28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Ji.hlava 22: Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 22nd Ji.hlava IDFF


selects an outstanding documentary film of the year from a diverse collection representing tendencies in world documentary; since all of the films are significant, the festival suggest the following game; a single juror picks a single film, a “brilliant” work.

  • Best World Documentary Film 2018: Vacancy (Alexandra Kandy Longuet, Belgium, 2018)

  • Special mention: Talks with TGM (Jakub Červenka, Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best World Documentary Film:

The film presents a collective portrait of a group of misfits in the middle of nowhere on the American dessert. Using very disciplined film language, rigorously photographed ‘Vacancy’ reveal an existential tragedy of people living in loneliness and fighting despair.

Special mention:

I would like to dedicate Special mention to the full-length feature film about president Masaryk talk with Mr Čapek. As a feature film this work is so different from all documentary and experimental submissions in this section that it cannot compete as a pair. I admire classical look consistent script and most of all marvelous performance of both actors.



is a competition section for the countries and nations of Central and Eastern Europe, including their historical, political, and cultural interrelationships.

  • Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2018: Timebox (Nora Agapi, Romania, 2018)

  • Special mention: The Last Self-portrait (Marek Kuboš, Slovakia, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Central and East European Documentary Film:

We chose Timebox because of its profound exploration of the power and burden of memory, the director’s innovative approach to authorship and her command of a complex, emotionally volatile narrative. The film is deeply personal yet its engagement with issues ranging from the psychological to the political raises questions that resonate far beyond its own story.

Special mention:

Special mention was given to The Last Self-Portrait for its ingenious, witty and searching examination of ethical dilemmas in documentary film making and the corresponding loss of freedoms in wider society.



  • Best Central and East European Documentary Student Film 2018A Well-Kept Secret (Mihkel Oksmann, Estonia, 2018)

  • Special mention: Heavy Metal (Eugene Golovanevsky. Ukraine, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Central and East European Documentary Student Film:

We chose Well-Kept Secret for its highly original, precise and dignified portrayal of a group of elderly people in Estonia who share scurrilous stories and poetry.

Special mention:

Special mention was given to Heavy Metal, by turns absurdist, hilarious, abject and shocking in its portrait of a group of men whose trade is to strip metal from decaying buildings.



is a prestigious selection of Czech documentaries; rather than a mere competition for the best Czech documentary, it represents a celebration of the diverse range of new topics and the adventurous spirit of cinematic expression. The composition of the jury, too, is diverse; besides various personalities of Czech cultural and social life, it also includes the last year’s winner of the Czech Joy section as well as a citizen of Jihlava.

Jury statement:

Best Czech Documentary Film:

The film urgently calls for reflection on how justice is understood and implemented in contemporary society. Who do we punish and why? Can repression be a remedy? What is the relationship between the prisoner and the imprisoner? Can art become a positive tool of “correction” in the judicial system or the human community?

Special Mention:

Central Bus Station: Nicely elaborated stories of several protagonists related to the controversial building of the bus station that has changed the urban structure of Tel Aviv. The film combines magical poetry with lower levels of contemporary life in Israel and history with the present.

Solo for the Deputies and Senators: The prize is awarded for the radical film gesture that straightforwardly reveals the absence of political imagination and leaves the viewers in the state of tragicomic abandonment.

Student Jury:

The prize of the student jury is awarded to Passengers, the film with an inner insight and understanding of the world of the overlooked and despised. It invites our generation to integrate these people and brings a promising look into their more complex lives.



is a large factory for experimental filmmaking; stripping reality-based films of all that weighs them down, it significantly expands the possibilities of cinematic expression. The jury of the competition part of the Fascinations section is traditionally composed of members of a single film family.

  • Best Experimental Documentary Film 2018Blending and Blinding (Richard Tuohy, Australia, 2018)

  • Special Mention: Soar (Patrick Bokanowski, France, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Experimental Documentary Film:

Aside from guiding our vision towards the unknown other, the meticulous manner and specialists’ skills is building this visually thrilling meditative travelogue. For its unambiguous control and palpable grace the award goes to Blending and Blinding by Richard Tuohy.

Special Mention:

Maritime motives and everyday scenes create musical postcards in flux. If evolution took some other path, maybe we’d see the world in shapes and forms envisaged in this beautiful film. Special Mention goes to Soar by Patrick Bokanowski.



is a competition survey of the latest Czech experimental films that touch upon reality and never cease in their search for new ways of expressing reality through classical and digital film.

  • Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film 2018Apart (Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Czech Republic, 2018)

  • Special Mention: puddles, I don’t know (Anna Petruželová, Czech Republic, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film:

Voices belong to the real persons, while the image is animated. Whimsical drawings meet sorrowful testimonies. The dream becomes the extension of a document, and the document grows into an intimate narrative of love and loss, life and death, and coming of age. We are fascinated: Czech Fascinations award goes to Spolu sami by Diana Cam Van Nguyen.

Special Mention:

Sense and sensibility, love, humour, intelligence! Special mentions goes to film that starts with something like grey shapes of enformel paintings. Suddenly, it evolves to organic joy of rain, water and playful humans. Good old Czech cinema is back, yet in the form of an arty innovation in nevím, kaluže by Anna Petruželová.



presents first feature-length documentaries by international filmmakers, with the aim of highlighting the search for new forms and the changing nature of subjects and styles. The presented films have the ambition of becoming a voice in the struggle for freedom and the meaning of documentary film.

  • Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film​ 2018Owner's Portrait (Joaquín Maito, Argentina, 2018)

  • Special mention: Boy of War (Cyprien Clément-Delmas, Igor Kosenko, Germany, Czech Republic, 2018)

  • Student Jury Award: Boy of War (Cyprien Clément-Delmas, Igor Kosenko, Germany, Czech Republic, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film​:

Creating an inventive essay framed around a feline and canine-centric world, the filmmaker succeeds in turning images into figures of a new political discourse and cinematic grammar.

Special mention:

A layered portrait of masculinity, skillfully contructed with humour and empathy, exploring the crossroads of youth and history, ideals and llusion.

Student Jury:

The feature-length debut is remarkable for its unique dramaturgy and combination of various narrative techniques. The student jury of the First Light (První světla) section awards Boy of War by Igor Kosenko and Cyprien Clément-Delmas about the collision of naive ideas with the reality of war, told through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old boy. Its sincerity also reflects the issues of the current young generation.



presents a selection of the best documentary shorts - consummate works exploring the possibilities and strengths of documentary film within a limited time framework.



creates space in which voices and visions overlap with images and rhythms, the urgency of the content with formal intransigence. A competition section screening this year’s most important political documentaries.

  • Best Testimony on Politics 2018: The Silenece of Others (Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, United States, Spain, 2018)

  • Special mention: Still Recording (Ghiath Ayoub, Syria, France, Lebanon, Qatar, Germany, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Testimony on Politics:

Memory can’t be erased. This could be the main motto of the emotionally charged film, The Silence of the Others. After 40 years, the victims of the Franco regime seek justice in their home country as well as abroad. The film is not only about changing a key piece of legislation that aims to erase historical truth, it is about the empathy with people, who at their life’s end want to retrieve and bury in dignity the remains of their close ones, killed by the inhumane regime. Another shocking fact is that right after birth, this regime took children away from their mothers who were not deemed fit to take care of them. This irrepressible memory is a substantial part of the search for Spain’s identity that has implications for the fates of other European nations. As Václav Havel aptly said: Those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it.

Special mention:

The jury would like to award the special mention to the film, Still Recording. The image provides protection against lies and the course of time. The film is exceptional not only in depicting a war wrecking the heart of the civilised world, but also in trying to capture what can be seen as a foolish effort to imbue the war reality with the touch of everyday life: a person running through the ruins, children painting the fence in different colours, a recording studio in a city under siege, sunrise before bomb runs. A rough and, at the same time, poetic film, paid for by the lives of its makers.



is a competition section offering a new definition of scientific documentary. The boundaries of human knowledge, the boundaries of the portrayable – and the possibilities of crossing them.

Jury statement:

Best Testimony on Knowledge:

Many remarkable documentaries with a distinctive authorial signature found their way into the competition. Before announcing the winners of the individual categories, a special mention has to be made of the film, "Every Tear", which has been appreciated for its original approach to the topic. And now the winner! The jury has picked the winning title not only to underscore the film’s exquisite cinematic qualities, but also for bringing up the dilemmas that are becoming increasingly topical for our civilisation. The award goes to "The Truth about Killer Robots".



is a competition section featuring this year’s documentaries that hold conversations on the creation and destruction, on threats and challenges, about man as part of and as a mortal enemy of nature, all through the refined medium of film.

  • Best Testimony on Nature 2018Welcome to Sodom (Florian Weigensamer, Christian Krönes, Austria, 2018)

Jury statement:

Best Testimony on Nature:

Depiction of a life on an electronic waste landfill in Ghana offers a metaphor for humankind and our treatment of the environment on our planet. Unlike natural ecosystems that do not produce any waste, humankind is unable to live without a trace. The everyday process of “recycling” waste from the civilised world on a landfill in Ghana has aptly been nicknamed “Sodom”. The film is visually very distinctive thanks to precise work of filmmakers having a post-apocalyptic aesthetic. On top of that, the film is not intended as a first- environmental education as it also touches upon topics such as migration, gender, sexual orientation and social inequality. The jury was fascinated by the inhabitants of the landfill who, despite their horrid living conditions, do not cease to cherish their lives and friendships and to dream of a better future.



  • Audience Award of the 22nd edition of Ji.hlava IDFFVote for Kibera (Martin Páv, Czech Republic, 2018)



  • Jean-Luc Godard



  • Winner: Vaše naše divadlo (Lucie Vyhnálková, Ivan Studený)



  • Silver Eye Award feature length categoryWhen the War Comes (Jan Gebert, Czech Republic, Croatia, 2018)

  • Silver Eye Award for the best short documentaryEight Images from the Life of Nastya Sokolova (Alina Kotova, Vladlena Sandu, 2018)

  • Special mention: Lembri Uudu (Eeva Mägi, 2018)

Jury statement:

Silver Eye Award feature length category:

The emerging director – producer duo, Jan Gebert and Radovan Síbrt, found a peculiar way of portraying a modern-day antagonist who genuinely represents dangerous tendencies in current society, while choosing the necessary rigorous way to approach him. With clear cinematic language, this film depicts omnipresent inclination of some people to manipulate the others.

Silver Eye Award for the best short documentary:

A strong reflection on current socioeconomic issues that derive from failed societies, this film falls on the border of contemporary art and cinema, giving us eight contrasting tableaux to tell the story of a generation. The Silver Eye Award 2018 for Best Short Documentary goes to Eight Images from the Life of Nastya Sokolova.

Special mention:

For managing to find a particular cinematic device to portray the past, as well as for its courageous approach that builds an almost physical experience of the transition that lingers as a ghost in the lives of people nowadays, the jury gives a special mention to Lembri Uudu.



Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas