Preparations for the anniversary 25th edition of the Ji.hlava festival are now in full swing! Its packed programme will include actress Charlotte Gainsbourg’s directorial debut, the story of LSD populariser Timothy Leary, a unique focus on Romanian experimental cinema and a retrospective of Slovak-Czech ethnographer Karol Plicka.
This year's Ji.hlava starts in six weeks, returning to cinemas after a year-long break caused by the pandemic. “We are looking forward to resuming cinema screenings! We also cherish the opportunity to meet again for inspiring discussions. The festival will bring the faces of the film’s audiences to the venues, and an intense shared experience to the viewers,” says Marek Hovorka, Director of Ji.hlava IDFF. One of the festival’s cinemas will therefore offer a selection of films released last year. “The authors were excited by this idea, and they are very much looking forward to Ji.hlava’s audience,” adds Marek Hovorka.
However, Ji.hlava is not giving up the online potential. After the live part of the festival in Ji.hlava’s cinemas, a fortnight-long online part of the festival will follow starting on November 1. “Each space – the physical and the digital one – has its own specifics, and their programme will be differerent. Some films will only run in cinemas, the internet will offer bonus features that you won't see in cinemas,” explains Marek Hovorka. Festival passes, which are now on sale, provide access to both the live and the online part of the festival.
What will be on the programme of the jubilee 25th Ji.hlava IDFF? In line with tradition, the festival will offer classical and experimental creative documentary cinema and themed retrospectives, plus a number of off-competition sections, including Special Events.
You can find more info in the press release below.
Fresh data from the East West Index 2021, which analyses the representation of different regions at documentary film festivals, was presented today during the debate Back to “Normal”? at Marché du Film / Cannes Docs, co-organised by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
The data collected at 14 European film festivals in 2020 and 2021 have shown that as a result of the pandemic most festivals have decided to cut the number of selected films in their programme. This reduction amounts to 22% in total, with some of the film festivals in focus (such as IDFA, DOK Leipzig and Dokufest Kosovo) having to reduce their programme even more dramatically – to one third or even a half compared with the “regular” year 2019. As a result of the cuts, one in four or five films is missing from festival programmes.
”In terms of regional balance we can see that the programme structure has not changed much, but if we focus on the details, we see how dangerous this trend of cutting down the festival programme can be: The underrepresented regions were even less represented during the Covid year. Of course, the number of films is not the only key criterion when analyzing the impact of film festivals, but losing such a big space for filmmakers might affect the diversity of presented films and change the European film infrastructure“, says Marek Hovorka, director of Ji.hlava IDFF which has been behind the regular East West Index surveys in the past years.
You can find more info in the press release attached below.
The 25th edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF has unveiled its 2021 visual! It was created by the award-winning book graphic designer and artist, Juraj Horváth, who has been the author of the festival’s graphic style for the whole twenty years. “This year's festival poster is dreamy. The film is an opportunity for discovery and finding new answers or asking new questions. And so is the entire documentary Ji.hlava,” says Festival Director, Marek Hovorka. The poster was unveiled yesterday in an orchard planted by the festival organizers two years ago in Jihlava.
The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, which will take place from 26 to 31 October 2021, is coming back to Jihlava’s cinemas after the unparalleled pandemic year. “To me, Ji.hlava represents the annual fulfilment of a dream, the transformation of utopia into reality, and this year's visual is an invitation to dream – because if we don’t, things would be rigid and mechanical. Courage and joy only grow out of dreams,” says Marek Hovorka explaining the message of this year’s poster. “It was beautiful outside, / I was meeting my old friends, / Who were staggering around / Sitting down / And falling asleep / Facing the screen / After midnight / At the DKO / In your head,” says a poem written by Juraj Horváth that traditionally accompanies the festival poster.
I had insects do the job:
Typographic Bark Beetle,
And Irregular Raster.
I picked out
Dots and spots from their works.
Leaving the paintings in the sun for so long
That the lines began to crack at the fine joints
And shrink and peel off
Around the edges.
It was beautiful outside,
I was meeting my old friends,
Who were staggering around,
And falling asleep
Facing the screen
At the DKO
In your head.
What will the 25th Ji.hlava look like?
“We want to draw on the experience of the last two years. In 2019, Ji.hlava had a very festive and summer-like atmosphere, while last year we took the online opportunity to attract thousands of new viewers and bring documentary cinema to their attention. This year we would like to combine these two aspects,” explains Marek Hovorka, commenting on the hybrid concept of the festival, which will for the first time take place both live and online.
New competitions, new awards
This year’s edition will bring more novelties. “After several years of preparations, we have been revamping our competition sections, our jury structure as well as the festival’s award categories. The aim is to pay tribute to documentary cinema which has been undergoing enormous changes, at the same time being the real drive behind contemporary filmmaking,” said Festival Director Marek Hovorka introducing the new concept. As of this year, Ji.hlava will feature the main competition section comprising up to 18 feature films screened in world, international or European premiere. In addition to the new competition concept, the award ceremony will also be innovated. Aside from the main award for the best film, the jurors will also hand out prizes for the best cinematography, editing or sound design, and highlight outstanding formats, such as the best film essay. “Ji.hlava has always been keen to discover courageous filmmakers, thus helping to shape contemporary documentary cinema. That is the festival’s characteristic feature and the selected films that we want to continue to explore,” adds Marek Hovorka.
Best Documentary Book
Another novelty of this year is the Best Documentary Book Award. “Since the start, Ji.hlava has been exploring the documentary realms not only in terms of filmmaking, but also in radio production, computer games, virtual reality and theatre projects. Starting this year, we will also focus on literature, which has a distinct documentary character and contributes to the reflection of the present and thinking about the past,” explains Marek Hovorka. While this year’s pilot edition was only limited to Czech book titles, all English-written publications will be eligible as of 2022.
The 25th Ji.hlava IDFF will take place on October 26–31, 2021. A discounted Early Bird accreditation for CZK 400 (eq. of 16 EUR) can be purchased until June 30. EARLY BIRD accreditation serves as a full-fledged pass to the live part of the festival (film screenings, discussions and lectures, off-screen programme). This year, Ji.hlava also contributes to a selected important project from the sale of accreditations. For each accreditation we donate CZK 50 to support the Živá krajina association, the aim of which is to restore water retention capacity of the Czech landscape. Please note that a higher contribution can also be made – any amount paid on top of the 350 CZK will go to support the project.