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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The programme of the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF unveiled

The 23rd edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF will kick off in two weeks! New films from the region, world documentary debuts, a showcase of works by Ukrainian director Feliks Sobolev, documentary experiments, films made by women about women, and a special reflection of 1989. From the total of 277 films screened at Ji.hlava, 91 will be shown in their world, 47 in their international, and 17 in their European premiere. 3700 films altogether have been submitted to the Ji.hlava IDFF 2019. Ji.hlava’s official spot: After Godard, Dvortsevoy “Ji.hlava has always strived for discovering and interconnecting original filmmakers across countries and regions,” says Marek Hovorka, the festival’s director. “Unlike last year, when we presented a large retrospective of direct-cinema-verité, combining the filmmaking production of the USA, Canada and France, we this year decided to dedicate substantial attention to Eastern European filmmakers”, adds Hovorka. This year’s author of the official festival spot – after Jean Luc Godard who honored Ji.hlava in 2018 – will be Kazakhstani director Sergei Dvortsevoy. The festival will present also a comprehensive retrospective of his films. The work by Ukrainian director Feliks Sobolev can literally be called an international discovery. His profile will be complemented with a unique showcase of Ukrainian experimental films from the 1960s until 1990s. Woman in Change: Films by and about women Another important program theme of this year’s edition will be “Woman in Change”, a topic introduced also in the festival trailer. This year, the trailer consists of a single take: a look on the face of actress Samal Yeslam. “Dvortsevoy captured her face just by chance; the scene was not scripted, shot outside the set of his last feature film, Ayka. Although Yeslam won the best actress award in Cannes for her role in the movie, she is being ‘just herself’, standing on an underground platform,” explains Hovorka. And he continues: “In the recent years, the role of women in the society has been becoming more prominent, and not only in the society, but also in documentary filmmaking.” Hovorka believes that films created by women draw our attention by evocatively opening painful issues, being formally innovative and lending an empathic ear to the stories of others. These include the exploration of female identity in the film essay by German director Pia Hellenthal (Searching Eva), the topic of rape brought up by French director Alexe Poukine (That Which Does Not Kill), and the world-known Harvey Weinstein case investigated by British director Ursula Macfarlane (The Untouchable). Opus Bonum, Best Central&East European Docs and Remarkable World Debuts What else can festival visitors look forward to? The Opus Bonum section dedicated to international documentary titles will this year offer nine selected films from France, the UK, India, Madagascar or Palestine. One will be an adaptation of the globally successful novel, Europeana, by Patrik Ouředník, first published eighteen years ago and since then translated into thirty-six languages. The filmic “pun” made by French director Arnaud de Mezamat called Wishing You the Same calls for the “contemplation on various aspects of humanity”. The Between the Seas section focusing on the region of Central and Eastern Europe will introduce sixteen film titles. It includes a cinematic portrait of famous Slovak photographer Andrej Bán, Earthly Paradise, directed by Jaroslav Vojtek and an original collage 365 Days Also Known as a Year by Ukrainian director Dmytro Bondarchuk. The section will present world and international premieres of outstanding films also from Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Serbia and Latvia. The awarded film will receive a cash prize of 10,000 EUR. This year’s First Lights section will again be prominent with nine noteworthy film debuts ranging from Colombia to Turkey. The Set Off by Turkish director Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun recalls the destinies of thirty-three people killed in Syrian city of Kobane, while the Canadian author Loic Darses examines the Quebecois identity in his Where the Land Ends. Twenty-one Czech films: from Václav Havel to the Antarctic The Czech Joy section will include unprecedented twenty-one competition titles. Director Adéla Komrzý will introduce Viva video, video viva about her grandfather Radek Pilař who takes on a surprising role of the founder of Czech video-art. Věra Čákanyová will present her doc FREM that was made in the extreme conditions of the Antarctic and is described as an “audio-visual requiem for homo sapiens”. Radovan Síbrt will introduce his film, Two Roads, dedicated to the famous Czech band, The Tap Tap, composed of handicapped musicians. The thirtieth anniversary of the Velvet revolution is the focus of director Robert Sedláček whose film is asking the question: Have the goals of the revolution in 1989 been met? “Thirty years after the fall of the Communist regime in former Czechoslovakia, we have come up with a special program section entitled Studio 89,” says Marek Hovorka, and he continues: “Three different programs will offer a look on the figure of Václav Havel, an intellectual icon of political transformation: underground films, a portrait made by Juraj Herz which has never been released in Czechia, and a preview of an upcoming film by Petr Jančárek about Havel’s final years. These documentary films will explore conspiracy theories and offer a microstudy of the revolution, in this case directly at Prague’s FAMU.” A six-hour-long opus Communism and the Net by Karel Vachek, the legend of Czech cinema searches for the roots of today’s crisis of democracy. Testimonies and Experimental Cinema The festival’s Testimony section will include eleven films, notably The Cave by Syrian director Feras Fayyad who won an award for his Last Men in Aleppo two years ago at Ji.hlava. The film was then nominated for the Academy Awards. His latest film narrates a powerful story of Doctor Amani Ballor who with her colleagues treated patients in an underground hospital in besieged Syrian town of Ghouta. The non-competition section Special Event will bring a unique documentary title, Crisis by the Czech-American photographer and film director Alexandr Hackenschmied – a film made in 1939 in the United States that closely observes the political and social events in Europe in 1938. Experimental documentary films are a fixture of each year’s festival program. The Fascinations is a section dedicated to world cinema, EXPRMNTL.CZ, in turn, focuses on Czech experimental titles. “Fascinations introduce films that are seeking for new concepts of reality,” says the programmer, Andrea Slováková, who has selected the program for both of these sections. For example, the Chinese title Action, Almost Unable to Think captures the inner world of a soldier killed by explosion. The Wilds is a film that incorporates performance, land-art and artistic installation. Last but not least, Czech visual artist Zbyněk Baladrán will present his essayistic film called Powerless Source of All Power. Together with the award, the winner of the EXPRMNTL.CZ section will this year receive a prize of 50,000 CZK (2,000 EUR, in partnership with The Art Zone 8smička). Translucent Being: Feliks Sobolev In addition to experimental films by versatile avant-gardist Man Ray, one of the big discoveries of this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF will be the work by Ukrainian filmmaker Feliks Sobolev (1931–1984). His oeuvre will be presented in the section Translucent Being. “Our aim is to introduce directors who have pushed the boundaries of documentary film reflection,” says Andrea Slováková, the section’s programmer. She calls Sobolev a legend: since 1960s, he has been considered one of the greats of Soviet documentary filmmaking, his films were sold-out, and yet he is still completely unknown outside Ukraine. “He discovered new creative techniques: working with animation, time-lapse footage, and inventing technologies to capture otherwise elusive phenomena,” continues Andrea Slováková, adding that this year’s edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF will showcase seven of Sobolev’s films. These will include Animals' Tongue (1967) that points out parallels between the world of humans and that of animals, and Keep at It, You’re Talented (1979) which studies the possibilities of overcoming psychological obstacles. Masterclasses by Puiu, Georgiev, Dvortsevoy The 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF will also bring traditional masterclasses – lectures by film professionals. Notable Romanian director, screenwriter and instigator of the Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu, or Macedonian producer Atanas Georgiev will both introduce their work. Floor will also be given to Czech documentarian Barbora Chalupová, who teamed up with Vít Klusák as one of the authors of Caught in the Net that focuses on the issue of online abuse of children. The author of this year’s festival trailer, Sergei Dvortsevoy will present a masterclass in which he will discuss his creative approach. Juries of the 23rd Ji.hlava The Opus Bonum competition section will, as always, have a single juror: this year, the honour will be given to the aforementioned Cristi Puiu. The five-member jury of the Between the Seas section will be composed of the likes of Serbian filmmaker Srđan Keča and Professor Emeritus of Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Timothy Corrigan. Among those who will be selecting the best Czech documentary title, will be last year’s winner of the Czech Joy section, Karel Žalud, and Slovak writer Monika Kompaníková. The award for the best debut in the First Lights section will be granted based on a decision by international festival representatives, including Emilie Bujes, the art director of Visions du Réel, a film festival based in Nyon in Switzerland. Curator of the London’s Tate Modern Andrea Lissoni and Spanish filmmaker Carlos Casas will select the best experimental film. Clifford Coonan, journalists specializing in Europe-Asia relations and editor of the Czech Referendum daily, Fatima Rahimi, will be among the jurors of the Testimony section. Last but not least, our secondary school jury will this year uniquely be composed of teachers. How Not To Be Afraid (of the climate crisis)? The 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF will also dish out a rich off-screen program, including the extended Inspiration Forum hosting over 100 personalities from outside the film world. Among those who accepted this year’s invitation were Isabella Salton, director of Brazilian environmental organization Instituto Terra (topic Climageddon); Dagestani writer Alisa Ganieva who wrote her debut Salaam, Dalgat! under a male pseudonym to avoid the label “story for women” (Women in Transformation); Croatian philosopher and political activist Srećko Horvat (Re:Democracy); and American of Mexican descent, writer and former border guard Francisco Cantú, whose novel The Line Becomes a River has become a bestseller (How Not to Be Afraid?). The Inspiration Forum’s events take place during the whole festival. More information at www.inspirationforum.com. Short Joy: already available online! Short Joy is the name of a competition section that showcases docs from the whole world whose short running time underscores the possibilities and power of documentary film. This year, all nominated films are available from October 7 to 22 online on DAFilms.cz. You as viewers can also become the section’s jurors; after watching all of the films for free, you can vote for the best title until midnight of October 22. The winning film will obtain assistance with online distribution and promotion services in the amount of 3,000 EUR. Moreover, it will be nominated into the pre-selection of the US Academy Awards in the documentary category. IDF will present prominent documentary filmmakers and hand out the Silver Eye Award In line with tradition, the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) will be an important feature of the Ji.hlava IDFF. Its international workshop Ex Oriente Film, organized during the festival, brings together directors and producers who work on their documentary projects with the help of renowned directors, producers, editors and other film professionals. The workshop’s program open to public attracts fans of cinema and expert public to masterclasses and lectures held in English. This year, Ji.hlava will welcome Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen, renowned for his collaboration on The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing by director Joshua Oppenheimer. Another of the workshop’s guests will be director and producer Audrius Stonys who won the European Film Awards for his Earth of the Blind, and director, and cinematographer Erick Stoll, who will introduce his award-winning film América. Producer and editor Atanas Georgiev will disclose the success story of his festival hit, Honeyland, the winner of this year’s Sundance festival. Ji.hlava will see the eleventh Silver Eye Awards given to the best films from Central and Eastern Europe registered for the East Silver Market. International juries will select winners in two categories: short- and feature-length films. Film professionals will be able to use the services of the East Silver video library consisting of almost 300 film titles that are annually available on-line on dokweb.net. You can find all program sections of the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF HERE.

Ji.hlava’s Inspiration Forum is looking for a manual to the world

Climageddon, Woman in Change, Re:Democracy, God & Co., Made in China – and most of all: How Not To Be Afraid. These are the main topics covered by this year’s Inspiration Forum organised under the banner of the twenty-third Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. Make sure your last weekend in October will be dedicated to the “festival of thought”. This year, the Inspiration Forum will take place for the ninth time. In the course of six festival days, it will open up six key topics and present over one hundred guests from all over the world, in more than thirty discussions. “Live discussions after the screenings are an integral part of the Ji.hlava IDFF and often the reason why many directors and visitors alike keep on coming back. However, the Inspiration Forum gave the festival a brand new dimension. I have long dreamt of creating a comprehensive discussion platform that will bring together educated and curious festival audience with inspiring personalities in a focused discussion format and I am very thrilled to see it happening in the past few years. A live dialogue is priceless and I am very happy that guests and debaters literally stepped out of the film screen directly to the audience,” says Marek Hovorka, the director of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival and founder of the Inspiration Forum. “The first step towards the transformation of the Inspiration Forum was made two years ago while last year, we finished the changes to create an authentic ‘festival of thought‘ which takes place concurrently with the film programme of the Ji.hlava IDFF. Topics, which will this year be discussed during debates, presentations, interviews and documentary dialogues were carefully selected and formulated. We believe that they are a key to better future. Because in order to change the world or at least to survive the threats we are facing, we have to understand the things around us a bit more: in civic, political as well as personal terms,” says Tereza Swadoschová, the Head of Inspiration Forum, summing up its purpose. Climageddon! What will you find on this year’s programme? Bill McKibben, a notable American environmentalist, will talk about the climate crisis as a challenge. His book The End of Nature published in 1989 provided a visionary account of today’s climate situation. Following will be Sini Harkki, the Head of Greenpeace Finland, who greatly contributed to the reduction of the consumption of fossil fuels in her country, and the chief of the Irish Green Party, Eamon Ryan, under whose term, the capacity of wind electric power plants in Ireland doubled. “The guests were chosen not only to sum up the existing media debate but also to discuss what to do next. The means of social transformation will be discussed not only with experienced agents in the field of environmental protection but also with the upcoming generation,” said Tereza Swadoschová commenting on the selection of the guests. This year, the environmental topic will also be reflected in the section of Documentary Dialogues selected and moderated by documentarian Filip Remunda. In an interview, we will introduce Isabella Salton, director of Brazilian environmental organisation Instituto Terra, who fights for the protection of Brazilian forest that the current president Jair Bolsonaro opened to the possibility of commercial use. Woman in Change One whole day will be dedicated to the debates on the position of women in society. “Which are the ways that can bring us closer to the ideal of gender equality? What can be done and how in the sphere of politics, business, industry, education and healthcare? How to change the attitude to feminism so that the mere word is no longer regarded a slur?” says Swadoschová enumerating some of the questions that will be addressed. The topic of Woman in Change will be discussed by Fawzia Koofi, an advocate for women rights and a candidate for the president of Afghanistan, or Slovak actress, diplomat and former presidential candidate Magda Vašáryová. Documentary Dialogues will present Dagestani writer Alisa Ganieva. Her debut, Salaam, Dalgat! had to be published under a male pseudonym to avoid the label “a story for women“. Re: Democracy Another big topic of the ninth Inspiration Forum is the crisis of a democratic society. “How to involve the citizens in the decision-making process again? Which reforms should we be striving for? And how to deal with the issue of short election cycles which do not provide space for long-term visions?” says Tereza Swadoschová, asking some of the questions that will be brought up in debates on the next day. And who will be the debaters? “For instance, Sophie Howe, who has for three years been in office as the ‘future generations commissioner‘ in Wales. She caters to the needs of future generations, evaluates governmental projects from the long-term perspective and intervenes in situations when short-term profit could cause long-term losses,” add Tereza Swadoschová. Another guest will be the political scientist and NATO’s strategic communication specialist, Jonathan Terra, who worked as a diplomat in Afghanistan. As a political analyst and commentator he writes about the state of democracy in the USA. Documentary Dialogue will introduce Croatian philosopher and political activist Srećko Horvat. How Not To Be Afraid Environmental disasters, fake news, wars for water and resources, terrorism, end of the world. These catastrophic scenarios are slowly becoming an integral part of our everyday existence. This year, the Ji.hlava IDFF will also discuss “how to stop being afraid” of these visions and not to be paralysed by fear. The guests will include British futurologist Jonathan Ledgard, author of the cargo drone and droneport concept for Africa, or a former follower of German ultranationalist right-wing groups, Christian Weissgerber. “It is true that when I was young, I was feeling helpless and one of the ways of overcoming my despair was humiliation of others,” says the former Neo-Nazi. Documentary Dialogue will feature the American of Mexican origin, writer and former border guard, Francisco Cantú. His novel, The Line Becomes a River, which draws on his own experience on the borderline between two worlds, has become a bestseller. China and God Another sphere of interest of this year’s Inspiration Forum is China. A country watched by the whole world – and watching the whole world. How does their combination of totalitarianism and capitalism work? How does the regime employ current technological possibilities to take control? What does China want from the world and what does the world want from China? These and similar issues will be the focus of a full-day block called Made in China. Norwegian political scientist Stein Ringen or Czech analyst Tomáš Rezek who is engaged with cyber safety and criminality will be one of those answering the questions. A day block called God & Co. will then focus on the topic of Catholic Church, its role in today’s world, and its further developments. The guest will be the first Czech military chaplain, Bishop Tomáš Holub. He is one of the more progressive Catholic representatives: clearly denouncing nationalism just as the “building of ideological barricades against gender”. And, finally, the Inner World The Inspiration Forum also keeps in mind those who like to get up early. In a daily early morning programme entitled Inner World. “Extraordinary figures from the world of culture and arts will be our guests. They will discuss the ten points talking about what inspired them in their work, both in terms of meetings with others, situations or works of art,” says Tereza Swadoschová describing the format. The guests will include Bulgarian poet Kapka Kassabova whose works explore boundaries of all kinds. “It is important to be open and to listen, to try to understand each other despite the things that separate us. Now more than ever,“ says Kassabova. Lama Sonam Tsering has a similar opinion. For fourteen years, he has been studying as a monk in a Buddhist monastery in Northern India, but he decided to leave; today, he runs a Tibetan food stall in Prague.   9th Inspiration Forum will take place as part of 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF on October 24–29, 2019 You can find more info about the Inspiration Forum topics and program HERE.

Man Ray and erotica

23rd Ji.hlava IDFF film news

Karel Vachek and honey

23rd Ji.hlava IDFF: film news

Away from the Stage: Music and Sound in the Festival Landscape

This year, the music programme will freely tie up with the main environmental theme of the festival. “We will introduce music makers who work with the sounds of the real world,” says the programme composer of the “off-screen programme”, Pavel Klusák. Miloš Vojtěchovský, who has in the long-term been a significant figure of the Czech sound experiment, has prepared a walk through Jihlava accompanied with the sounds communicating with a smartphone app. Vocalist Lucie Páchová and her trio called Love_Me use recordings from Uganda and Congo; and the section of field recordings will feature Jiří Suchánek and Tomáš Šenkyřík. Slovakia will introduce their naive artists: Džumelec or Erik Sikora, currently nominated for the prestigious Oskár Čepan Award, and the aptly critical and surreally grotesque Samčo, a Brother to Earthworms.     Contemporary European experiment is represented by guitar player Kim Myhr (Norway), drum improviser Ingar Zach (Norway) and Billy Roisz (Austria) who transforms the sound of her heart into a video during her concerts. The evening in a traditional festival tent will feature performances by WWW Neurobeat, the fresh energy of imaginative hip-hop called PΛST and Jihlava-based musicians and performers MΛKE UP NOT WΔR and their restlessly melancholic post-music. Jakob Schubert will be the DJ of the night with Radio1 and on the following nights you can listen to Brno-based DJ duo Diskofilcky composed of Zuzana Fuksová (Čoko Voko) and painter Marie Butula.     Night owls and festival visitors eager to dance will find their groove at DKO that, at the stroke of midnight, will turn into a dance club under the baton of Radio Wave. You can look forward to pop DJ, singer and producer HOLY, audience’s favourite Jarda Petřík and ambient and techno producer Trevor Linde. A well-seasoned organiser of club parties, DJ dMIT.RY will make his appearance, Brno-based duo Tomino & Myslivec will infect the audience with their eclectic, and almost ironic, music selection, and, last but not least, the festival audience will be treated to a live set by the legend of modular synthesisers, HRTL. Musician and producer Aid Kid will dish out current clubbing trends as well as timeless experiments, ranging from Prague’s electronic music legend Floex, followed by colourful and energetic set by DJ Barbora ending the tour of the club scene with techno music.

Piano, Vladimír Mečiar, Kiruna

Czech Joy competition section: news

Press release. This year, Ji.hlava IDFF will be even more varied: from Karel Vachek through Man Ray to erotica


The Docu Talent Awards 2019 were granted to Kix and Frem


EMERGING PRODUCERS 2020 were announced, with Taiwan as guest country


Film submissions for 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF have been closed!

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