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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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First Lights

First Lights is a competition section for the debut feature lengt documentary film from all around the world, with the price for the Best Documentary Debut Film.

film database

A house
An observational documentary that focuses on the Tentative Association, which helps young people with autism develop independence and socialization skills. Seven autistic people live in a big house and, together with their helpers, they fill their days with household tasks. Community coexistence offers a way for the inhabitants of the house to achieve their desired goals and the sharing of everyday work becomes the primary source of narrative. The film is a careful observation of life in this house. Actions and behaviors speak for themselves, giving space to the primary figures, not to those who make decisions about their lives.   "Thanks to the camera, I was able to get close to the inhabitants of the house. It acted as a kind of a screen between us, a way to avoid direct contact - which is problematic for some autistic people. When I looked at the LCD screen or directly into the optical viewfinder, I was able to really get close to them, which would be impossible with a direct gaze.” J. Auffray, FID interview
personal program

A house

Judith Auffray
France, Switzerland / 2019 / 81 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Gevar's Land
This portrait follows the daily life of Syrian Gevar, who left for France with his family and wants to apply for asylum in Reims, in the northeast of the country. Back in his homeland, Gevar’s passion was tending his garden and he is determined to pursue this hobby in a new place. He rents a small plot of land in the suburbs to spend time with his family. The film is not just about Gevar's passion for gardening, but it also shows from a completely different perspective the reality of war refugees’ lives in a new country and the hardships associated with applying for asylum, language barriers, and the difficulties with finding a job and supporting a family. "Gevar’s land explores the question: how do the land - by working it, by farming it - forge an organic tie between a man and a space ?" Q. Barhamji
personal program

Gevar's Land

Qutaiba Barhamji
France, Qatar / 2020 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Ghosts: Long Way Home
Picturesque Portuguese countryside is rich in legends about supernatural creatures, souls and witches who guide the locals through their everyday lives, helping them resist the hectic pace of modernity. The author meets the ghost of his late grandmother Marie, who tells him about his family history and mysterious stories imbued with rural superstitions and spirituality. Vivid, sunny images of rural idyll and seemingly real-life dialogues blur the line between a documentary ethnographic study, a family archive and a live-action film about unexplored Portuguese mythology and its thriving tradition. “I wanted to create a fantastic world. I enjoy creating such a world removed from reality, because I feel that my grandmother's beliefs and myths are part of a fantastic world.” T. Siopa
personal program

Ghosts: Long Way Home

Tiago Siopa
Portugal / 2019 / 119 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Home of One's Own
Ruba Atiyeh was born in Lebanon but she grew up in exile with the rest of her family. The cinematic experiment Home of One’s Own is an expression of alienation that shaped her identity. Using a camera and candid dialogues, she tries to get closer to her mother and to understand her own nature, her own roots through her mother’s destiny, demands and expectations. The intimate autotherapeutic video diary, where the director’s memories powerfully blend with those of her mother, can be seen as a record of the effort to find a narrative in which we don’t have the role a foreigner. Q&A with the director and crew:  
personal program

Home of One's Own

Ruba Atiyeh
Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt / 2020 / 80 min.
section: First Lights
European Premiere
Interregnum
The whole world experienced it. Empty streets. A restricted social life. Listening to news reports about increasing numbers of infected and dead. A slow return to the norm only after several months. The first people in the streets and the first stroll through the city. Because of the declared state of emergency and mandatory quarantine requirements, Fernando was stuck in Barcelona and César in Santiago. Together, they have created a penetrating film collage from their everyday impressions during the days of stagnation and uncertainty and from the letters they exchanged between March and May 2020. The leitmotif of their Covid correspondence is the desire to move about freely and a search for fixed points. One of these is a deep friendship. "Fragile and uncertain, like the era of the pandemic, the film emerges as a dialogue from the domestic, as an act of resistance that starts from the real and opens up to the possibility of reversing it" C. Souto Vilanova, F. Gómez-Luna  Q&A with César Suoto Vilanova, Fernando Goméz-Luna:  
personal program

Interregnum

César Souto Vilanova, Fernando Gómez-Luna
Spain / 2020 / 79 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Motherlands
The refugee crisis through the eyes of a smuggler. Modern Odyssey lined with railway embankments, sleepers, darkness, the atmosphere of danger, and disappearing hope. A journey across the continents for peace, freedom and seeming prosperity brought Hervé to Europe. He buried his original motherland, Ivory Coast, under the traumatic memories of war. His new home is a shabby Greek apartment where he can live his illegal life with his newborn and Greek girlfriend. A five-year-long look into the life and conscience of a man whose existence is unexpectedly moving in a direction where the line between the moral and the amoral is as blurred as the footage of raids shot by the terrified director.     „What is morality when you have no choices? What is ethical when you have no rights? Can we be judged? And if so by whom?“ G. BabsiYou can watch the director’s introduction HEREQ&A with the director Gabriel Babsi: 
personal program

Motherlands

Gabriel Babsi
Hungary, Romania / 2020 / 73 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Nagastyle
A radical introspection and a film diary that leads us into the heart of a noisy Indian city and of a life stranded in shallow waters. A gifted artist, Nagnath aka Nagastyle, reflects his journey to make his dream come true based on the notes in his diary. His hopes for creative filmmaking are swiftly replaced by endless routines of early mornings, long travel on crowded buses and sitting around in an uninspiring office. The crises becomes a theme, the film becomes perhaps a means of therapy but above all a study of alienation served straight, unfiltered, with complete honesty and mundanity.   „With the help of two friends and sometimes I lonely shot during the work time. Four months' time for shooting and eight months for editing. For me this film like selfie…“ N. Kharat   Q&A with Nagnath Kharat:  
personal program

Nagastyle

Nagnath Kharat
India / 2020 / 93 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
ZAHO ZAY
Endless cane fields on the "red island" of Madagascar. This disturbing comment from a female guard at an overcrowded prison serves as the basis for a psychoanalytic search for a missing father. Hypnotising fragments of images of Malagasy society torn apart by war, poverty, corruption, and crime. Mobilised crowds of submissive yardbirds, female prisoners forced into hard domestic labour, shamanic rituals of impoverished villagers. A roll of dice - an obsessive ritual of a suspecting father, a serial killer - inspires the mystery of a young woman's desire. A literary journey with elements of an alienated detective story accompanies us alongside real and symbolic prisoners throughout the history of a decimated island.     "Here‘s My Baby, Oh Beautiful Foreign Bird (Malagasy Lullaby) White bird from afar, take my baby away Fly with her high up in the sky, and if she hushes, bring her back to me. O o o o o, ooooooo." G. Tiller, M. Ranaivojaona     Q&A with Maéva Ranaïvojaona and Georg Tiller:  
personal program

ZAHO ZAY

Maéva Ranaivojaona, Georg Tiller
Austria, France, Madagascar / 2020 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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