The Echoes of the 24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival will kick off online this Thursday for audiences in the Czech Republic. Selected films will then be available also to viewers in Belgium, France and New York. This year’s Ji.hlava documentary spring will offer award-winning films, discussions with filmmakers and masterclasses. The Echoes are held in partnership with Czech Centers network.
“The global pandemic put a spoke in the wheels of the filmmaking world: cinemas remain closed, producers put off film shooting and many festivals have months-long delays. This is also why are launching our Echoes already in the springtime – we want to give documentary film fans and filmmakers a chance to connect”, says Ji.hlava IDFF director Marek Hovorka.
You can find more info in the press release below.
The 24th edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors. This year, the festival was unique in that it was held online and attracted more audience than in the previous editions. The festival programme presented 310 films and over 80 discussions with filmmakers. 5933 accreditations were issued for visitors, guests and journalists. The total views of festival films exceeded 56 thousand.
“Assuming that in one third of the cases the films were viewed by two people, we have reached almost 75,000 viewers. And in reality, the figures can be even much higher,” says Marek Hovorka, the Festival Director. The festival website registered over 1,300,000 visits during the festival days. Ji.hlava online offered 6 all-day live streams from the Ji.hlava Lighthouse and 20 live discussions of the Inspiration Forum. The online festival took place in partnership with DAFilms.cz – a VOD platform founded 15 years ago by the Ji.hlava IDFF.
“Three weeks before the start of the festival, we were still planning its offline version. We were expelled into the digital asylum after the closure of Czech cinemas. We are very happy to have managed to use the advantages of the Internet: our ‘traditional’ visitors wrote us that they had a unique chance to see more films at Ji.hlava than ever. And we also attracted new audiences. We are pleased to see that thanks to our daily live streams we created the community spirit and atmosphere of complicity so typical for Ji.hlava,” says Marek Hovorka highlighting the live festival service from the Ji.hlava Lighthouse, and adds: “The annual Industry Programme also took place online, with a record attendance by film professionals.”
24th Ji.hlava in (record-breaking) figures
This year’s 24th Ji.hlava IDFF issued 5933 accreditations – 10 percent more than last year. The number of both visitor and industry accreditations increased year-on-year, with half as many visitor passes issued than in the previous edition. This year’s 24th Ji.hlava IDFF welcomed 1461 film professionals – 20 percent more than last year, and 538 online bilateral meetings took place as part of the matchmaking service. 271 passes were issued to journalists. Overall, festival films registered over 56 thousand views. “Assuming that in one third of the cases the films were viewed by two people, we have reached almost 75,000 viewers. And in reality, the figures can be much higher,” says Marek Hovorka, the Festival Director. Live service on the festival YouTube channel from the Lighthouse studio, the Inspiration Forum programme and Ji.hlava for Kids registered almost 50 thousand views during the festival. The live stream from the festival Lighthouse on Facebook marked 150 thousand views. Inspiration Forum’s discussions on Facebook had 128 thousand views. Out of 310 screened films, 95 were shown in their world, 14 in European and 30 in international premiere. This year, films competed in 9 sections. 80 Q&As were scheduled after the film screenings.
You can find more info in press release below.
The 24th Ji.hlava IDFF has announced its winners. The best Czech documentary is A New Shift directed by Jindřich Andrš, the award for the most notable international documentary film was granted to White on White by Viera Čákanyová. The jury of the Between the Seas section gave the award to Latvian film Coyote, and Portugese Ghosts: Long Way Home was appraised as the best documentary debut. Contribution to World Cinema Award was presented to Chinese filmmaker Ai Weiwei. But we are not over yet! The festival films will be available for streaming online until November 8.
Competition and non-competition sections of the 24th annual Ji.hlava IDFF comprised 310 films, 139 of which were presented in their world, international or European premiere. Although the Award Ceremony took place in line with tradition on the fifth day of the festival, Ji.hlava IDFF is not yet over. “Most of this year’s documentary and experimental titles will be available until Sunday, November 8. In this online edition, the audience still has enough time to see the top of this year’s Ji.hlava,” says Festival Director Marek Hovorka.
The Contribution to World Cinema Award was granted to Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. “When searching for the language to address people, Ai Weiwei discovered documentary cinema. He was able to step out of the shadow of his art projects, and using his experience with the world of visual arts he transformed his films into an instrument of social-political communication that is still a part of the art medium. Films by Ai Weiwei are a powerful testimony about his personal courage, both in his role of an actor and an ‘observer’. His works are surprisingly visceral and have a deeply humanistic appeal,” says Festival Director Marek Hovorka commenting on the work of the festival laureate.
The main competition section Opus Bonum that showcases the cream of world documentary cinema included ten films. The winners were selected by the sole juror, this year Azerbaijani director Hilal Baydarov, whose latest film In Between Dying competed in the main competition in Venice a month ago. Baydarov chose White on White by Slovakian director Viera Čákanyová to be the winner of the Opus Bonum section. “Most filmmakers make films about others, because it is almost impossible it is to make a film about oneself. Viera Čákanyová managed to do that,” explains Baydarov. Special Mention went to the duo of directors Olivier Dury and Marie-Violaine Brincard for their film A Man Learning. “For its beautiful structure and well-performed editing that gives strong hints about the nature of cinema through beautiful rhythm and poetic signs,” stated the juror.