28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Short Joy

Short Joy is a competition section for the most remarkable world documentary shorts.

All films are made available online and free for two weeks prior to the festival. The public, anywhere in the world, is the jury of the section. You can watch and vote here.

→ Free distribution on DAFilms.com platform for one year & additional support for the winning film

film database

Anita, Lost in the News
This animated documentary, created using puppets made from newspaper clippings, is about a Kurdish-Iranian family of four who died in the sinking of a migrant boat in the English Channel in 2020. At the time of the tragedy, there were ten more people on board than the vessel could hold. One of the victims was nine-year-old Anita, from whose perspective we follow the story. But did strict laws restricting safe border crossings change her fate? And how many more victims will they claim? “A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person.” — Milan Kundera

Anita, Lost in the News

Behzad Nalbandi
Iran / 2023 / 15 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Believer
A young woman in love embarks on a dangerous journey to find a man she met on the internet and doesn't know much about. Her stubbornness goes so far that the director is forced to stop her. The film thus opens up questions about the author's responsibility for the subjects she is following in documentary filmmaking. “Bingru met Cai Jinlong, a guy from Guangdong, on QQ blog.”

Believer

Xinran Liu
China / 2023 / 22 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Blue Light - Memories From a Paramedic
With the same intensity with which the flashing blue light illuminates its surroundings, fatal experiences are burned into the memory of an ambulance paramedic. The traumatic dimension of carrying out a profession that is essential for society is brought closer by the documentary confession of a man who sometimes unfortunately cannot save the lives of others.“In recent years, I have often been surprised at how we move the suffering in our society to the edges. Preferably out of sight.” Source: Jaap van Heusden's blog

Blue Light - Memories From a Paramedic

Jaap van Heusden, Jefta Varwijk
Netherlands / 2022 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
Brilliant A
The piano is an instrument without which it is impossible to imagine the musical world. But how did it first make its way from Western civilization to areas where it was traditionally unavailable, and what were the consequences? In her short film poem, the author becomes an archaeologist of sorts through evocative images of the piano amidst natural scenery and questions about the Korean adoption of the chamber note A, which is a tuning standard in music, as she uncovers historical, social, and cultural layers in relation to sound.“I took the scene as a symbolic moment of the systems and politics of Western countries related to the musical instrument arriving in Korea. The country’s traditional music did not consider pitch to be important, but the introduction of the piano made a huge impact on the local music scene and Koreans’ auditory perceptions.” — YoungEun Kim Source: The Korea Herald

Brilliant A

YoungEun Kim
United States, Republic of Korea (South Korea) / 2022 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
Broken Sky
The last earthquake that struck Popayán in 1983 not only destroyed the Colombian city itself, but left lasting scars on the lives of its men and women that have been inherited by younger generations. Friends María José and Alejandra deal with the traumas of the past and the pain in their own way – through sunsets, art, poetry and cinema itself. “The most important thing for a house not to fall down is to have a good foundation, and I think it’s also like that with humans, isn’t it?” — Alejandra

Broken Sky

María José Alarcón Ardila
Colombia / 2022 / 24 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
BULUNKUL
High in the mountains of the Pamirs lies Lake Bulunkul and the village of the same name, one of the coldest inhabited places in the former Soviet Union. Mountains, a plain, a herd of yaks. Time has seemingly stood still here. Survival in this inhospitable landscape indeed depends on sensitivity to weather fluctuations and changes in nature.

BULUNKUL

Marie-Violaine Brincard, Olivier Dury
France / 2023 / 30 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Climate Diary
The static view of the sea bay and the urban skyline is the same every day during the coronavirus pandemic. Radio broadcasts, film clips and the sounds of washing dishes can be heard in the background. Meanwhile, the author's voice shares his intimate feelings and philosophical reflections on the changes that emerge in this apparent constancy. “This isn’t a weather diary. It is a climate diary. The changes are very subtle. You can barely feel them.”

Climate Diary

Alekos Alexiadis
Greece / 2022 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
Death is dangerous, it could hurt
The three female protagonists present their personal relationship with intravenous drug use, and their intimate confessions are filled with fear and insecurity but also love for the state of intoxication. Ambient music in the background and colourful textures multiplying over shots of the everyday reality of drug users create an almost dreamlike world. “I won’t feel the full effects the whole night, but it will help take my mind off things.”

Death is dangerous, it could hurt

Mariane Béliveau
Canada / 2023 / 18 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
Heiresses
Who were the unknown heroines who helped to promote women's rights in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century? The documentary by producer and director Silvia Venegas highlights the importance of past and present activism that continues to fill the streets of Spain today with people demonstrating and paying tribute to those whose rebellion advanced the status of women in society and opened up opportunities they could only dream of before. But their journey is far from over… “Who were those mothers who occupied the streets of Europe to fight for our rights (the most important one being the right to vote, which finally recognized us as true citizens)?” — Silvia Venegas

Heiresses

Silvia Venegas
Spain / 2022 / 18 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
Her Plot of Blue Sky
Residents of a retirement home in a Moroccan town film the world around them. For them, the camera is like a seagull in a blue sky, a promise of freedom and purification. It gives image and sound to their invisible lives. The poet and human rights activist Rachida Madani lends them a voice, washing away past traumas and offering hope for change. “I see the moving image as a portal to ourselves and our shared experience as we inhabit different moments of collective presence.” Source: Kamila Kuc's website

Her Plot of Blue Sky

Kamila Kuc
Morocco, United Kingdom / 2023 / 22 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
Homeward
When the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Svetlana went to the Czech Republic with her two daughters. Now she intends to return to the war-torn country. Christmas is approaching and the family wants to spend it with their husband and father, who stayed in the Kyiv region. The camera impartially records the preparation for this risky journey. “I'm telling you that there's a war going on in Ukraine! And you are going there!”

Homeward

Olexi Chubun
Czech Republic / 2023 / 10 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Hovering Over Us
Big events in our lives and on the planet often start with something small. The author therefore puts different species of mosquitoes and glimpses of a childhood under the microscope. Scientific facts about the tiny bloodsucking creatures are mixed with fragmented memories in a ghostly narrative. To understand the past and prepare for the future, both require equal attention. “Every time that you think we're now living in some final, confusing battle arena, and that it will all end badly, you then realize that nothing truly ends.”

Hovering Over Us

Hanna Kaihlanen
Finland / 2023 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
I WAS THERE
The unique testimony of a physician who, thanks to a series of coincidences, survived the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, brings to life the horror of such an act of mass destruction, even after more than 70 years. The mechanics of the forces that could no longer be stopped once they were set in motion are revealed in a cinematic essay that deconstructs petrified historical interpretation. “The poignant and thought-provoking evidence of the secret war tactics reveals the human value during times of war in conflicts.” Source: Chi Jang Yin's website

I WAS THERE

Chi Jang Yin
Japan, United States / 2023 / 14 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Kata's Motherhood
Can someone become a mother without giving birth to a child? Twenty-nine-year-old filmmaker Santwana, who is not yet ready to become a mother, and forty-five-year-old doula Kata, who, though childless herself, helps many couples bring their children into the world, are searching for the answer to this question together. This highly intimate documentary empathetically introduces us to the most beautiful and vulnerable moments of life surrounding childbirth.“You know Khalil Gibran? Do you remember what he says about children? Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” — Kata

Kata's Motherhood

Santwana Bayaskar
India, Portugal, Belgium, Hungary / 2023 / 22 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Microscopic Love
A stormy summer night. Lightning strikes the water. A chain reaction begins. Director Emilien Dubuc uses vivid imagery, evocative sound effects and microscopic shots of biochemical experiments to explain in detail how life on Earth is created. But his narrative gradually becomes less scientific and more personal.

Microscopic Love

Emilien Dubuc
Belgium / 2023 / 12 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
Pitch Black
Inspired by the stories of three protagonists involved in the misogynistic incel subculture, this short hybrid film presents the manifestations and sources of patriarchal extremism, which is increasingly escaping from virtual space into the real world. “The term [incel] has become so detached from the original meaning that it´s become useless.”

Pitch Black

Guillym Davenport
Australia / 2023 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
Shanghai Quarantopia
How has the coronavirus epidemic transformed everyday life in Shanghai? The world seems to have gone black and white. New routines are replaced by often harrowing and bleak intertwining stories, public announcements or cries for help. The director observes these from the shelter of her home, but even this, as a result of isolation, no longer evokes a sense of safe haven. “Over the past two months, my camera witnessed my everyday routines locked in this place. This place seems exactly like my home, but something feels strange here.” — Clarissa Zhang

Shanghai Quarantopia

Clarissa Zhang
Malaysia / 2023 / 13 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
The Most Beautiful Corner in the World
A reporter for a fictional television station, originally from Ukraine, travels around Slovakia and asks people at memorable places questions about the nature of fascism and the soul of the Slovak nation. The documentary essay seeks to capture the shape of a society on the fringes of the political spectrum through the words spoken and the images of crowd scenes. “According to the Centre for Research of Ethnicity and Culture, people in Slovakia generally have an aversion to extremist movements. But at the same time, 75 percent of them identify with several of their ideas."Source: Aktuality.sk

The Most Beautiful Corner in the World

Robert Mihály
Slovakia / 2022 / 25 min.
section: Short Joy
World Premiere
White Grass
In Mongolia, the word dzud refers to extremely cold winters that make it impossible for cattle to dig food out from under the snow. The fundamental transformation of pastoralists' lives caused by climate change is captured in this documentary portrait of a multi-generational family threatened with the loss of their traditional livelihood due to more frequent dzuds.“I discovered film as this really wonderful visual language that helps transport us to different places and introduce us to different characters and emotions that we might not have felt otherwise.” – Justin Kim WooSŏk

White Grass

Justin Kim WooSŏk
Mongolia / 2022 / 16 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
WHOLE FAMILY
The epidemic has divided many families in Romania. Despite various restrictions, one such family tries to stay in touch with both traditions and relatives abroad, even during a burial. In addition to modern technology, black humour helps its members to do this.

WHOLE FAMILY

Alexandra Diaconu
Romania / 2023 / 23 min.
section: Short Joy
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe Media
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
GEMO
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt
Dafilms