The 25th edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors. The festival programme took on a hybrid form: after the physical edition on October 25–30, the online part followed on November 1–14. The festival presented 338 films and over 100 discussions. There were 5,698 accredited visitors and guests this year, and 85,000 viewers watched the films: more than 30,000 visitors in cinemas and almost 55,000 online viewers. The Inspiration Forum discussions, which are still accessible online, have had over 25,000 views.
“We are very happy that, even in the pandemic times, the Ji.hlava IDFF attracted our audiences back to cinemas and showed how important culture and social gatherings for each of us are. We are glad to report that our safety measures have been efficient and generally complied with. The subsequent online part of the festival has confirmed that Ji.hlava can reach its audience both live and digitally. Thanks to the online part, the individual documentaries had several times more viewers. This is also a long-term effort of the festival team – to make the films available to the broadest possible audience,” said Festival Director Marek Hovorka.
This year’s Ji.hlava IDFF hosted 5,698 visitors and guests. Over 1,200 viewers and professionals attended the online part. Attendance of the live festival exceeded 30,000, and the Ji.hlava Online registered 32,000 film views. When converted by a factor of 1.7 (used by streaming services to determine the number of viewers), we arrive at nearly 55,000 online viewers.
Out of 338 screened films, 100 were shown in their world, international and European premiere. This year, films competed in 6 sections. Films were shown in 8 screening halls in Jihlava and in Třešť. The programme offered over 100 Q&As after screenings and over 25 discussions as part of the Inspiration Forum. The online part of the festival included 13 streamed evening screenings accompanied by an introduction and Q&As with the filmmakers.
Greatest attention at the online Ji.hlava was dedicated to Out in Force made by Czech director Martin Mareček, a portrait of film critic Kamil Fila that reflects on the current conception of masculinity. Close behind came Brotherhood directed by Francesco Montagner. The film that tells a story about three boys growing up in an orthodox Muslim family also won the main prize in the Czech Joy section. Other award-winning films, such as the unconventional portrait of the last Soviet statesman, Mikhail Gorbachev, called Gorbachev. Heaven by Vitaly Mansky and the winner of the Opus Bonum section, Lines directed by Barbora Sliepková were also greatly popular. One of the five most viewed films was also the short Love, Dad by director Diana Cam Van Nguyen.
This year’s Inspiration Forum was also a success with the audience. Over the course of five days, 25 programmes and discussions held live in Jihlava or online brought nearly 80 guests from all over the world, including gender studies legend Judith Butler and Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi. Among the guest speakers was one of the most notable contemporary ecological thinkers, David Abram, Canadian philosopher and writer Nick Srnicek or famous US psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry. The live Inspiration Forum discussions were attended by 2,500 visitors, and the online discussion space was visited by over 25,000 viewers.
Over 420 children could become a part of the Ji.hlava for Kids programme. The six-day platform for kids offered 15 workshops, 6 performances, 5 concerts and other off-screen events.
This year’s Ji.hlava festival spot was created by Filipino director Khavn, and the festival prizes were designed by visual artist Federico Díaz.
Dozens of activities also took place as part of the Industry Programme, intended for film professionals. This year it reached more than 1,200 film professionals from around the world, 200 of whom joined the programme online. The festival hosted for example the educational workshop Emerging Producers, Festival Indentity and Conference Fascinations focusing on experimental film distribution. “Over 40 upcoming documentary films from Europe and the USA were presented as part of the industry programme at the first annual Ji.hlava New Visions Forum. Another novelty was the relocation of the industry programme to a new auditorium of the College of Polytechnics in Jihlava,” said Head of the Industry Programme Jarmila Outratová.
The 26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival will take place on October 25 – 30, 2022. More information at www.ji-hlava.com and on the festival’s Facebook and Instagram.
TOP 20 / Ji.hlava Online (November 1–14, 2021)
1. Out in Force
11. Dark Red Forest
12. One-room School
3. Gorbachev. Heaven
13. How to Kill a Cloud
4. Love, Dad
5. Peculiarity of the Fisherman’s Soul
15. Blood Kin
6. Leaving Beginnings Behind
17. The Law of Love
8. Votes for the President...
18. The Sailor
19. No Desire to Hide
10. This Time Is Not for Us
20. A Marriage
See the list of all awarded films of the 25th Ji.hlava IDFF here.
The 25th Ji.hlava IDFF has announced its winners. The best Czech documentary is Brotherhood by Italian director Francesco Montagner, the award for the most notable international documentary film was granted to Lines by Barbora Sliepková. The jury of the Testimonies section appreciated How to Kill a Cloud by Finnish director Tuija Halttunen. The award for original approach went to Chinese director Rikun Zhu for his film No Desire to Hide. The Contribution to World Cinema award was granted to director Jana Ševčíková. The festival trophy of the 25th annual Ji.hlava IDFF was designed by Federico Díaz. And Ji.hlava goes on(line)!
The 25th anniversary edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF presented the awards, but the documentary joy is far from over! At 6:00 PM on October 31 is when the festival will take on the form of a two-week long Ji.hlava Online. It will offer more than a hundred films from the programme of this year's live edition. The audience will be able to see not only most of the winning films, but also the most interesting ones. All films in the programme will be available to watch until midnight on November 14, and with Czech subtitles. Accreditations for the live version of the festival are also valid online. A separate accreditation for the online programme costs CZK 400. The film programme will be geoblocked for the Czech Republic.
Festival visitors can also look forward to live streams. Ji.hlava will continue a live service until November 3. The service will include interviews, film tips, as well as online discussions of the Inspiration Forum. Each day, Q&As with filmmakers will be featured as well. The first one – with Russian director Vitaly Mansky – will take place on October 31 at 8 PM.
And what can documentary film fans expect in 2022? Next year, the Ji.hlava audience can look forward to an extensive showcase of Filipino documentary cinema.
The 25th Ji.hlava IDFF is halfway through.
The third day of the festival also dished out several premieres from the Czech Joy section. Among them was Votes for the President or Attempted Counterrevolution by Martin Kohout that captures the social and political events leading up to the 2018 presidential elections. The audience could also see the animated documentary Love, Dad by director Diana Cam Van Nguyen, who reflects on her relationship with her father. Heaven directed by journalist Tomáš Etzler, which takes viewers to a Chinese orphanage, and How I Became a Partisan by Vera Lacková, which tells the story of her great-grandfather, a Romani partisan, also had their world premieres.
The Inspiration Forum featured a discussion by gender studies legend Judith Butler. “My family said that if I study philosophy, I’ll never find a proper job. Well, I think I’m quite alright,” said Judith Butler. Polish women's rights activist Marta Lempart, who co-founded the National Women's Strike movement, also spoke on the topic of “equality and inequality”. And what will the Friday’s programme bring?
One of the highlights will be Cow by British Oscar-winner Andrea Arnold. It will be screed as part of the Constellations section that traditionally presents a selection of the cream of the world's film festivals. This year, the section comprises twenty documentaries. The protagonist of this time-lapse documentary is a dairy cow named Luma. The film follows the animal, whose life is reduced to the exhausting cycle of calf rearing and milk production, for several years.
Documentarian Jan Látal invites viewers into the world of aging Czech singer-songwriter Jan Nedvěd. This Time Is Not for Us follows the popular musician on what may be his last tour. “I like controversial figures. And Jan Nedvěd is one of them. Half the people love his work, the other half laugh at it. But I was wondering who Honza Nedvěd really is,” says the director.
The Opus Bonum section will treat the audience to the film A Letter to Nikola by the Greek director Hara Kaminara. The audiovisual letter to an unborn child is an intimate confession on the border between the personal and the social. The rescue ship Aquarius, whose crew helps refugees stranded in the stormy waters of the Mediterranean, is a space of imagination built on the humanistic message of a photographer of stories of human misfortune.
The festival section Reality TV will showcase director Erika Hníková’s Single Moms. The film draws attention to the social issue of single parenthood. The main characters of the film are three single mothers who find themselves in difficult life situations: moving out of their apartment, trying to reconcile work and family life or the absence of a partnership.
How to Kill a Cloud follows by Finnish director Tuija Halttunen follows meteorologist Hannele Korhonen who is challenged by a wealthy sheikh from the United Arab Emirates to try to invent artificial rain. The film will be screened in the Testimonies section.
And what will be the topic of the day at the Inspiration Forum? About digital technologies and their potential to create a fairer world. Discussion entitled Gain without Pain will focus, among other things, on the fourth industrial revolution. The discussion will host Canadian economist Nick Srnicek whose new book Platform Capitalism offers a key to understanding innovations in large digital companies such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba. The programme will be available online at the festival’s Facebook profile.