Czech Joy in the Spotlight at the Jihlava IDFF 2016

24 October 2016

Czech Film

Czech Joy in the Spotlight at the Jihlava IDFF 2016

Czech Film

Czech Joy in the Spotlight at the Jihlava IDFF 2016


Jihlava IDFF offers a four-day industry programme for film professionals and Czech Film Center will participate in it with the presentation of the recently finished Czech documentaries. Czech filmmakers will present their brand new documentaries and show the short previews of the films selected for the Czech Joy competition section. The event will take place in the Lighthouse on Thursday, October 27, 2016.

Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival opens its 20th edition on October 25, 2016. It’s the largest documentary film event in Central and Eastern Europe, taking place in the Czech Republic. The festival is dedicated to discovering new filmmaking talents and the so far unknown film titles and to blurring the line between documentary, fiction and experimental film.

Presented projects:

My Name is Hungry Buffalo

(Jmenuji se Hladový Bizon)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 83 min
DIRECTOR Pavel Jurda
PRODUCER Radim Procházka (Produkce Radim Procházka)

Jan calls himself Buffalo. He loves cowboys, he’s blind, and may lose his hearing. Pavel Jurda’s documentary follows his journey to America to visit the chief of the Navajo tribe, who wants to perform a ritual to help his hearing. The film is full of unpretentious humor thanks to Jan’s charisma. In the USA, he’s like the Don Quixote of the Wild West - a naive adventurer in a world that is much more ordinary than his imagination. This observational, but not standoffish, film is also an example of how the medium of film can relate to blind people by constantly showing the difference between what Jan perceives and what we actually see.


Traces, Fragments, Roots

(Stopy, střepy, kořeny)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 20 min
DIRECTOR Květa Přibylová
PRODUCER Ondřej Šejnoha (FAMU)

A museum of rotting apples, a Christmas tree shedding its needles, a splintered tree trunk, maggots crawling over a honeycomb… The sound of a falling apple hitting the ground, speech classes, Christian sermons, the baaing of sheep… Images and sound continuously come into contact with each other in the twenty-minute film Prints, Shards, Roots, presenting creative encounters between the human world and nature. The film could be termed an experiment, but it is more of an evocative lyrical series of images and sounds, which gain power through the effective shots taken with a 16mm camera. The beauty of the decaying natural items that is consistently called is set against a backdrop of human artefacts, which is slightly indifferent but no less mysterious.


Arms Ready

(Do zbraně)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 39 min
DIRECTOR Barbora Chalupová
PRODUCER Ondřej Šejnoha (FAMU)

Firearms are a multifaceted phenomenon in contemporary society. For some they are a symbol of power, for others they represent certainty, and for others still they are a source of danger. Barbora Chalupová interviews gun owners and people interested in a gun permit, and explores the availability (both legally and illegally) of firearms in the Czech Republic. Her film makes partial use of the internet as an unconventional narrative tool, but is otherwise a typical interview-style documentary. The filmmaker also explores legal gray areas related to homemade weapons.


Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laoczi

(Český žurnál: Krtek a Lao-c')
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 85 min
DIRECTOR Filip Remunda
PRODUCERS Petr Kubica (Czech Television), Vít Klusák (Hypermarket Film), Filip Remunda (Hypermarket Film)

In one episode of Czech Journal, Filip Remunda focuses on the Chinese president’s visit to the Czech Republic and launches into confrontational discussions with the citizens of a country that violates human rights and where people are imprisoned for their opinions, but whose population proudly voices their allegiance to their prospering country. Footage of the protests held by the Czech public, and in the opposite situation, when the Chinese greet the president with joy, as well as interviews with a Chinese dissident and with a Czech teacher, are interspersed with the saying of Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978. The film thus opens the question as to with whom the Czech president is fostering warm international relations.


Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life

(Český žurnál: Exekuce)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 64 min
DIRECTOR Andrea Culková
PRODUCERS Petr Kubica (Czech Television), Vít Klusák (Hypermarket Film), Filip Remunda (Hypermarket Film)

One day, documentary filmmaker Andrea Culková learned that she faced attachment of assets because of a minor error that she learned about too late. She thus became one of the many people to find themselves caught in a debt trap. In her contribution to the Czech Journal series, Culková delves into an examination of the phenomenon of debt, debt recovery, and debt payments in Czech society from a personal as well as investigative viewpoint. She interviews various actors in the field, from debtors to the Minister of Justice, attends conferences of debt collectors, and explores how the issue is addressed in other countries.


Czech Journal: Teaching War

(Český žurnál: Výchova k válce)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 70 min
DIRECTOR Adéla Komrzý
PRODUCERS Petr Kubica (Czech Television), Vít Klusák (Hypermarket Film), Filip Remunda (Hypermarket Film)

This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.


Helena’s Law

(Zákon Helena)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 80 min
DIRECTOR Petra Nesvačilová
PRODUCER Klára Žaloudková (Background Films)

Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which lead her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.


Love Me If You Can

(Miluj mě, jestli to dokážeš)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 63 min
DIRECTOR Dagmar Smržová
PRODUCERS Veronika Slámová, Petr Kubica (Czech Television)

In other countries, sexual assistance for disabled people is an established concept, but it is only just getting started in the Czech Republic. Documentarian Dagmar Smržová approaches the subject in a style reminiscent of the films of Erika Hníková. She has chosen three handicapped men and one trained sexual assistant, and follows them in everyday situations, casually asking them various questions. The film explores a subject that, although it is a serious social issue, the public has either ignored or finds controversial. Above all, however, she offers a sensitive look at the intimate lives of people living with disabilities.


Blind Gulliver

(Slepý Gulliver)
World Premiere
CZ 2016, 105 min
DIRECTOR Martin Ryšavý
PRODUCER Klára Žaloudková, Radim Procházka (Background Films)

In Martin Ryšavý’s new film, the film medium becomes an analogue of the human mind. The artist uses it not only to organize memories, but also as a specific instrument of perception. The film features scenes from visits to Ukraine and Russia, a monologue by a Russian tarot card reader, and the director’s eye exam. Using focus, he creates parallels between the camera and the sight organ; with editing, a web of associations emerges in which personal memories intertwine with observations of public political and social events. Blind Gulliver is a film about searching for perspectives in all senses of the word.


FC Roma

CZ 2016, 76 min
DIRECTORS Tomáš Bojar, Rozálie Kohoutová
PRODUCERS Tereza Polachová (HBO Europe), Pavla Janoušková Kubečková (nutprodukce)

A chronicle of the FC Roma football club, whose members have to persuade the other - “gadjo” - teams in the third league to play against them, transforms into an excursion through the various types of everyday Czech xenophobia. The filmmakers’ inconspicuous, observational approach gives a voice to the charismatic coaches, who, with a healthy ironic worldview, comment on a society that gives them virtually no chance. The dialogue of the various protagonists is the most prominent feature of this stirring, yet hopeless sounding documentary. Racism proves to be absurd, often unintentionally comical, but often also chilling.


Other Czech documentaries in the Czech Joy selection:


Normal Autistic Film

(Normální autistický film)
CZ 2016, 90 min
DIRECTOR Miroslav Janek
PRODUCER Jan Macola (Mimesis Film)

Children with autism don’t suffer from an incurable disease. They suffer because they are neurodiverse in a world set up for neurotypicals. With that perspective, Miroslav Janek embarks on a series of live meetings with a number of children and young adults who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He gives them the opportunity to express freely their relationship with the world and with themselves, as well as what sets them apart from “normal”. We find that he’s brought us into the company of fun, fascinating people who often suffer because they are labelled as “disabled”. This excursion into the world of autism redefines the seemingly firm boundaries between “otherness” and normality.


Instructions for Use of Jiří Kolář

(Návod k použití Jiřího Koláře)
CZ 2016, 130 min
DIRECTORS Roman Štětina, Miroslav Buriánek
PRODUCERS Karina Kottová (Association of Friends of Jindrich Chalupecky), Marek Pokorný (PLATO), Tereza Porybná (Czech Centres)

Roman Štětina returns to the subject of radio in a documentary project created in collaboration with radio director Miroslav Buriánek. In documenting Buriánek and the members of the KLAS theater ensemble as they prepare a radio adaptation of Kolář’s poetry collection Instructions for Use, Štětina tries to explore radio directing as a distinctive but hidden artistic act. Without showing the viewer the final radio production, Štětina offers us a unique chance to witness the creative process involved in creating a radio adaptation. The voiceover features commentary on the events in the studio.


The Way the President Departs

(Jak odchází prezident)
CZ 2016, 52 min
DIRECTOR Pavel Kačírek
PRODUCER Alena Müllerová (Czech Television)

The compilation documentary The Way the President Departstakes us back to the events surrounding the presidential elections in Czechoslovakia in 1992 that led to the dissolution of the federal republic. The film, which uses clips from Czechoslovak Television and Original Videojournal, focuses on the first elections, in which the sole candidate was Václav Havel. It is Havel himself who is the focus of the film. We see primarily his immediate reactions to the changing situation around the elections, whether those intended for the public or expressed within his circle of advisors. In addition to observations of an important Czech politician, the film evokes public life in the 1990s.


Screening schedule of Czech Joy section: HERE


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