20 October 2022
In the international competition, Opus Bonum, Czech cinema will be represented by Viktor Portel's The Investigator, screeened in world premiere, which will also be present in the Czech Joy Competition. The National competition is filled with 21 Czech films, of which 14 will celebrate world premieres at the festival. Ji.hlava's Special Events will present festival favourite Art Talent Show or Jan Švankmajer's brand-new doc Kunstkamera. Good Old Czechs by Tomáš Bojar will worldpremiere in the Testimonies section and Czech films also appear in Short Joy and Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz sections.
The Investigator, directed by Viktor Portel and produced by Hana Blaha Šilarová from Frame Films, is the only Czech representative in Ji.hlava's Opus Bonum competition this year. The documentary, supported by the Czech Film Fund for production, follows former investigator of The Hague Tribunal who returns to the Balkans to places where the war crimes were committed nearly 30 years ago.
Viktor Portel's film also appears among the selection of Czech Joy section. National competition for Czech documentaries presents 14 brand-new Czech films in world premiere, focused on various topics - social minorities, experimental formations or portraits of lesser-known personalities of the Czech cultural scene.
With an award at Agora WiP earlier this year, Robin Kvapil's Citizen Miko already achieved success as a project in the making before its selection for Ji.hlava. The film, produced by Martina Štrunc (Silk Films) and backed by the Czech Film Fund for development and production, tells a story of a half-Romani truck driver from the Czech Republic who decided to help children from refugee camps. Morover, Slovak and Czech Roma community, struggling to live in Great Britain, is a theme for another Czech Joy competitor, Leaving to Remain by Mira Erdevički. Slovak-British-Czech doc, produced by Zuzana Mistríková of PubRes (in co-production with Spring Pictures and Czech companies Krutart, Arcimboldo and Czech Television), was also backed by the CFF.
Life in a society that struggles to incorporate non-traditional relationship models is addressed by Jana Počtová (Non-parent, K2, My Way) in Happily Ever After, produced by Martin Hůlovec & Jakub Pinkava of Punk Film and supported by the CFF for both development and production. In addition, FAMU student Kateř Tureček focuses on a similar topic in Humans, which is an autobiographical portrait of a non-binary person, but at the same time a testimony about the life of non-binary people in the Czech Republic.
Two films competing in the Czech Joy section bring the spotlight on life in a pandemic. While Tereza Vejvodová explores the increasing rise in homelessness in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in her feature debut From the Bottom, Jan Foukal delivers a slightly more positive impact of the pandemic in Homies (produced by Silvie Michajlova & Ondřej Zima of Evolution Films), in which he survives a coronavirus lockdown with a friend and fellow-musician.
The Czech cultural scene is also a theme for the filmmakers selected for Czech Joy. Produced by Petr Minařík & Pavel Řehořík of Větrné mlýny and Mátyás Prikler & Zora Jaurová of MPhilms (who all worked with the support of CFF for production), Bandits of the Ballad by Vladimír Morávek follows a group of burned-out intellectuals from Brno who travel to the Ukrainian Kolochava to perform their famous play titled A Ballad for a Bandit.
While Petr Michal‘s meditative documentary Found by the One She Seeks follows the current life of an esteemed Czech literary translator, Anna Karenina, Gen A: Do What You Love, directed by Kryštof Zvolánek and produced by Matěj Kretík, delivers a portrait of Jakub Strach aka NobodyListen, a successful Czech DJ and music producer.
Sound and music in a scientific-environmental context are the topic for experienced documentarist Ivo Bystřičan (Byeway, My Latest 150 000 Cigarettes). In Invisible Landscapes, produced by Tereza Swadoschova of Era Production, the experienced documentarist reveals that sound and music can resonate significant energy, natural and political processes. Furthermore, both existential and environmental questions are also asked by FAMU student Anna Petruželová in her documentary "how much is it uncomfortable for dogs to step out on a highway?".
The topic of being and non-being is firmly conceived by Jan Bušta, who will present his experimental drama a-B-C-D-e-F-G-H-i-JONESTOWN, a documentary reconstruction of the largest mass suicide of recent time, produced by Radim Procházka and backed by the CFF. Moreover, Martin Ježek and Jaroslav Tarnovski also return to the futility and hopelessness of life in an experimental way. Their film / preformance We Want to Die is a rebuilt of E. F. Burian's infamous poetic story (titled We Want to Live) of a proletarian couple from Communist Czechoslovakia 1949.
Jihlava' Czech Joy will also present documentaries that have already received attention in the international field this year. The festival will host Czech premieres of Kapr Code by Lucie Králová and Adam Ondra: Pushing the Limits by Jan Šimánek & Petr Záruba (both world-premiered at Visions du Réel), Pongo Calling by Tomáš Kratochvíl (Sheffield DocFest), The Visitors by Veronika Lišková (Locarno IFF), Darkening (Venice IFF), Those Who Dance in the Dark (Warsaw FF) and All Ends Well by Miroslav Janek.
Although it has been touring Czech cinemas for a few weeks now, the first festival screening of Tomáš Bojar's new film Good Old Czechs, an Odyssean story of Czechoslovak airmen fighting across war torn Europe, will take place in Ji.hlava's Testimonies.
As a co-director next to Adéla Komrzý, Bojar is also a creator of celebrated documentary Art Talent Show (KVIFF's Proxima winner), focused on the talent admissions exams at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, which will be presented in Ji.hlava's Special Event. The same section will also screen Kunstkamera. In his last film, traditionally produced by Jaromír Kallista of Athanor, world-famous auteur Jan Švankmajer approaches works of art, curiosities and everyday objects.
All three aforementioned films have been supported by the Czech Film Fund.
Jihlava's bite-size and experimental competitive sections also feature brand-new Czech documentary films. While Short Joy gives floor to two FAMU films, Passportless Mess by Maja Penčič and Serpentis by Sarah Lomenová, Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz, competition aimed at experimental Czech cinema, will screen 14 Czech works of which 13 will celebrate world premiere.
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