26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Piano, Vladimír Mečiar, Kiruna
The Czech Joy competition section will newly open for Czech films made by other than Czech authors. “It is also thanks to this change that Ji.hlava will dish out perhaps the most varied offer of Czech docs, shown in their world or Czech premiere. In addition, the Czech documentary scene will be enriched with a new generation of filmmakers who presented their films this year for instance in the Swiss city of Nyon,” says Marek Hovorka.
For example, the Czech-based French director and producer, Artemio Benki, will present his feature-length documentary debut called Solo. It follows the destiny and career of talented Argentinian piano player, Martín Perin, whose promising career was influenced by his long-term stay at a psychiatric clinic in Buenos Aires. “It is a story about human fragility, vulnerability as well as courage,” says Benki about his feature-length debut. “I wanted to contribute to the destigmatising of persons with mental illness, to blur the line between what is commonly seen as normal, and what is no longer considered to be normal,” says the director whose film had a world premiere in Cannes.
Another debut will be presented in Ji.hlava by Slovak director Barbora Berezňáková. Her film Never Happened follows the leads in one large political case of the 1990s in Slovakia: the abduction of the son of Michal Kováč, then president of Slovakia, the murder of a witness in the case, Róbert Remiáš, and the subsequent amnesty granted by Kováč’s successor in office, Vladimír Mečiar. “The film is not only about a murder and kidnapping. Pretending that the thing did not happen, despite the fact that several people were left dead, affects the Slovak society and destinies of people to this day,” says the director.
The film Kiruna – A Brand New World by Czech-Swedish director Greta Stocklassa also has an international dimension. The author portrays the northern-most town in Sweden, where iron ore is found and mined – and which is also sinking due to this fact. “The mining is still profitable and so the politicians have decided that the town is to be moved away,” explains Greta Stocklassa.
Another noteworthy documentary film is The Sound Is Innocent by Johana Ožvold. The film pays tribute to “world’s electronic music, its development since 1950s until today”.