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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

One of today’s main challenges is to feed mankind without sacrificing our planet. In order to do this we need to stop destroying rainforests and other ecosystems. We should introduce new technology to make the economy more effective and ensure more efficient and better planned use of resources, reduce substantially our water and meat consumption, and find ways of limiting food industry waste. Easier said than done!

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SCHEDULE

wednesday 28. 10.
18.30–19.30 | Europe’s Green Restoration: Will Czechia Remain a Periphery?

monday 2. 11.
18.30–19.30 | Culture for All the Money
20.30–21.30 | Zero Ground

friday 6. 11. 
18.30–19.30 | New Puzzle on the Plate

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GUESTS

       

Jan Čulík (CZ)

Entrepreneur from Tábor, Czech Republic. He is the owner of the Vinný Bar and Thir bistro, which focuses on natural wines and works with local farmers. He also owns a similarly locally-minded pub Výčep. He organizes two festivals: Naše chutě (Our Tastes) festival focusing on cooperation between farmers and restaurants and Bottled Alive festival, which presents natural winemakers from Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. He founded the Tábor Wine Merchants Guild and became its guild master. He co-founded the Jíme Jih (Eat South) platform, which brings together locally-minded restaurants from southern Bohemia. Together with Ivo Laurin, he organizes the gastronomy symposium Počátky in Sudkův důl. He graduated with a degree in international relations from the Faculty of Social Studies in Brno.

How would you describe your work and goals in the context of changing how we eat?
I try to bring my customers the story behind each product - not made-up fairy tales, but rather in the sense of traceability of origin. The winemakers and farmers I work with have a sustainable and environmentally responsible mindset. They continue the traditions of their ancestors and return the landscape in which they farm to its normal state, the way it was before the intensive and depersonalized agriculture of the 1950s. I also strive to increase the social status of people working in agriculture - to make it sexy for young people to start a pig farm. What’s more, there are a number of gastronomical approaches that we use here - such as no waste, nose-to-tail eating, fermentation, circularity - these are all tools to treat the resources we have at our disposal more gently and responsibly.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
What’s crucial is the support for small family farms in order to make farming attractive for young people, to encourage them to move from cities to the countryside and start farming. At the moment, it takes a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of nearly self-sacrifice. The national agricultural policy must be geared towards the smallest farms. This doesn’t mean primarily financial support. What’s important are administrative, legislative, and substantive changes. The more the Czech countryside becomes a mosaic of small family producers that have some relationship to the place where they farm, the more the landscape - and we - will prosper. Water retention in the landscape, erosion, improved economic conditions in border areas, synergies between urban and rural areas - all these issues can be solved if agricultural conditions are more favorable for smaller, rather than larger, companies.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
I was quite impressed by the audiobook Images from the Cultural History of Central Europe by Martin C. Putna - plenty of information and interdisciplinarity. I attended a symphony concert led by violinist Jan Mráček in the Tábor theater as part of the Klasici v Táboře festival - that was a lovely experience. Violinist Tomáš Hubka has organized this festival for many years.

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Jesicca Fanzo (USA)

The Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, the UN High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition, and the EAT Lancet Commission. Before coming to Hopkins, she has also held positions at Columbia University, the Earth Institute, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN World Food Programme, Bioversity International, and the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya.

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Anna Kárníková (CZ)

Director of the prominent environmental organization Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic). Anna has worked in the non-profit sector since 2018, prior to which she headed the Center for Transport and Energy. Between 2014 and 2017, she headed the Department for Sustainable Development at the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, which ensured coordination across ministries on the sustainable development agenda. Anna and her team prepared the Czech Republic 2030 development strategy.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the area of environment?
Our job is to find key points in the system and work on them to enable the transformation from fossil fuels to maintaining functional ecosystems. We therefore focus on moving away from coal, pushing renewable sources, stabilizing forests after the bark beetle calamity, and stopping soil degradation and the disintegration of the countryside.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I consider the current situation to be high-risk - the basic consensus on how society should function, and thus its further direction, is falling apart. What has caused this situation has not yet been well-defined. But it’s linked to growing inequalities, existential anxiety, and the undignified existence of an ever-increasing group of people. If we are unable to settle these huge structural debts, it will be very difficult to tackle such fundamental changes that things like climate change require.

Which publications and creative works have resonated with you the most this year?
I don't get much of a chance to read new books, so it wasn’t until this summer that I was able to read Elena Ferrante and Sally Rooney. I also like to read science fiction, such as the Southern Reach trilogy and the fascinating Three Body Problem, or even classics like Neuromancer. I follow the discussions surrounding the future of the left in the Czech Republic and in the world quite closely, such as the anthologies Velvet Future or Future, or the discussions around the publication of the essay Secrets of the Left, on the transformation of the economic system and the further development of capitalism, e.g. Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth or Inventing the Future by Nick Srnick and Alex Williams. I also read a little about artificial intelligence, such as the relatively accessible The Most Human Human from Brian Christian. As far as professional literature is concerned, I read George Monbiot on an ongoing basis, and I also find recent contributions to the discussion on climate movement strategies interesting, such as Brecher's Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual, Latour's Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, or Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals by Jonathan Smucker.

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Alena Malíková (CZ)

Alena graduated from Brno College of Agriculture (today's Mendel University). After working for the government (environmental protection, the agricultural agency), she worked at the Bioinstitut, o.p.s. (public benefit organisation) in Olomouc. Currently, she's a very active retiree.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of sustainable agriculture and food consumption?
My goals in the context of sustainable agriculture: My whole life, I've been interested in the effects of human activities on landscapes, especially agricultural ones (land management, biodiversity, landscape structure, beauty). I try to help create a space for dialog and to look for shared solutions related to the theme of bioregions and the effects of local communities. I am aware of the necessity of cooperation and the awareness of human connection to nature, and the necessity of careful land management.
Specifically:
- With my friends, I founded the
VIKTORINA LOCA Cooperative in Příbor in 2017, which runs a cooperative package-free store with mostly local organic foods. We also introduce the farmers who supply our goods to our customers and educate them on the importance of supporting local farmers.
- Since 2018, I've headed the Příbor City Council Committee for the Environment where we are currently starting to work on “A Vision for the Landscape We Live In”.
- I co-founded and cooperate with the
Pro půdu foundation (board of directors)
- In 2020 I was invited to cooperate with the board of Hnutí DUHA
- I cooperate with
Svodobný statek na soutoku (supervisory board)
- Since 2000, I've been the manager of the Moravian Gate Center of the Association of Ecological Farmers
- As a continuation of my work at the Olomouc Bioinstitute, I contribute to the
Olomouc Bioinstitute YouTube channel by publishing documentaries on soil and ecologically aware agriculture.

In the light of the current situation, what do you consider important and what issues should we as a society pay serious attention to?
It would be great if the society (but how should we understand this term?) created an environment which is supportive of every individual's effort to understand what they can/want to do for themselves and therefore, for the society. To understand one's own existence and responsibility, and the beauty of life on Earth.

What did you find most appealing in this years' book or art production (in general and in the context of your field of work)?
Books: Helena Norberg-Hodge's Local Is Our Future which is being translated to Czech and which I only know in part. Art production: At the unique Days of New Opera, Ostrava 2020, an opera entitled NO 50 (The Garden) by Richard Ayres.

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Ladislav Miko (CZ/SK)

Expert in environmental protection, Czech Minister of the Environment in Fischer's government from May to November 2009, vice-president of the LES party since 2017. One of the highest-ranking Czechs in the EU administration. Since 2005, he has worked at the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission as the Director of the Department for the Protection of Natural Resources and Biodiversity. From 2011 to 2017, he worked as a Deputy Director-General of the General Directorate for Health and Consumer Protection. Since 2018, he is the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia.

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Martin Hojsík (SK)

Member of the European Parliament representing the Progressive Slovakia party, of which he is the Vice-President. He studied genetics and specialises in climate and environmental and animal protection. He has been with Greenpeace since 1993. He was a member of the board of directors and the program director of international organisation FOUR PAWS, where he led the animal protection program. For several years, he worked for ActionAid International in the development sector, where he led the fight against tax evasion by multinational corporations.

How would you describe your work and professional goals in the area of environmental protection?
I would describe it as a fight for a clean environment for all and for human health and animal welfare. However, even before I assumed office, I was working to achieve environmental and social justice. It’s just that my current position happened to open up a whole new window of opportunities for me to pursue these goals. I deal with various topics in the European Parliament ranging from protection against toxic substances in everyday consumer products and reducing the impact of our activities on nature to the greening of the economy.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
The current health situation shows that we urgently need to address environmental issues. The climate and biodiversity crisis affects us all. It’s an existential matter, as it affects the survival of the human race and society as we know it. Not only should it be seen as a threat, but also as an opportunity to move towards a greener and fairer society that’s more resilient. Therefore, large amounts of public and private funding for post-coronavirus recovery must go in this direction.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
This year, solidarity and the vulnerability of the cultural sector resonated with me.

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Matouš Hrdina (CZ)

Communications manager for Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, editor of the Seznam Zpráv newsletter, and contributor to various Czech media. Matouš previously worked as the programme director of Radio Wave and editor of Heroine. In his work he is mainly interested in new communication technologies and topics relating to the environment, and he is also devoted to cultural journalism.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the area of media?
In the media, I focus mainly on editorial activities, and as an author, my primary focus is journalistic texts on topics outside the mainstream agenda. I’d like to contribute to the popularization of less obvious social and cultural trends, which are often drowned under the tidal wave of a superficial news agenda.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Above all, there is an urgent need for an open society-wide debate on our current political and economic system and the various alternatives that could replace it. And to an even greater extent, a debate about the very essence of the human species and our relationship to other forms of life. Without it, we will be completely unable to solve other major problems in the long term, such as climate collapse and the overall devastation of the environment.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
The Czech edition of the book New Dark Age by new media theorist James Bridle is definitely worth reading. It deals with the consequences of the uncontrolled expansion of digital technologies. In the field of environmental literature, I found Vesper Flights, a collection of essays by British poet and writer Helen Macdonald, very interesting. I have to mention an amazing publication in the same field - Krajina! (Countryside!) by naturalist Jiří Sádel – it should most definitely be included in this list, even though it was published last year.

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Danuše Nerudová (CZ)

Economist and rector at the Mendel University in Brno. In her scientific work, she has long specialised in European taxes, which she regularly gives lectures on abroad. She is the chairwoman of the Commission for Fair Pensions and an advocate of equal opportunities for women on the job market.

How would you describe your work and goals in the areas of economy and education?
I’m the rector of a traditional Czech university and I believe that the role of a university is, in many respects, irreplaceable, as is the entire education system. Be it past or present, the free academic community has always played a key role in promoting democratic principles in society. But universities also play a “third role”, and that is to influence society. This is can be seen directly in how a part of the young generation is formed. They have been entrusted into our care and they expect us to prepare them for the real world and equip them with all the tools they need to get by in life. And this not only goes for the field of economics, but also for forming and upholding moral values.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
We’ve had democracy for over 30 years, but it’s still not the standard in other European countries, Belarus being the big example here. Adhering to good moral values and always having the courage to publicly defend democracy and its constitutional principles in situations where they gey trampled on - I consider all this to be the basic premise for raising and educating the younger generation, who are capable of critical thinking and mindful of good moral values. Aside from upholding democracy, it’s also about caring for the environment and our country in a broader context, so that we can pass our planet on to the next generation in at least the same state in which we used it.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
I’m a huge fan of James Bond films, so I’m very much looking forward to what the next instalment will bring to the table. The production team, of course, had to postpone the film’s premiere until the end of this year.

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Anna Strejcová (CZ)

One of the founders as well as the director of the Save Food (Zachraň jídlo) Association, which draws attention to the problem of food waste. Anna studied journalism at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague. At first, she was involved in marketing and communication with journalists. She now manages the team and seeks out new opportunities for organizational development.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of changing how we eat?
My (our) work strives to reach a wide audience. From the very beginning of Zachraň jídlo’s operations, we made a commitment to ensure that our ideas reached as wide an audience as possible, not just those specifically addressed. That's why we offer advice to mainstream audiences, such as those who consume meat. We don’t deal with the composition of food or its nutritional value, but rather we look at food waste through the lens of natural resources that have been invested in food production. And we strive to waste fewer of these.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
As a society, we should focus on the effectiveness of our actions. There is a great deal of pressure to produce a huge amount of food, and this pressure will continue to increase as population numbers rise. Because of this, there is more and more deforestation and degradation of groundwater. But at the same time, we are unable to make the most of the food we produce. The UN estimates that up to a third of food is wasted. I think that focusing on technology and education that will reduce waste will be a huge investment in our common future.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
Given the current situation, I didn't have a chance to take in as much art this year as I would have liked. Due to the restrictions, however, I was able to watch several series, and I can recommend for example Mrs. America. Although the story takes place in the 70s and 80s, it also reflects current events in the USA. I very much liked Barbora Šlapetová and Lukáš Rittstein’s project Manop at Prague's DOX. It presents their multiple trips to West Papua and their encounters with indigenous tribes in the rainforest. I was fascinated by the confrontation with our way of thinking and the fairy tales and myths found in both worlds.

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Jan Štefl (CZ)

Private farmer and businessman from Domašín u Studené. Jan has been the Vice-Chairman of the Association of Private Agriculture of the Czech Republic since 2013. He also works as a forensic expert in the field of economics and engineering, motor vehicles, and agricultural machinery. He graduated from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, where he majored in agricultural mechanization. Since 1991, he has managed a private family farm near Jindřichův Hradec, which is largely operated under the principles of organic farming.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the area of agriculture?
I work on a farm with my wife, my brother and his wife. We all have university degrees in agriculture. Our wives are economists - they do the accounting and administrative work. Our son and nephew also work on the farm with us, along with several permanent and seasonal employees. We operate using both conventional and organic farming principles. We raise beef cattle organically, as well as grow triticale, oats, caraway, and clover. Using conventional farming techniques, we mainly grow wheat, barley, triticale, potatoes, and clover. We use appropriate agricultural machinery. Our goal is to continue in these areas of business.

What do you consider important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I currently consider one of the most important things in the field of agriculture to be the redirection of agricultural support in the Czech Republic, in particular to those farmers who are not only carrying out their business in the countryside, but also living there. Above all, they are a guarantee that local agricultural production will be linked with proper care for the local countryside, environment, rural area, local diversity in food production and, last but not least, the security of food production in our country.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I mainly follow professional media and literature. I’ve recently become interested in books by Paul Babiak, for example Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work.

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Petra Tajovský Pospěchová (CZ)

She studied sociology at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Brno and has been making a living as a journalist since she was eighteen years old. Petra Tajovský Pospěchová mainly writes news stories on the food industry and on culinary topics in general. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and mountain climbing, collecting herbs, and singing. She also co-organises the Cook2Help benefit and the Mowing in Stromovka event in Prague.

How would you describe your work and goals in the context of changing how we eat?
For more than ten years, I've been writing about the quality of food and the various tricks that large manufacturers use to try and confuse consumers. Journalism is a profession that aims to change the world for the better. Writing about food doesn't always have to be about the latest sponge cake recipe. It can also be about investigative work and creating a platform for readers to see the food and grocery industry from a bigger-picture perspective, including the industry's ethics and long-term environmental impact.

What do you consider important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
For me, even during the most troubling of times, it's important to look for new opportunities and positive outcomes, whether they're intentional or not. In the gastronomic industry, a pandemic and the closure of borders that come with it could ideally lead to a greater inclination towards local raw materials and the support of smaller local producers. And also to the reduction of enormous food waste.
And one more thing. The pandemic has shown just how many people in our country are teetering on the edge of poverty. We are still waiting for an initiative – whether from above or below – that will start paying attention to the eating and shopping habits of low-income households and try to change them. Foreign experience tells us that increased culinary literacy has a positive impact on a family's health and financial situation. In our country, this topic has been left more or less on the backburner, and possible attempts to solve it are often unsystematic or akin to Victorian times.

What resonated with you the most from this year's publications and creative works?
I think that the culinary symposium Počátky (Beginnings), which takes place in Sudkův důl, straddles the line of art. Flowers from the surrounding meadows are fermented here, whole roe deer are roasted in a millet, and generally experimental, local ingredients from snout to tail and pike to pistil are processed. The wedding of two members of the band Holinky was musically a big deal for me. Dozens of great folk musicians gathered there, playing for as long as their strings would allow them. Out of this year's books, I would highly recommend the latest Timothy Snyder and the second revised edition of Respect and Be Respected. What the book describes in relation to children also applies to us as adults. Maybe more so than we might like to admit.

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FILM SELECTION

Living Water (Pavel Borecký, Czech Republic, Jordan, Switzerland, 2020)
Red (Maddi Barber, Spain, 2020)
Solastalgia (Eline Kersten, Netherlands, 2020)

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READING LIST

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If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we offer you a selection of the most interesting sources that we came across while thinking through the program of this year's Inspiration Forum.

JORDAN RAINE: FOOD THAT FEEDS THE WORLD AND HEALS IT TOO (THE CONVERSATION) 

As a consequence of the intensive approach to agriculture that is currently our primary source of food production, we are experiencing rapid drying out and loss of soil. This article from The Conversation points out several problems tied to this form of agriculture, although it mainly concerns itself with various ways of solving them (such as agro-ecology, carbon farming and local farming). It also looks at the various issues that may go hand-in-hand with the benefits of future food chains based on new technological developments – from the use of robots and nanotechnologies to synthetic foods.

“According to experts, today’s global agriculture system faces a crisis. Intensive farming with heavy ploughing machinery is causing soil to be lost up to 100 times faster than it is formed – and valuable stored carbon with it too. The soil that remains is becoming depleted of nutrients, thanks to repeated cultivation of the same staple crops without respite.”

 

ANDREA PROVENZANO, PHILIP MAUGHAN, NIKOLAI MEDVEDENKO:
BLACK ALMANAC (THE TERRAFORMING PROGRAM OF THE STRELKA INSTITUTE)
 

Through their speculative research project, Black Almanac, alumni of the Strelka Institute’s Terraforming program presented a plan for building a viable food system by the year 2050. The program presents 31 concrete steps that could transform infrastructures and institutions on a planetary scale. It also shines a light on our contemporary attitudes towards eating and food production.

“We regulate our bodies, our lives and our environment by eating. Grocery shopping, food preparation, scheduling meal times and inspecting the results represents a medical-metabolic bureaucracy that we employ in the service of communal and self-administration. As a result, the transformation and ingestion of food is intrinsically linked with how we understand time (and how we regulate labour, sociality and who gets to be where when.) The structural intricacies of the bourgeois dining experience, itself a historical agglomeration of pseudo-aristocratic signalling fused with a fantasy of languid ruralism, has been interrupted by the chronological smoothie of an “always on, flexible and albiently present” globalised work culture.“
 

 

TAD FRIEND: CAN A BURGER HELP SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE? (THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE) 

In the last few years, tech start-ups such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meet kickstarted a revolution in meat-free eating. Their products are now available in supermarkets and even fast-food chains across the Czech Republic. Tad Friend’s article for The New Yorker describes how the biochemist and founder of Beyond Meat, Patrick O. Brown, decided (while on a sabbatical) to dedicate the rest of his career towards developing the most authentic-seeming imitation of a hamburger. The primary goal wasn’t to cater to vegans and vegetarians, but for the burger to be close enough in its appearance, taste, smell, texture and nutritional values to convince even staunch carnivores and, by extension, help in averting climate change, which is significantly exacerbated by cow farming and associated processes..

„In 2008, he had lunch with Michael Eisen, a geneticist and a computational scientist. Over rice bowls, Brown asked, “What’s the biggest problem we could work on?”

“Climate change,” Eisen said. Duh.

“And what’s the biggest thing we could do to affect it?” Brown said, a glint in his eye. Eisen threw out a few trendy notions: biofuels, a carbon tax. “Unh-unh,” Brown said. “It’s cows!“

 

HEALTHY DIETS FROM SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS (SUMMARY OF THE EAT-LANCET COMMISSION REPORT FOOD IN THE ANTHROPOCENE) 

The EAT-Lancet Commission was established in 2019 and is made up of 37 top researchers from different scientific fields and 16 different countries. The goal of their research was to establish healthy eating targets for the growing world population while also developing food systems which could satisfy the needs of this population while having the smallest possible environmental impact on our planet. The report also presented a reference diet developed within the constraints of scientifically established limits within which food production should occur to reduce the risk of irreversible changes to the global ecosystem.

“Food is the single strongest lever to optimize human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.“

 


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