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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

Between the Seas

Between the Seas is a competition section for the countries and nations of Central and Eastern Europe, including their historical, political, and cultural interrelationships.

→ The winners will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

film database

Antigone - How Dare We!
The classical heroine as a symbol of moral resistance against the malevolence of the state is significantly transformed in Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s conception. His polemic interpretation of the famous myth is interspersed with acted passages from the staging of his drama The Triple Life of Antigone set in a Ljubljana housing estate. In contrast to this, there are television recordings of political cataclysms – from the division of Berlin to the birth of the Baader–Meinhof Group, from raw images of the refugee crisis to how it was discussed by the European Parliament. Against this backdrop and using Antigone, Creon and the chorus as a mouthpiece, the director asks crucial questions about the essence of law and morals in the world of broken-down democracy. „It is a kind of political essay on European democracy today and at the same time a combination of a feature-length documentary, because I want to present the key points of Žižek's drama at the same time.” J. Sever    
personal program

Antigone - How Dare We!

Jani Sever
Slovenia / 2020 / 87 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Belonging
At the initiative of the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa, ethnic Germans began settling in the Danube basin from the 18th century. In many Eastern European countries, they lived together with the locals up until World War II when their Germanness became a pretext for violence that only a tenth of its victims survived. This captivating journey into recent history revisits the silent trauma through a series of painful memories of witnesses who hover over the question of whether belonging to a nation means being held accountable for the acts that have been committed on its behalf. Their voices emerge from behind the visual band of witnesses to these events – houses with paint chipping off, the cold landscape, and abandoned and forgotten cemeteries.     “The question of belonging is universal – it consists of the desire to define oneself in relation to others. It is also something that we did not choose. It is a primary need, but also a fleeting, fragile, and – depending on the context – convincing idea.” T. Lukač
personal program

Belonging

Tea Lukač
Serbia / 2020 / 49 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Between Us
Various forms of partnerships, love, and intimacy are examined in a detailed empathic study by a young female director. The film is riddled with themes of a lack of freedom, emotional scars from previous relationships, cheating, and gender fluidity. With the help of structured conversations between three couples, who read each other questions prepared by the director, and archival footage of their everyday family and romantic life, we gradually get a comprehensive picture of a contemporary love life.    "Marcel: What are you most afraid of?  Carolina: Spiders. And that you’ll end up leaving me."  from Between Us (32:00-32:06)Q&A with the director of Between us Dorota Proba:
personal program

Between Us

Dorota Proba
Poland / 2020 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Journey around the home in 60 Days
The sheer range of Romanian films created as a result of this spring's lockdown has shown us how we can cope with the crisis. A lyrical montage of old footage set within the context of isolation alongside a video art compilation from public cameras around the world evokes feelings of melancholia, whilst a puppet fairytale criticises the establishment and the capitalist machine in a time of crisis. The film is comprised of personal archives reminiscent of a deceased grandmother and functions as both an impressible testimony and an excursion into Romanian history. This mix of genres is accompanied with playful animation and a sci-fi film about an alien’s visit to Earth during the coronavirus crisis.   „The deserted streets look alike one evening in Sokhumi, in Abkhazia, and one afternoon in Buchurest, during the lockdown.“ from Journey Around the Home in 60 Days.  
personal program

Journey around the home in 60 Days

Alexandru Solomon, Alina Manolache, Andra Tarara, David Schwartz, Laura Pop, Teona Galgotiu, Vlad Petri
Romania / 2020 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Landscape Zero
This observational documentary, interwoven with staged scenes, introduces the issues associated with the co-existence of nature, people and industry along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. With purely visual resources and without any commentary or dialogue, the director presents the real story of local inhabitants, who are portrayed for the camera by professional actors. This unsettling environmental appeal against civil passivity is suggestively demonstrated through static shots composed around a central point.  The target of the unspoken yet obvious thoughts consists of the consequences of imprudent interventions in the landscape, which have a direct impact on the daily life of society. Their critical nature is enhanced by the detached ambient sounds and subtle background music. „The title can be interpreted as the landscape of industrial disaster. However, the meaning of the title goes beyond ecology; it could also serve to interpret the anthropological context of the relationship between human beings, nature and culture, industry and activist ecology.” B. PavićYou can watch the director’s introduction HERE Q&A with the director Bruno Pavić:
personal program

Landscape Zero

Bruno Pavić
Croatia / 2020 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Latvian Coyote
The Latvian-Russian border may seem like just an area of endless swampy forests and villages filled with dilapidated buildings and no people. But this inhospitable place also happens to be a destination for refugees from various countries heading through Eastern Europe, as it not only represents the end of their painful journey but also the pathway into the Schengen Zone and open borders. Long-term unemployment and an influx of immigrants have creative a new job opportunity for smugglers known as “coyotes”, who risk their own freedom to help others find freedom for a small reward. This observational documentary shot over the course of three years follows smugglers, refugees, and law enforcement: three sides of a hopeless socio-economic triangle.     “My goal was to show a border portrait of the border. It seems to me that there is a tunnel — a 2-kilometre-wide tunnel called the "border zone." And in that tunnel you can very well see how the world is changing, how globalisation is happening.” I. Zviedris    Q&A with Ivars Zviedris:  
personal program

Latvian Coyote

Ivars Zviedris
Latvia / 2020 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Refugees Are Welcome Here
"Open the borders," chant democratically-minded people in Berlin and frustrated refugees behind the barbed wire of makeshift camps. Encounters with empathic volunteers and clashes with repressive state forces and hostile ultra-right citizens are woven together in a crooked trajectory. The director focuses on the dramatic atmosphere of the unenviable presence and uncertain future of the refugees through direct immersion into emotionally tense events. Without hijacking events with commentary or standing in the position of a distant witness, the film allows the viewer to become a direct participant in the path to freedom through in-your-face camera work.     "When you're filming between ultra-right groups, the most important thing is to act as if you belong there and keep calm. I don’t take part in the discussion, I record their statements because they want me to, I never ask them questions. T. Rafa
personal program

Refugees Are Welcome Here

Tomáš Rafa
Slovakia / 2020 / 97 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
THE LAST IMAGE
What’s it like to live with vision loss, knowing that someday soon you’ll never be able to see the faces of those you love again? This film is a survey of the lives of people living with visual impairments who have either already gone completely blind or are slowly losing sight of the world around them, but still do not give up in their pursuit of happiness and a life of positivity. The film’s protagonists share their feelings, fears, and frustrations, but also their most memorable visual sights, their dreams, and their hope of perhaps one day being able to go on living an almost completely normal life. The film’s lyrical storytelling style, melancholically stylised frames, and fragments of personal archives contrast with the harsh realities of the lives of people living with visual impairments.   “It’s mostly moments that I remember. Not even images. A smile is what I can remember... or the sparkle in someone else’s eyes.” from THE LAST IMAGE (00:01:40–00:01:54)   Q&A with Judith Zdesar:  
personal program

THE LAST IMAGE

Judith Zdesar
Austria / 2020 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Us Against Us
The director and her father take a camera in hand and film each other during interviews in which they discuss schizophrenia, their own pasts, and their personal conceptions of happiness. The film is a personal statement of two people affected by or marked by a mental disorder - a father forced to live with it and a daughter who had to grow up with a sick and often absent father. During filming, they try to find understanding for each other while revealing their inner traumas. One of the secondary topics is what it is like to undergo treatment for a mental disorder in Romania, as the father expresses frustration with the way he and his condition are viewed by the local healthcare system.Introduction from the director Andra Tarara:
personal program

Us Against Us

Andra Tarara
Romania / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt