28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Docu Talent Awards 2023 went to a Picture to Remember, Chronicle, and An Almost Perfect Family, Emerging Producers 2024 were announced, with Philippines as guest country
Eight outstanding documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe, planned for theatrical release during the upcoming 12 months – the Docu Talents from the East – were presented yesterday as part of CineLink Industry Days at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
Projects from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine made it to the final selection of Docu Talents from the East 2023.
The Docu Talent Award was granted to the most promising projects. The international jury decided to split the award between two projects: A Picture to Remember by Ukrainian director Olga Chernykh and producer Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon, and the Czech-Slovak co-production Chronicle by Martin Kollar. The award is accompanied with financial prize 5,000 USD in cooperation with the festival’s partner Current Time TV.
The 3,000 EUR in-kind DAFilms.com Distribution Award was awarded to An Almost Perfect Family by Romanian director Tudor Platon, produced by Carla Fotea and Ada Solomon. The award covers international VOD release on DAFilms.com (including Americas, Europe, Asia) for two years.
The jury gave the following statements:
“The personal and intimate A Picture To Remember presents a unique vision of life during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Through the experiences of three generations of women: the director, her mother and her grandmother, the film presents the human experience of war powerfully and with tenderness. We also found the writing in the trailer quite evocative.”
“We found Chronicle to be a film without words that speaks loudly. The cinematic experience communicates a certain urgency. The creative collage of images evokes striking tension, suggests interesting metaphors, and conjures microcosms of absurdity in our world.”
“The jury is pleased to award the DAFilms Award to An Almost Perfect Family. With emotional and moving generational echoes, we found the pitch intimate, clear, precise — and brave.”
Since 2005, Docu Talents curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, has been a launch pad for a number of documentaries by both renowned and emerging directors such as Laila Pakalniņa, Vladimir Mansky, Bartek Konopka, Piotr Stasik, Peter Kerekes, Dmitrii Kalashnikov and Helena Třeštíková. Films presented at Docu Talents in the past had world and international premieres at major film festivals including in Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam and Sundance.
“The awarded films tell the story of today's world in a subjective and straightforward way. Each in its own way, they find a cinematic language to talk about moments that turn life upside down. Yet, these films about the start of a war in one's own country, the suicide of a partner or the break-up of a family are not emotionally primal but layered. They have their own poetics and a resulting authenticity that manages to discover humor and insight even in these moments, as well as to create a space for dialogue with the audience,” says Marek Hovorka, director of the Ji.hlava IDFF.
EAST WEST INDEX 2023: DISPROPORTION REMAINS
Representatives of the Ji.hlava IDFF presented in Sarajevo also results of this year’s EAST WEST INDEX (EWI) – an exclusive survey among key European documentary film festivals, which focuses on figures representing individual regions.
Thanks to EWI, we found that the 2020 pandemic led to a 20% reduction in the number of films compared to 2019, which was a total of 600 missing films. As cheerful as the current data is, the 14 tracked festivals still presented nearly 150 fewer titles than in 2019.
The East West Index was launched by Ji.hlava IDFF to see how many films from Western and Eastern Europe are being screened by European festivals. In general statistics, both hide under the category "European film", but it is notable that for festivals in Western Europe, on average only one in seven are from Eastern Europe. Conversely, for Eastern European festivals, on average one in two films is from a Western European country. Nothing has changed in this ratio in the last five years.
EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024 WERE ANNOUNCED
During the event, the representatives of the Ji.hlava IDFF also revealed the names of the Emerging Producers 2024. This unique programme aims at promoting talented European documentary film producers and provides them with a range of networking, educational and promotional support throughout the year. 17 European producers will be accompanied by a producer from Philippines, which is the guest country of the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. The Emerging Producers programme consists of two workshops – taking place in Jihlava in October 2023 and during the Berlinale in February 2024.