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18th Annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival

The 18th annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival takes place 23-28 October 2014. From over 2,800 submissions, the programming committee has selected over 200 films from 42 countries, including 57 world, international or European premieres. These premieres include 10 Czech films in competition in the Czech Joy section.

Over the course of its existence, the Jihlava festival has become an indispensable Czech and worldwide documentary event, and an active contributor to the promotion and distribution of documentary films. The Jihlava festival is a co-founder and member of Doc Alliance, a prestigious union of seven important European documentary festivals.

Program – Year Eighteen

As in past years, the largest celebration of original documentary film in Central and Eastern Europe will present a diverse range of Czech and foreign films, with many world, international, European, and Czech premieres.

“This year’s festival is a true tribute to the artistic and independent film scene. This tribute will take place in the presence of such special guests as Kidlat Tahimik (which translates to “Quiet Lightning”), founder of independent Filipino cinema, whose films from the 1970s were declared by Werner Herzog to be among the most free to come out during that time, and noted Chinese director Wang Bing, winner of awards at festivals in Venice, Rotterdam, Yamagata and Marseilles,” said festival director Marek Hovorka.

The Face Of The Festival

The central motif of the 18th festival is a stark black-and-white symbol of a factory. It’s not only the dominant visual feature of the festival, but has also found its way into the films themselves. The poster was designed by artist, educator and publisher Juraj Horváth. This year’s festival trailer was created by the legend of Czech and world cinematography Jan Němec. This was his very first experience with this format; the intensity of the final form, however, can be felt in his short statement on the trailer’s filming:

“There are no ‘small’ or ‘big’ films. Twenty seconds expresses concern about the possible demise of film. I sound the alarm myself and the shadow of my hand is my signature.”

1. Organization And Awards

The festival is organized by the Jsaf civic association. In 2013, the festival issued more than 2,900 festival passes. Of these, 782 were for film professionals and festival guests from the Czech Republic and abroad, and 156 were for journalists. The festival screenings were attended by a total of more than 30,000 viewers.

The following awards will be presented as part of the 2014 Jihlava Idff:

· 2014 Best International Documentary Film Award (Opus Bonum competition)

· 2014 Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film Award (Between the Seas competition)

· 2014 Best Czech Documentary Film Award (Czech Joy competition)

· 2014 Best Experimental Documentary Film Award (Fascinations competition)

· 2014 Best Debut Film Award (First Lights competition)

· 2014 Best Short Film Award (Short Joy competition)

· 2014 Contribution to World Cinematography

2014 Spectators Prize 2014 Respekt Award for the best television or video reportage · Silver Eye Award in the categories of short, mid-length, and feature documentary

(part of the East Silver market organized by the Institute of Documentary Film)

· 2014 Award for the Most Beautiful Festival Poster

· 2014 Audience Award for the Most Beautiful Festival Poster

2. New At The 18th Jihlava Idff

This year’s festival brings two new competitions: the former non-competition section Short Joy, focusing on short films, has received competition status, and in the new competition First Lights, the jury will choose the best debut film from the Opus Bonum, Between the Seas and Czech Joy sections. And of course there’s our annual retrospective of distinctive personalities and unique thematic sections.

The Complete Letters

This unique project is the brainchild of the Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, in which five pairs of world-renowned directors exchanged audio-visual “letters”. These letters will be presented at Jihlava in their Eastern European premiere. Filmmakers such as meditative artist Naomi Kawase, legend of the New York avant-garde Jonas Mekas, “lone wolf” Albert Serra and critical chronicler of contemporary China Wang Bing invite viewers into their private lives and into the secrets of their artistic poetics.

“It’s remarkable to see how much each letter reflects the personal style of each of the directors. Never have two directors with such radically different styles come together like this,” commented festival programmer David Čeněk.

Forgotten Filmmaker JIŘÍ PolÁK

This photographer, director and sensitive individual who escaped to the “place where dreams are made real” – the island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf prior to the August occupation of Czechoslovakia – is one of the forgotten figures of Czech cinema. Jiří Polák was able to film Hospital in Kuks, but did not enjoy any domestic recognition. After his emigration and short stays in Vienna and Switzerland, he accepted film assignments in Iran.

Tribute: Alain Resnais

“Renowned French director passed away on 1 March 2014 at the age of 91. In memory of his work, we have prepared two screenings of his lesser-known or completely unknown films. He himself was instrumental to an unprecedented extent to the development of documentary filmmaking in France, and showed its new stylistic possibilities,” says festival programmer David Čeněk about this unique presentation of Resnais’ (mainly) early work. Alain Resnais The majority of Resnais’ works being presented at this year’s Jihlava Idff have been shown only a few times in France, and are being screened in the Czech Republic for the first time ever.

Retrospective: Kidlat Tahimik

A special guest at this year’s Jihlava festival will be the “father of Filipino independent film” – director, actor, screenwriter and producer Kidlat Tahimik, the founder of the so-called Filipino New Wave and an influential commentator on post-colonialism and power imbalances throughout the world, praised in the West by Werner Herzog when he said that [Tahimik’s] films from the 1970s are among some of the most free works on film of their time.

3. Jurors

The jury for the competition section Opus Bonum traditionally consists of just one person – a notable personality from world cinema. This year, this honour has been bestowed on a significant figure from the Yugoslav Black Wave – Želimir Žilnik.

The best film in the Between the Seas section will be chosen by:

· French film theoretician Raymond Bellour

· Spanish director Albert Serra

American artist Deborah Stratman Artist Kateřina Šedá Czech Joy Jury:

Poet Petr Hruška Former director of Czech Television Ivo Mathé Film historian Tereza Czesany Dvořáková Documentary filmmaker Bohdan Bláhovec The winner of the experimental competition Fascination will be determined by the Austrian master of found footage Peter Tscherkassky and his wife, filmmaker Eve Heller.

The historic first judging of the Short Joy section will be conducted by members of the art group Rafani.

4. Competition Sections

Czech Joy

Competition for the Best Czech Documentary Film 2014.

A prestigious selection of new Czech documentaries, including 10 world premieres. Films include Daniel’s World (Veronika Lišková), a look at the last taboo of modern society – paedophilia. The delightful film Long Live Hunting! (Jaroslav Kratochvíl) takes aim at Czech hunting. Shadows of the past are revealed in the film Pavel Wonka Commits to Cooperate ( Libuše Rudinská), which examines whether the last Communist prisoner was a dissident and symbol of the revolution – or an StB collaborator. The section also includes a pair of family portraits: Family Business / from Videodiary (Jakub Wagner), and Marislav Janek’s eagerly awaited new film The Gospel According to Brabenec, about Vratislav Brabenec of the Plastic People of the Universe.

World Premieres · Daniel’s World, Veronika Lišková, Czech Republic 2014, 75 min

· The Gospel According to Brabenec , Miroslav Janek, Czech Republic 2014, 85 min

· Long Live Hunting! , Jaroslav Kratochvíl, Czech Republic 2014, 62 min

· Pavel Wonka Commits to Cooperate , Libuše Rudínská, Czech Republic 2014, 73 min

· The Plan , Benjamin Tuček, Czech Republic 2014, 91 min

· The Czech Way , Martin Kohout, Czech Republic 2014, 90 min

· Family Business / from Videodiary , Jakub Wagner, Czech Republic 2014, 60 min

· František of His Own Kind , Jan Gogola Jr., Czech Republic 2014, 26 min

· Lets Block , Martina Malinová, Czech Republic 2014, 47 min

My Farm Is My Castle , Jiří Stejskal, Czech Republic 2014, 87 min

Opus Bonum

Competition for the 2014 Best World Documentary Film

Opus Bonum selects the best noteworthy documentaries representing diverse trends from around the world. Sixteen films are in the Opus Bonum competition for best world documentary film, including 5 world premieres, 5 international premieres and 1 European premiere. Films in this section include Rock On Bones, a personal view of the Russian independent music scene, and the film-poem Fovea Centralis, which skirts the fringe of video art, composed of multiplied images from the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s closed-circuit cameras.20 Cents shows what happens when public transportation fares in São Paulo are increased and the carnival atmosphere is replaced by one of guerrilla warfare.

World Premieres · Aged , Philip Hoffman, Canada 2014, 45 min

· Rock on Bones , Caroline Troubetzkoy, France 2014, 145 min

· I Am the People , Anna Roussillon, France 2014, 110 min

· In Your Eyes , Pietro Albino Di Pasquale, Italy 2014, 78 min

Fovea Centralis , Philippe Rouy, France 2014, 50 min International Premieres · Chasing After The Wind , Juan Camilo Olmos Feris, Colombia 2014, 60 min

· Water to Tabato , Paulo Carneiro, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal 2014, 45 min

· 20 Cents , Tiago Tambelli, Brazil 2014, 52 min

· Buenos Aires Free Party , Homero Cirelli, Argentina 2014, 74 min

The Shelter , Fernand Melgar, Switzerland 2014, 101 min European Premiere The Beijing Ants , Ryuji Otsuka, China 2014, 88 min

Between The Seas

Competition for the 2014 Best Documentary Film from Central and Eastern Europe.

Between the Seas is a competition section for the countries and nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Between the Seas presents 17 films, of which 4 are world premieres, 2 are international premieres, and 2 are European premieres. The Serbian Lawyer is one of the films seeing its world premiere at Jihlava – a film about the man who defended Slobodan Milošević and Radovan Karadžić, criminals from whom he had fled during the old regime. Another premiere in this section is Zuzana Piussi’s Transference , which sketches a dark picture of the state social care system for threatened children in Slovakia after the death of an abused child. Also in competition is the latest film by unsparing Austrian analyst Ulrich Seidl. In the Basement reveals that the basement is a rather important place for many Austrians, where you’ll find the usual hunting trophies and unusual bars, but also town council members and their swastikas, sadomasochism and other “hobbies”.

World Premieres · Transference , Zuzana Piussi, Slovakia/Czech Republic 2014, 57 min

· The Serbian Lawyer , Aleksandar Nikolić, Germany/Great Britain/Serbia 2014, 82 min

· Pill Junkies , Bartosz Staszewski, Poland 2014, 76 min

Ocean , Tamara Drakulić, Serbia 2014, 77 min International Premieres · 6 Degrees , Bartosz Dombrowski, Poland 2013, 81 min

A Last Year in 114 Minutes , Daniel Nicolae Djamo, Romania 2014, 114 min European Premieres Euromaidan: Rough Cut , Roman Bondarchuk et al., Ukraine 2014, 60 min Don’t Breathe, Nino Kirtadzé, France 2014, 86 min


Competition for the 2014 Best Experimental Documentary Film.

Fascinations is a competition screening of experimental films that offer us unique approaches to the depiction of reality. The section will present 33 films, including 7 world premieres, 6 international premieres, and 4 European premieres.

Premiere films include:

An animated work based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus (Active Image O directed by Becky James); the unguided choreography of white points in black space (Fascinating Moments by Yoshiki Nishimura); a memorial to one’s father using old photographs and chemical manipulation of the film itself using salt and seaweed (Dark Matter by Karel Doing); and a journey through a digitally manipulated landscape (L by Jacques Perconte).

World Premieres

· Active Image O , Becky James, USA 2014, 8 min

· Dark Matter , Karel Doing, Netherlands/Great Britain 2014, 20 min

· Fascinating Moments , Yoshiki Nishimura, Japan 2014, 4 min

· L , Jacques Perconte, France 2014, 15 min

· Our Hands Are Empty , Sj Ramir, Australia/New Zealand 2014, 10 min

· Jupiter Lolopop , Charlotte Dunker, Belgium 2014, 5 min

Study of Synchromy , Patrick Bergeron, Canada 2014, 3 min International Premieres

· Cut Out , Guli Silberstein, Great Britain 2014, 4 min

· The Civilization Desire , Carolina Astudillo, Spain 2014, 7 min

· A.D.A.M. , Vladislav Knežević, Croatia 2014, 13 min

· Digital Landscaping , Sangsok Ko, South Korea 2013, 4 min

· Field , Yi Myun, South Korea 2014, 6 min

Salers , Fernando Dominguez, Argentina/France 2014, 9 min European Premieres

· Beep , Kyungman Kim, South Korea 2014, 10 min

· Callisto , Youjin Moon, USA 2014, 14 min

· Droga! , Miko Revereza, Philippines 2013, 7 min

Frame Walk , Hayoung Jeon, South Korea 2014, 6 min Short Joy

Competition for the Best Short Film 2014 .

This year, this originally non-competition section devoted to short films has been transformed into a new competition section. The fifteen competition entries include films from all over the world, dealing with a wide spectrum of topics, and representing many current trends in contemporary documentary filmmaking. The Czech entry, Arguments by Andran Abramjan (who received an honourable mention in last year’s Czech Joy competition), considers the possibilities of dialogue on the Ukrainian crisis from both the eastern and western points of view. The purely observational film The Limits of Europe, underscored by the noise and sounds of protests, explores the spontaneous architecture of seven Kiev barricades erected in the streets leading to Independence Square. The contemplative and imaginatively filmed The Length enters the world of jazz legend Ted Curson.

First Lights

Competition for the Best Debut of 2014

Further evidence of Jihlava’s mission to support the film industry and share in the discovery of new talents is the presentation of a new competition section that rewards the best first work. Debut films presented as part of the traditional competition sections Opus Bonum, Czech Joy and Between the Seas have the opportunity to “battle it out” in a space that is not limited by territory. Comparing Czech and other Eastern European documentaries with their competition from the rest of the world can be a valuable experience, an opportunity to see commonalities and differences. It can also provide mutual inspiration not only for the films’ creators, but also for producers and other film professionals.

5. Non-competition Sections


Experimental films from the Czech lands

This section is a non-competition survey of contemporary trends in Czech experimental film. Screenings will include films by renowned artists as well as filmmakers who just starting out.The unsettling video art of Zbyňek Baladrán, who focuses primarily on “archaeological” work with found material, can be seen in Dead Reckoning, showing the sterility of modern man’s life in four sequences featuring statistics, psychoanalysis, income and paranoia in the leading roles. Alice Růžičková’s film Autonomous Calábek takes a look into the plant kingdom. Made from a montage of scientific and film experiments, her portrait of a pioneer in plant physiology takes on surrealistic qualities.

Special Event

New world and Czech films, pre-premieres and festival hits

Alice Nellis presents Adoption: A Piece of Fortune, a kaleidoscope of stories with the same ending – a longed-for child. This opening film of the Jihlava Idff is a documentary exploration of a complex topic. In contrast, American master Errol Morris’ film The Unknown Known is a chilling look at former Us Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. The Last of the Unjust by Claude Lanzmann captures the testimony of Benjamin Murmelstein, the “puppet king” appointed at the end of the Nazi era to the position of the last “Ältester” of the Judenrat at a model Jewish ghetto. Also worth mentioning is Regarding Susan Sontag, director Nancy Kates’s portrait of one the most important intellectuals of the 20th century.


Documentary and fiction are not opposites

Doc-fi expresses the conviction that the boundary between documentary and fiction is permeable. This year, three unusual films will be screened. Requiem for Beauty by Chinese author and Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian examines the space between film, poetry and painting. His multi-language monologues touch on themes that people do not speak about much anymore. In Beyond Icebergland, a man, a woman and a child occupy an invisible common film space, but not the same reality. It’s an ephemeral chronicle of a frozen time and a collage of images from a disappearing world, a film on the frontier of documentary, mystification and delightful genre games. Czech filmmaker Ondřej Vavrečka’s Among Us is an experimentally tinged love story that takes place during the time when the country was coming to grips with the death of Václav Havel.

6. Doc Alliance

Doc Alliance is the result of a creative partnership of seven key European documentary film festivals: Cph:dox Copenhagen, Doclisboa, Dok Leipzig, Fid Marseille, Jihlava Idff, Planete Doc Film Festival and Visions du Réel Nyon.

The aim of Doc Alliance is to help documentary films reach as many viewers as possible, and to systematically support their distribution through their festival markets and through the alliance’s online platform

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