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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Czech Television Documentaries

Like with every year, Czech Television continues its interest in documentary filmmaking from the past year. In addition to their films that will be making an appearance in the festival’s competition segments, Czech Television will also screen an additional twenty-one films from their current productions at the Horácké Theater.

They will offer sneak peaks of new documentary episodes (The Okamura Brothers from the series Czech Journal, Stories from the 20th Century, and Nedej se [Don’t Give In]), their documentary series (e.g. Up and Down through the Balkans with Adam Ondra) and their solitary documentaries, after which the audience can enjoy a post-screening talk with the filmmakers. Czech Television will also present its co-production and distribution documentaries, such as the story of the Rosťa and Vítek Novák brothers from Cirk La Putyka entitled Na Krev [For Blood] and directed by Erik Knopp, Eva Tomanová‘s documentary Začít znovu [Another Chance], and such documentary portrayals as Jiří Suchý: Tackling Life with Ease, Forman vs. Forman by creative duo Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna, and Jiří Trnka: A Long Lost Friend from Tereza Brdečková and Joël Farges. The fascinating story of the daughter of a double agent for both the KGB and CIA, My Father, The Spy, will also be making an appearance at the festival. The international co-production from Estonian director Jaak Kilmi notably won the 2015 Czech Television Award at the East Doc Platform.

film database

30 Days in the Life of a Czech Warden
After the successful and Ji.hlava MFDF Award-winning docuseries, Enclosed World, director Karel Žalud returns to prison once again. This time, he follows the story of Dan Lauf, a young warden working in a small prison in Teplice who leaves his pregnant wife for 30 days to help out at the large prison in Stráž pod Ralskem. His personal story shows not only the prison environment and the specific demands of Lauf's profession, but also the problems of the current Czech prison system.
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30 Days in the Life of a Czech Warden

Karel Žalud
Czech Republic / 2019 / 58 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Another chance
A true story about the unlikely love of a middle-aged woman from a middle-class family and a scam artist. The risk of death and hope in the form of a newborn child enter into their relationship from the least probable direction. Another chance is a perceptive psychological portrayal of a woman, her partner, and other loved ones, and at the same time a riveting testimony to the struggle for life and its meaning.
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Another chance

Eva Tomanová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 75 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Balkan rocks with Adam Ondra
This six-episode climbing travelogue follows the world's best sports climber as he breaks records. Adam Ondra not only chooses both known and unknown locations in the former Yugoslavia countries, but also travels to Romania, Greece and Albania. He meets with the local walls and climbers who help him identify the most extreme and previously unexplored rocky paths.
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Balkan rocks with Adam Ondra

Petr Horký
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Okamura Brothers
A cinematic portrait of three siblings and a society that unites and divides many in a similar fashion as Hayata, Osamu and Tomia. The intertwining of the often-conflicting visions of the three brothers with the history of their family and the attitudes of the other protagonists of the film is a concrete testimony to how the political situation is influenced by personal and social experiences. The film, thus, not only suggests why we are in today's political constellation, but it also reports on the state of contemporary social opinion, both in relation to their authorities and their citizens.
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Czech Journal: Okamura Brothers

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Don't give up: Butterflies above the abbys
Just as we are experiencing the unification of culture and society, so is nature. We are experiencing the greatest ecological collapse of species in recorded history. Birds and plants are disappearing, but perhaps the ones experiencing the greatest decline are butterflies. These insects are so delicate that even the smallest change in the environment can affect their populations. As a result of fields being consolidated and traditional farming becoming abandoned, this once common species has begun to appear much less frequently in the countryside to the point where they’ve become literally stranded on small “islands”. For some species, it has gotten so bad that we can find the “last of the Mohicans” on just one hill. What do butterflies need to survive and what should their habitat look like? 
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Don't give up: Butterflies above the abbys

Eva Lammelová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 26 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Don't give up: Climatic prisoners
In order to draw attention to the damage done to the environment, activists won't hesitate to hang a banner on the smokestack of a power plant, climb up a mining tower or protest at the bottom of a coal mine. Civil protests have always been a part of democracy and environmental protection. In recent years, however, there have been cases where activists are threatened with prosecution for non-violent protests. Does climate change also come with a “change in climate” in our society? Will people who peacefully protest against environmental damage end up in prison?
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Don't give up: Climatic prisoners

Martin Marek
Czech Republic / 2019 / 26 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Forman vs. Forman
This film is a portrayal of one of the leading Czech directors, Miloš Forman. Forman, a creator and filmmaker behind the Oscar-winning film, Amadeus, and Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest, an adventurous man with great charisma who's not afraid to doubt himself. This documentary by directors Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna summarizes Forman's life journey where both fame and the wounds of fate collide with personal discovery and uncertainty. It is a collage of often unseen, private and official archives, as well as an autobiographical recollection spoken by the director's son, Petr Forman.
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Forman vs. Forman

Helena Třeštíková, Jakub Hejna
Czech Republic / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Images of Prague Suburbia
A pictorial "féerie" (fairy play) documentary evoking the long-gone landscape of the Prague periphery around Botič. Becoming a model for confrontation with its modern appearance is this unfinished screenplay by director Jiří Lehovec, photographs by Josef Sudek and pictures by Kamil Lhoták.
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Images of Prague Suburbia

Josef Císařovský
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Jan Potměšil: I would not change a thing
The film combines the personal story of famous actor Jan Potměšil with the historical events of 1989. Students and actors had a great influence on the origin and course of the Velvet Revolution. They participated in demonstrations, went on strikes, but mainly tried to inform even the remote regions of what was happening. One of them, Jan Potměšil, paid a high price for this activity – on his return home after meeting up with some miners in Ostrava, he got into a collision with another car. The others escaped unscathed, but he was paralyzed for life. With a strong willpower and positive attitude to life, he managed to return not only to everyday life, but also to his profession.
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Jan Potměšil: I would not change a thing

Miloslav Šmídmajer, Martin Slunečko
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
World Premiere
Jaroslav Kučera - A portrait
We are all aware of the titles The Cassandra Cat, Diamonds of the Night, All My Compatriots or Dinner for Adele. But only few people know, that key aspect of their success lies behind the work of the cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera. The film portrait of one of the most talented filmmakers of 20th century, who had a significant role in the birth of the czechoslovak new wave, that helped rejuvanate world cinematography and get czechoslovakian cinema abroad.
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Jaroslav Kučera - A portrait

Tomáš Michálek, Jakub Felcman
Czech Republic / 2019 / 63 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Jiří Suchý - Tackling Life with Ease
Few people in Czech culture have influenced so many generations by their versatile talent during their sixty years of their creative career. A stage actor, musician, lyricist, poet, composer, writer, filmmaker, graphic artist, fine artist, theater director, collector – all these professions were, and still are, those of Jiří Suchý, whose life story was captured by Olga Sommerová.
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Jiří Suchý - Tackling Life with Ease

Olga Sommerová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 102 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Jiří Trnka: A Long Lost Friend
Jiří Trnka was one of the greatest Czech artists of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of puppet animation. His poetic and imaginative work starkly contrasts with the dark era of the 1950s in Czechoslovakia. His work was used by the regime as evidence that the communist society was able to provide artists with great conditions for creating works of art. The ideological race between East and West was unavoidable and affected both children and their stories.
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Jiří Trnka: A Long Lost Friend

Joël Farges, Tereza Brdečková
France, Czech Republic / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Marriage stories: New Generation
Mirka and Kuba met at a techno party, had a daughter together, and decided to get married. With a wedding begins seven years of happiness, love, and rough patches. The young couple are not only confronted with age-old challenges, but also with the temptations and intricacies of life in today's Czech Republic. Moving to the big city, having a second child, getting a mortgage, having a mid-life crisis. But can the family manage to overcome the biggest obstacle of all, together? Using her time-lapse method, Hana Třeštíková captures private dramas in a captivating way. It continues the work of her mother Helena, who made a name for herself with this format.
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Marriage stories: New Generation

Hana Třeštíková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 92 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
My Father, The Spy
In 1978, Ieva Lesinska was an ordinary university student who lived with her mother in then-Soviet Latvia. Her father worked officially as a translator for the UN in New York, but was also a KGB agent. When Ieva got permission to visit her father in the United States, he told her that he was about to "flee again" with his second wife. Ieva decided to stay with her father. The new family officially became East German emigrants with new identities: Peter and Linda Dorn with their daughter Evelyn. Today, Ieva is trying to reveal the incredible life and strange death of her father, a KGB agent who defected to the CIA, in a feature documentary.
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My Father, The Spy

Gints Grube, Jaak Kilmi
Estonia, United States, Germany, Latvia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Czech Premiere
Stories of 20th Century - Frontier Guards
In December 1989, the "Iron Curtain" that separated the Soviet Bloc from the Western world fell. Cutting the wires from the previously impenetrable borders is probably the most memorable symbol of the continent’s newly acquired freedom. But how did the former Border Patrol Officers see the events at the time? Their main task was not to patrol the borders against dangers from the outside world, but rather to hunt down citizens from Czechoslovakia and other countries of the Soviet Bloc who were trying to escape into the democratic world.  
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Stories of 20th Century - Frontier Guards

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2019 / 26 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Stories of the 20th Century II - Thresers
Perhaps everyone knows of the footage of the crackdown on demonstrators at Národní třída on November 17th, 1989. Jan Slezák, Milan Danišovič and Jiří Laňka were involved in suppressing the demonstration on November 17th, 1989, albeit to a different degree. Jan Slezák was the commander of the company of the Emergency Regiment for Public Security and at the time of the crackdown, he waited in the emergency room as a backup. Milan Danišovič commanded the entire intervention. Jiří Laňka was a member of the special unit of the Ministry of the Interior, known as the "red berets."
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Stories of the 20th Century II - Thresers

Viktor Portel
Czech Republic / 2019 / 26 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
World Premiere
Terezín gravediggers
This documentary film depicts the events of the Lidice tragedy in the practically unknown story of 30 Terezin prisoners. Until now, the story of Lidice has been recalled mainly through the testimonies of Lidice women, who returned to a plundered and burned home after the Second World War. The murder of Lidice men seemed to have ended their story once and for all. The women had remained silent since that horrific night when their husbands were shot and placed in a mass grave, and would only recall the lives of their husbands through mourning.
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Terezín gravediggers

Olga Strusková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
World Premiere
Ticket to the Moon
Five years before Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon, Pan Am began selling tickets to the Moon. At the time, space fever had engulfed the whole world, including Ronald Reagan. A total of 100,000 people signed up for the "First Moon Flights" Club. What were their motivations to leave Earth and what were they hoping to find? Along with the protagonists from various parts of the world (USA, Austria, Czech Republic), the film reflects on the expectations surrounding commercial flights to the Moon. 
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Ticket to the Moon

Veronika Janatková
Germany, Czech Republic / 2019 / 68 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Trabant: There and Back Again
The great journey around the world comes to an end! Dan Přibáň leads the yellow Trabants on their final cross-continental voyage in style as the yellow circus heads home from India. They cross the Himalayas, breaks altitude records and flees from the police. Even though the going gets tough on more than one occasion, the international Czech-Slovak-Polish crew fights against all the odds with black humor and self-irony.
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Trabant: There and Back Again

Dan Přibáň
Czech Republic / 2019 / 114 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
Who is fooling around here
He's one of the longest-serving psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the world. At the age of eighty, he still actively works at three clinics, writes a respected blog and publishes popular bestselling books. His dream was to become a general practitioner in Šumava, instead he ended up in the “crazy house”. He was behind the creation of many bluebooks for Czech dissidents and he was the first person in our nation's history to begin devoting himself to psychosomatic medicine. Above all, he is a people person and puts his life in the service of humankind in all its bizarre forms.
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Who is fooling around here

Šárka Maixnerová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
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