26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
A comprehensive look at the documentary methods, creative decisions, styles, and cinematic thinking of exceptional documentary filmmakers.
The Flatform Masterclass starts with the screening of the last film History of a Tree and continues by investigating the close relationship between making a portrait of a non-human living organism, a tree, and the conceptual and expressive modalities of cinematic language. To complete this path, themes very dear to Flatform are addressed, such as the construction of the gaze through the long take, the unitary and, at the same time, multiple character of Nature, the landscape as a place where this multiformity manifests itself. Furthermore, the robotized videoinstallation version which completes the History of a Tree project will be presented through the screening of a videodocumentation.
Flatform: History of a Tree
Italy / 90 min.
What does sound tell us that image does not? Sound field-recording is our research method for understanding the nature of these physical places where energetic, agrarian, natural and political processes take place. Sound is our starting point for revealing elements, relationships, and structures that are not visible and yet foreshadow the challenges of the near future. Supported by the site recordings, photographs and video excerpts, the artists will discuss their experience from the shooting.
Future Landscapes: Expedition Into the Sound
THE BIG SITUATIONAL BANG or rather: “Let's welcome contexts that are remote to us” Film researcher and docu-comedy thinker Jan Gogola Jr. answers rapid-fire questions from his friendly colleague Vít Klusák and will present a cross-section of his 30 years of work that never ceases to amaze. Gogola himself doesn’t refer to his work as documentary films. "I call them situational portraits, live-action essays, or film diaries. I choose the label according to the chosen principle," he says. In his masterclass, he’ll reveal why he works in no other way than this.
Jan Gogola ml.
"Dedicated to all the young in whose spirit a search for truth goes on," writes Oliver Stone at the end of one of his most famous movies, the 1991 drama, JFK. A controversial effort at both rational and completely intuitive collection of key pieces of evidence about the Dallas cross shooting on Friday, November 22, 1963, has lost none of its power and value of expression. In this case, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and director, on one hand, reminds an ultimate Renaissance-like figure, almost a perfectionist master of documentary research, while on the other, he acts as a brilliant manipulator and rebel against conventional (not only) film means. His conflicting body of work is based on original and often very personally shaped frescoes aiming at bringing the viewer to make use of critical thinking, discuss and learn more – even at the cost of stirring conflict. It manifests itself across his "Vietnam trilogy" (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Heaven & Earth), a portrait of devouring power, Nixon, a colossal ode on Alexander the Great, or in his unfathomable TV documentary series, The Untold History of the United States and The Putin Interviews. His critical perspective on the world and history makes no exception appearing in his latest documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, which the director is going to personally present during his masterclass at this year’s Ji.hlava IFDF. A former Vietnamese war voluntary flicks through thousands of classified documents published by the CIA and FBI in 2017, putting the legendary assassination into the context of today’s and yesterday’s political struggles. Even 30 years after the release of such a vital political film, Stone still continues in his search for truth. With his latest work, he once again finds the courage to present new hard facts and theories about the life, political work and murder of John F. Kennedy, enlightening us about the state of the contemporary world and a thin line between truth and lie.
Vitaly Mansky is a Russian documentary filmmaker and chronicler of present-day Russia, born in Ukraine and living in Latvia. After his studies at VGIK he worked as a scriptwriter and presenter of the Russian TV show Real Cinema. His films have been screened at over 400 international festivals, where he has won over 50 awards. As part of the competitive section Testimonies and the Tribute section dedicated to him, he is presenting his two latest films Putin’s Witnesses (2018) and Gorbachev. Heaven (2020), among others, at the 25th edition of Ji.hlava IDFF. Creating an uneasy directorial concept, finding an approach to documentary filmmaking and composing the image and history of the state are the key themes of his masterclass. In his lecture, Mansky will reveal not only how he delves into the archives of Russian history and his own collections of footage, but also how his method turns towards updating the perception of important Russian politicians. The programme is organized in cooperation with Creative Europe Desk MEDIA / Czech Republic