive picture of a contemporary love life.    "Marcel: What are you most afraid of?  Carolina: Spiders. And that you’ll end up leaving me."  from Between Us (32:00-32:06)Q&A with the director of Between us Dorota Proba:
personal program

Between Us

Dorota Proba
Poland / 2020 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Blind Cinema
An unusual group sets sail from St. Petersburg to Finland. The crew, which consists of vision-impaired people and people with normal eyesight, learns to work together in order to successfully complete their undertaking. The observational documentary shows the crew’s first contact with the boat, which is done by touch, and then follows their daily routine while at sea. The disinterested camera records a reality that overcomes our prejudices regarding the helplessness of blind people. The problem-free journey gives the sailors space for new sensations. Excerpts from the ship’s log show us aspects of the mission – i.e., the transformation of oneself that can change the world. „What do you see when you cannot see? How do you interact with a world with fewer visual elements to distract you? Blind Cinema explores the realm of sightless people who sail the sea and expand the boundaries of self.” G. Glyants

Blind Cinema

Grigory Glyants
Russia / 2017 / 50 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Our Daily Water
Drinking water deliveries by boat to remote Croatian islands is a great opportunity to observe often humorous daily life. Especially when the ship’s captain has a tendency to make coarse comments, regaling his young nephew, the newest member of the crew, with his choleric outbursts. Our Daily Water is an observational film, but it gives inner energy and humor to its protagonists. The film’s creators successfully convey the atmosphere of lazy days along the hot Croatian coast and the explosive temperament of the locals."Through this Mediterranean comedy about a Captain and his crew I wanted to tell a story of invisible people who work honestly in order to prevent our country from becoming an "accidental state"." V. Vorkapić

Our Daily Water

Vlatka Vorkapic
Croatia / 2018 / 57 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
When New Year Comes on Shabbat
A cinematic collage about people caught between two worlds. An empathetic look at a physical journey and the melodramas of a journey that is spiritual. Nikita Pavlov emigrated from Russia to Israel because he always wanted to experience life in another country. Street protests, political activism, and his daughter’s first steps are captured without any chronological context, separated only by Pavlov’s thoughts and ideas. A cinematic diary that attempts to piece together a hypothetical picture of the filmmaker’s future.  

When New Year Comes on Shabbat

Nikita Pavlov
Russia / 2012 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Calling
Fathers Gabriel, Vicilentius, and Nazari, three monks of varying ages living at the Orthodox Pochayiv Lavra monastery in Ukraine, spend their time in isolation from the world. Nevertheless, they all came here after having lived a worldly life, and so they harbor memories of the turbulent recent history of their homeland. The film brings these memories to life against the backdrop of their daily routine within the monastery’s majestic architecture. The quiet, meditative observation of the monks’ rituals, work, and free time creates a sympathetic portrait of a place and its inhabitants, using snippets of life to offer a glimpse into their existence. “This film is shows a metamorphosis of a human individual who abandoned the worldly life and decided to follow God.” E. Praus

The Calling

Erik Praus
Slovakia / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Looking for Mr. Dice
Many years ago, the film’s director and the man nicknamed Mr. Dice were best friends. In a whirlwind of parties, the famous musician and the influential banker were carried on a wave of the euphoria of wild capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The bank, however, led by Mr. Dice, went bankrupt and he disappeared without a trace with the money that his friends and clients had entrusted to him. Here begins the documentary search that leads us on an adventure from Latvia to the heat of Africa and far beyond the crime, guilt, and betrayal. It is also a search for the sense of deep friendship and the struggle with common sense and conventional moral categories. "I hope the film makes the audience to think what it really means "a true friendship” when money gets involved, as well as shows an ordinary man’s struggle through the abstract glory of diamonds." K. Roga

Looking for Mr. Dice

Kaspars Roga
Latvia / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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