28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
A newsroom of 24 journalists is fired for standing up against censorship. They are determined to set up Papua New Guinea's first independent investigative media, but survival dominates their lives. Less than adequate money is coming in and slowly cracks become visible in the team. How can they bring together a country that mostly lives in isolated tribes and lacks unity while they are both fighting against corruption as well as having battles of their own at home? Julie, the team's star reporter, struggles with an investigation that comes close to home and puts her family at risk.
Slovak Roma, who represent the largest ethnic minority in Slovakia, are most affected by social exclusion and escalating racism. The trauma resulting from police raids, which even years after these brutal events, still shapes their present lives. As do the nightmares and images of the violence they suffered. 600 Raids enters the life of three protagonists showing their desperate longing for a better life. But is such a dream possible in a place where the perpetrators have not been justly punished, still wear a police uniform and enjoy unwavering authority among the white majority population?
Hundreds of people championing national security parade through the world's most important arms fairs: Milipol, Feinde, Shot Show... A man explains the advantages of "non-lethal" weapons. Boom! Unaware pedestrians walk on a street. The explosion forms a musical rhythm. Silence... In a clandestine workshop, a voice is heard, as hands turn a blank-firing weapon into a deadly "homemade" weapon. Behind each technology lies a political and social reason. Artifacts of War is a film essay that examines the market of "non-lethal" weapons, revealing the reasons that justify their use.
Artifacts of War
Barbara Hammer Project explores the films, archives, and impact of experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer, revealing her effort to create lesbian histories, personal & societal. The film queers chronology to introduce audiences to Hammer middle-aged, at the peak of her career, exploring queer intimacy and feminism in her films. We jump through time, to her coming out in the 70s, and to her fight with cancer in the 2010s. Through her self-documentation, Barbara explores queerness, aging, and recognition. The film interweaves Barbara’s lovers and collaborators continuing her legacy in the present, into the future.
Barbara Hammer Project
Women, non-binary people and trans males, of different ages and socioeconomic conditions, talk about menstruation in the different stages of life, its myths and its realities in the different territories and cultures of the world.
Before, During, After
Currently there are 212 different cities which are transporting their inhabitants below the surface of the earth. Below introduces not only mega-cities like Shanghai or New York but also bizarre places like Stockholm’s underground which is designed by 150 artists. Furthermore, Below unveils cities such as Los Angeles, where the empty subway stations become a pure status symbol. Spectacular architecture, hypnotizing unknown tunnels and moving escalators, will be the setting for cultural diversity and social anthropology of the otherwise anonymous passengers.
The thinking of the independence leader, agronomist and Guinean poet Amílcar Cabral agitates still today the “beautiful” notions of independence and equality. Cabral drove Portuguese imperialism out of his country in the 60s and 70s with a cap on his head. This traditional Czechoslovak accessory has become since the Cold War a political, cultural and religious symbol in West Africa and Central Europe. The film sets out to meet its wearers today and explore the forms of struggles that move them in different parts of the world.
Beyond A Knit Cap
A visual essay reflecting on cosmopolitan mobility, remote work revolution, rise of digital nomadism, network states and the challenge they pose against one the most elemental aspects of human existence since the invention of agriculture: The Place as a source for the truth, society and identity.
Marie (45 years old) is a Romani woman, mother of three children and lives an orderly life with her husband Enrik (50 years old), who is trying to get her family and the wider community out of the spiral of poverty that afflicts them. Iveta (35 years old) is Marie's sister and is referred to by many as her complete opposite. She has nine children, but she cannot take care of them due to her addiction to meth. The upcoming film Dajori (which means Mother in Romani) tells the story of how Marie takes care of her relatives at a time when they could not keep a roof over their heads.
Davit’s dream was building a garden for his mom like the one in Henri Verneuil’s Mother film. After he died in 44-day Artsakh war building the garden became his father Bagrat’s only goal. All of this is accompanied by Bagrat’s deep emotional experiences and various feelings. Davit is present. His and Bagrat’s phone call recordings that accompany all this happenings are opening up the dear relationship between father and son, show the sorrow of a human. Garden is built, the trees are blooming. Bagrat has a place to be with his son again, to be with memories: in Davit’s Garden.
Markéta and Mirek Všelichovi were imprisoned in Turkey in 2016 for collaborating with the Kurdish YPG, considered a terrorist group by Turkey. Released after four and a half years, they returned to Czechia. Lacking a permanent home, they started a freight transportation business and resumed their humanitarian aid. Despite having a child, they returned to Rojava to continue their mission. The couple's troubled upbringing and time spent in prison has taken a toll on them and their relationship. Despite the hardships they have faced, they continue to find purpose in bringing hope to others.
Dreaming of Rojava
Through an experimental exploration of ancient symbols and features of the indigenous Central Asian culture, endangered and almost erased during the Soviet Union, Generation revisits nostalgic memories of the Soviet past amongst the Perestroika-era generation in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which are closely connected by the shared culture, colonial history and post-Soviet reality. As the plot develops, we explore central themes present and very sensitive in the region: the effect of the Moscow-centred power and the failure of democracy that happened after the collapse of the USSR.
Bergmanesque ghosts appear at the bedside of Edward Weki, a 75-year-old Sudanese man suffering from the final stage of Parkinson’s: Alma, the nurse of Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona, and a female version of Death from his The Seventh Seal help the old man recover lost memories of his life on the island of Farö.
Anna (23) tries to relax at an illegal rave at night. She meets a guy named Vlad (25). Anna offers him to spend the night together. They rent a hotel room. When the guy goes to the shower, Anna sees a military uniform and realizes that he is a soldier. Vlad and Anna have sex and then a talk during which the soldier discovers that the girl takes antidepressants and therefore does not drink alcohol. Anna offers Vlad to wear the uniform and make love in it. He reacts violently. They quarrel but Vlad offers a compromise: he will wear the uniform if Anna drinks alcohol with him.
I Don't Kiss
Samiya Caliskan immigrated from Bulgaria to Turkey with the assimilation policies in the 80s. Years later, she goes on a journey to Kardzhali, where she had to leave due to political immigration. The familiar places and images that she encounters during his journey accompany the feeling of alienation between the past and the present. An uncertain feeling drags Samiya into a disappearance that she tries to remember her identity among his childhood and youth memories during her visit, which takes place after a long time.
The film follows three years of lives of four family members, whose shared past has grown into a present fundamentally at odds. While Pepa, the film's author and narrator studies at university and is sober, their brother and two cousins have been unhoused for over a decade, each facing their own substance dependency. Mosaic-structured documentary navigates its way through shared trauma, codependency and the core meaning of family. It's a story of a cycle-breaking and acceptance. Story of how to let live (and die) in order to respect not only our loved ones and their journeys but life itself.
If Pigeons Turned to Gold
In Excess is a portrait of a city and its trash, interrogating how gentrification, organized labor, environmentalism and corporate interests have tangled with a decades-long struggle against a rising tide of waste. In this single city’s ecosystem we find echoes of broader American society, and of the cost of the drive toward power and efficiency — what’s gained, what’s lost, and what’s wasted.
Two friends without a clue set out on a journey to survive the end of the world. An atomic cocktail of journalistic, archival, and D.I.Y. Bunker Building, I.C.B.M. addresses the ever growing survivalism trend, the personal price of survival, and the perpetual state of preparedness the world has found itself in since the birth of the atomic bomb.
Inter-Continental Bunker Mission (I.C.B.M.)
Isabella Flore is a 91-year-old deeply religious catholic, a fortune teller and the only inhabitant of an abandoned Sardinian village. She is despotic, loses patience easily and has a bawdy sense of humor. She will never leave the village and does everything she can to save it from oblivion. Unfortunately, despite her strong character, she grows weaker. According to her own prophecy she will die at 93. As she fights in a hurry for the survival of the village and of herself, we slowly discover the reasons behind her resistance. The factual meets the mystical and the place becomes a person.
In the mystical forests and swamps of Polesia, time seems suspended as nature and culture are at peace. We meet four keepers and passers of ancient knowledge, who still carry on the ancestral Belarusian traditions in their daily lives, through rituals and crafts : Misha - the beekeeper, Katsiaryna - the storyteller, Baba Eva - the whisperer and Father Aliaksandar - the priest. We progress in the film as the seasons pass, celebrations take place from Easter to Fall. Our four protagonists try to preserve their fading culture and reconcile past and present, by honouring the dead and the living.
Leave Easy Come Back Safe
The film follows an ecologist’s attempts to implement new methods of nature and fire protection. After the huge fires around the world and locally in the Czech Switzerland park, fire is a topic fresh in the public’s imagination and vital for our future. While nature can adapt can our society? Combining observational filming of our ecologists’ struggles, philosophical musing of our key characters on our changing world together with cinematic filming of nature - capturing beauty, destruction and nature being reborn from the ashes - with the film culminating in a planned fire in a national park.
Light It Before It Burns
Beirut's inhabitants are furious about needing to play the role of the phoenix. Clean, rebuild and move on, an all too familiar feeling. Even the big explosion of the city in 2020 did not bring about the desired change during the crisis of a century. What more needs to happen? While a Syrian refugee family living in an underground parking is plotting to pay smugglers to escape, a dancer and a painter are coping through their artistic ways and a Lebanese family is questioning their faith, after the loss of their brother. Lost Paradise is a poetic mosaic about the vacuum in life after tragedy.
Lost Paradise (working title)
Through the history of the Marathon, held for a hundred years in Košice, a small city in central Europe, we learn stories woven across the world. Stories of people running for freedom, running to be ahead of time, running to run. The history of the town and the history of the marathon are blurring into one. From the first marathon, Košice was part of four different governments. The regime changed, but the marathon stayed. This track and blue lines on the road marking the way to the past. Behind the bend is the present which disappears in the fog of autumn morning in the memory of the runners.
What does a feeling look like, what does it sound like? Mindscapes is about the multifaceted emotional worlds of people with mental illness. Feelings such as panic, emptiness, despair, mania, euphoria, tension, and sorrow are explored, as four protagonists with diverse diagnoses share their experiences. On the basis of the images and sounds associated with the feelings of those affected, a sound designer and a motion designer create a sonic and visual level immersing the viewer deeply in the inner worlds of the protagonists and bringing them vividly closer to what is difficult to explain.
Sandy Bay, Tasmania. Inogen and Audrey navigate their lives in isolation. Finding ways to articulate their reality while feeding hopeless in a place that doesn't suit their young lives, On Plains of Larger River & Woodlands explores the natural and arcade landscape they occupy as foreboding clouds roll in on a brink of a post-apocalyptic existence.
On Plains of Larger River & Woodlands
The story takes us from the first meeting of George H Bush and Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, still part of the USSR, to Yeltsin’s close relationship with Bill Clinton, and his final humiliation and resignation on December 31st 1999, to be replaced by Vladimir Putin. At the same time, war in Europe, once thought impossible, was back with a vengeance. For over half of the decade the continent was the scene of brutal conflict and genocide, from Croatia to Chechnya, Bosnia to Kosovo, Belgrade to Tbilisi.
One Inch Eastward
The film explores the challenges and opportunities that come with using social media as a platform for activism, both for immigrants and also in a country where censorship and persecution are rampant. Reza’s story is not only about personal growth but also about the power of storytelling and the role of technology and social media in shaping the new world. Through his journey, viewers gain a deeper understanding of the complex political and social issues facing Iran. Ultimately, the film highlights the importance of perseverance, determination, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan. Time magazine photojournalist Christopher Morris has witnessed many wars. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a seemingly perfect American suburb where he lives, he finds symbols that trigger his memory. Only the presence of his wife and daughters saves him from madness. When he returned from the wars, he barricaded the door to his archives. He's afraid of the demons hidden there. Will he open it to confront his past?
Riding with Ghosts
For the locals, BeshBarmag mountain is the holy place, for birdwatchers here is the rare migration zone, for illegal hunters here is `open space` for their patriarchal traditions and pleasures. And their realities are unfamiliar to each other at the same place. This documentary is about how people who have diverse mindsets and cultural backgrounds can interpret one locale of nature - an enigmatic mountain witnessing life for centuries, in different ways based on their expectations, desires, and domestic needs.
Society delves into the complexities of human society and the structures that shape it. Set in both Norway and Indonesia, the film artfully juxtaposes two vastly different cultures to explore themes of inclusion and oppression, isolation and safety. The film poses two thought-provoking questions: What do you truly value in society, and are willing to fight to preserve and what can you let go of, even if it causes pain. The interview subjects are chosen from different positions in society in Norway, with a parallel with similar positions in Indonesia. Same questions and observations of similar
Due to a misdiagnosis, Ștefania spent most of her childhood in Romanian hospitals, a past that is difficult to integrate in her adult life. Engaged in a quest of reconciliation with her fragilized body, she takes dance classes and she goes on stage as an artist-performer to show her vulnerability. Between her real and fictionalized memories, she tries to confront her present and while doing this, the camera becomes an instrument of introspection. Thus, the film opens a dialogue about mental health and about the limits of one’s intimacy and vulnerability.
The Cave Without a Name is a poetic essay film exploring night and nocturnal life, drawing evocative connections between creative and scientific exploration, from a punk band’s anti-capitalist battle cry; to nightscapes of a "dark sky city”; a dream guide’s efforts to bring the unconscious into reality; the Rest as Resistance movement; and the evening emergence of more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats from Bracken Cave, the largest maternity colony in the world.
The Cave Without a Name
Danylo Bakhmutskiy lives in the riverside town of Staryi Saltiv, Northeast Ukraine. He was running an improvised ferry service when filming began, shuttling people and goods across the Siverskiy Donets river. His dreams of continuing studies at a sports academy to become a competitive kayaking athlete were dashed, by the need to earn money for the survival of his family. He labours alongside adult men, responsibility resting on his fragile shoulders. This observational documentary follows Danylo after occupation, as he navigates the uncertain world of a teenage boy in a country at war.
Eighteen-year-old Johana enters the critical year of her teenage life. She wants to leave her small Czech hometown – but there’s more than high school graduation that stands between her and her aspirations. Johana’s life is largely defined by her younger sister’s atypical autism and mental disability which shape the everyday life for the whole family. Her decision to leave the town slowly crumbles under the feeling of guilt and responsibility. Can her sister understand, given Johana is her only friend? Can Mum and Dad manage without her help? Johana must figure out how to leave so she can retu
The Other One
The Plant Shelter is a film about the relationship between man and plant, and about learning to understand a different form of life. This documentary tells the story of one of the world's first plant shelters, located in Lithuania, and follows its founder Aistė, a young woman and single mother. A plant no longer desired by a human can find its place in this plant shelter. In parallel to this, the film will reveal the efforts of scientists working to understand plants as not just as an object of beauty or a source of food, but an alternate form of life capable of communication and thinking.
The Plant Shelter
After a drunk driver kills her husband and daughter, Natalie slowly finds her way back by forgiving the offender. Can this unlikely friendship be Edgar’s chance of salvation? To Set A Prisoner Free is a portrayal of people standing on opposite sides of a deep chasm caused by a common trauma. A story about the conditions of those at the bottom and of forgiveness as a way to tear down walls.
To Set a Prisoner Free
It’s 2037 and global temperatures have risen. Phoenix, AZ, the hottest city in the USA, has become a physically dangerous place to live. But nighttime provides slight respite. Shot entirely at night, Valley of the Night explores how this desert city is becoming nocturnal as it adapts to survive the extreme heat. From blooming night flowers, to electrical blackouts, to unsheltered people’s cooling strategies, this speculative, but probable world, surveys Phoenix’s people, activities, urban structures, and natural phenomena, under the moon and artificial light.
Valley of the Night
Combining documentary footage with stylized dance sequences, Vestibule tells the story of filmmaker Riley Hooper's journey with Vestibulodynia — a vulvar disorder that makes intercourse painful. The film also explores stories from her grandmother and great-grandmother, their own struggles to have agency in their bodies, and the silence and shame that so often surrounds the female body. Ultimately, she tells these stories in order to invite viewers to examine their own relationship with their body, and what may not be serving them on their own path toward agency.
Filmed with vérité intimacy over the course of thirteen years (2011 - 2023), Without Arrows is a longitudinal portrait of a modern Native American family. Without Arrows follows three generations of the Fiddler family living on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation as they experience both tenderness and tragedy.
In 1974, after a failed coup, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern part of the island. Displacing two hundred thousand people and killing thousands. Disillusioned by political inaction, a group of women took matters into their own hands. Thousands of women from across the world and members of the filmmaker’s family faced the occupying Turkish army in an attempt to return the refugees home. Marking fifty years since and using a vast historical and personal archive, the film turns back the clock to look at what we are made to forget and how memory is dictated by the state.
Women Walk Home
This film is an intimate exploration of decolonial, feminist and indigenous voices within the realms of Western science and ecology. By bridging together two distinct knowledge systems – Western science and indigenous wisdom – it will provide an original perspective on the current ecological crisis, challenging the historical dominance of Western scientific monoculture and opening new avenues for understanding and addressing environmental challenges.
Word for the World is Fire
In the world of Model UN, American teenagers practice international politicking by representing nations and debating the world’s most pressing issues. Set against the backdrop of global crisis after crisis, we follow three aspiring ambassadors and their varied approaches to diplomacy. Whether it be a sincere pursuit for justice or a personal quest for victory, their experiences open up profound implications for global peacekeeping: who is genuinely invested in progress and who is merely interested in career advancement?
You Have the Floor
After being raped and chopped by her husband, Pavla calls a domestic violence hotline. Recognizing the emergency, they offer her and her two kids a place in a shelter which houses women from diverse backgrounds. Their ironic laughter and banter might seem out of place, but it's their way of finding strength. Pavla tells her new friends about a dream of hers, and they take it upon themselves to make it come true. But Pavla hears husband's apologies and the pull towards him grows. She's neither the first nor the last to struggle with the simple desire to keep going to her Pilates class.