Three Czech films or coproductions will celebrate their International or North American premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. Winter Flies by Olmo Omerzu, "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" by Radu Jude and Vitaly Mansky’s Putin’s Witnesses were already awarded at the Karlovy Vary earlier this summer.
Young talented director Olmo Omerzu received a price for the Best director for his movie Winter Flies at Karlovy Vary IFF, which will go to Toronto IFF right after entering Czech cinemas at the beggining of September and will be part of Contemporary World Cinema section. The main producer of the Czech-Slovenian-Polish-Slovak co-production in Jiří Konečný / endorfilm.
Learn more about the film in the interview with Olmo Omerzu here.
Another entry to the Contemporary World Cinema section at TIFF is "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" by Romanian director Radu Jude, which was awarded the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary IFF. Produced by Ada Solomon (Romania / Hi Film Productions), in coproduction with the Czech Republic (Jiří Konečný / endorfilm), France, Bulgaria, and Germany, the film reconstructs a ghastly incident from Romanian past and it is an ingenious update of Hannah Arendt’s incisive work on the banality of evil. Supported by the Czech Film Fund to the tune of €156,863, Jude’s latest project is the second collaboration between Romanian producer Ada Solomon, director Radu Jude, and Czech producer Jiří Konečný, following the successful Aferim! from 2015.
The third film with Czech participation to screen in Toronto (TIFF Docs) is Vitaly Mansky’s Putin’s Witnesses, the winner of the Documentary Films Competition at Karlovy Vary IFF. The Latvian-Swiss-Czech coproduction takes a fascinating look at the start of Vladimir Putin’s presidential career. It is the third collaboration between Vitaly Mansky and Czech producers/directors Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák (Hypermarket Film), following Under the Sun and Pipeline. The film was backed by the Czech Film Fund with €39,216.
Shot in Prague: Xavier Dolan's new filmAnother Czech imprint in Toronto this year is the long-awaited film by Canadian director Xavier Dolan The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which will have its world premiere as part of the Special Presentations program. Dolan skipped Cannes earlier this year to continue post-production on his movie, which stars Kit Harington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Ben Schnetzer, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, and Sarah Gadon. The film was partly shot in the Czech Republic in March 2017, with line producing by Prague based Film United.
The film tells the story of John F. Donovan, a rising American actor whose career is cut short when a magazine reveals his pen-pal relationship with an 11-year-old British boy. The film was supported by the Prague Film Fund in its first call, receiving €38,300. The production spent € 1,3 million during the shooting in the Czech Republic and the incentives backed by the Czech Film Fund reached €257,000.
Director and screenwriter Tugo Štiglic ranks among the most widely known figures of the Slovenian youth film. As a child, he had a leading role in Valley of Peace (1956), one of the most crucial Slovenian films and one of the most successful ones beyond the country’s borders. The film was directed by Tugo’s father, France Štiglic, with whom Tugo, an Art History graduate, later worked as an assistant director. He also assisted on many live-action feature films by other directors (Funeral Feast by Matjaž Klopčič, Idealist by Igor Pretnar, Love by Rajko Ranfl, and others), including all Slovenian 1970s and 1980s teen classics: Hang on, Doggy; Apprenticeship of the Inventor Polž; and Strawberry Time. At the same time, he started to work as a director, focusing on documentary shorts. In 1985, he was awarded a Golden Medal at the Belgrade festival for This Makes One Angry, a documentary portrait of Just Godnič, an activist with the TIGR anti-Fascist organisation.
His feature debut, A Summer in a Sea-Shell (1986), introduced into Slovenian teen cinema popular music and dance, after Jane Kavčič and Rajko Ranfl had already lured audiences with humour, action, and romance. Štiglic was the first to set a theatrical youth film to the seaside, capturing the once prominent film location of Piran, along with Portorož and the salt pans, on camera for the next generation. Skilful direction of young non-professional actors, deft combinations of real teenage issues and youthful idealism against a backdrop of visually attractive scenes and the prettiest sunset in the history of Slovenian cinema; the mix of soft pastels and the sound of a synthesiser –A Summer in a Sea-Shell was the ultimate youth film for the generation of teens in the 1980s, and continues to be one of the top and most positive things people associate with adolescence in the decade before Slovenia’s independence. In Slovenia, the film had a theatre attendance of more than 100,000. It was also released in other countries (and dubbed in German), and won three international awards: Grand Prix at the Giffoni Film Festival in Giffoni Valle Piana, Italy; Grand Prix in Saint-Malo, France; and Grand Prix in Szeged, Hungary. A videotape with A Summer in a Sea-Shell was an indispensable item in every Slovenian household, and for the next 25 years, the film would be considered the best that the Slovenian film industry can offer to young audiences.
Two years later, A Summer in a Sea-Shell had a sequel: set in Ljubljana, it could be labelled the first Slovenian feature-length dance film. The main characters, Tomaž and Milena, came to be so popular that many already envisioned Part 3 – and if circumstances had been different, Štiglic and his crew would have delivered it.
In the years following Slovenia’s declaration of independence in 1991, Štiglic made two live-action TV films: Nasmeh pod pajčolanom (1993), based on a short story by Milan Pugelj, and Tantadruj (1994), based on a short story by Ciril Kosmač. With his next theatrical film, Patriot (1998), with Igor Karlovšek as the screenwriter, Štiglic showed his Hollywood-style ambition, making one of the few Slovenian action films and one modelled on the style and visual language of popular American 80s and 90s thrillers. In this sense, Patriot, which has since become a cult classic, remains a unique phenomenon in the history of Slovenian cinema.
Later on, Štiglic made three more youth films: TV film Double Holidays (2001), based on the eponymous book by Brane Dolinar, Pozabljeni zaklad (2002), based on a novel by Ivan Sivec, and TV film Black Brothers (2010), based on a tale by France Bevk. In the latter, he revisited the subject of pre-WWII anti-Fascist resistance.
In the decades of working as a director for the Slovenian National Television, he made an array of documentary, reportage, promotional, and ethnographic films and radio dramas.
At the Cannes screening of a restored version of Valley of Peace, his first appearance on camera as a 10-year old boy, Tugo Štiglic said: “When it was made, I failed as a child to realise the timeless message of this film – that nothing defines people more than their humanity.” The same could be said of films in general. And this is exactly what Tugo Štiglic has managed in all his works, especially those made for young audiences, to illuminate and, in a non-aggressive and non-preachy way, highlight and raise – humanity.
Chair of the Jury for the 2018 Badjura Award
Prestigious Film Festivals Select Films in the Czech Republic
Prague, 18.3.2019 – Harry Vaughn, programmer of the Sundance Film Festival, comes to Telč, Czech Republic every year to meet talented filmmakers who participate in the international documentary filmmaking workshop dok.incubator. This unique programme connects film professionals with established European and American editors, producers and sales agents, and together they work on their documentary projects.
“dok.incubator has proven an invaluable resource for fresh talent and surprising, unconventional storytelling approaches. The hands-on approach from their tutors and mentors help cultivate some of the most exciting nonfiction stories out there,” says Harry Vaughn. Together with other selectors of famous film festivals, such as IDFA, Hot Docs, CPH:DOX and Visions du Réel, they look for projects that educate and inspire people.
“The workshop is one of my must-goes on the calendar as I always find some extraordinary films for IDFA here. It brings together a group of talented filmmakers with extraordinary projects and high end tutors with the goal to push each individual project to a higher level. For filmmakers, this is a unique chance to get the best out of their film,” says Joost Daamen, Senior Programmer from IDFA.
For eight years, the rough-cut workshop has been searching for young talents and providing filmmakers with intensive training not only in the field of editing, but also with sophisticated distribution, communication and marketing strategy under the guidance of established film experts who will meet in Telč from 23rd to 29th June. “We have a team of tutors from all over Europe and North America and we teach filmmakers how to master the creative process so that at the end, they have a powerful documentary,” says Andrea Prenghyová, the founder and director of dok.incubator programme.
Participating film projects – drawn from around the world, including Latin America, Europe, Africa and Canada – deal with important social and personal issues that will expand the horizons of the viewers to learning more about the world, such as living in the war zone, child abuse, present problems of social system, and many more. Besides eight international projects, dok.incubator supports also four regional projects, directed by Czech filmmakers.
Among the films that participated in the workshop over the past few years, one was shortlisted for the Oscars, one received an Emmy Award, five have been nominated for European Film Awards, and twenty have competed at the world's most prestigious documentary film festival IDFA. Nine films on which dok.incubator has been collaborating since 2012 screened in the main competition at Sundance.
If you’d like to schedule an interview with one of our tutors or guests, please contact:
Complete list of all the tutors and decision makers:
Complete list of all the selected projects:
MIDPOINT Shorts is a professional project development program open to creative teams of writers, directors, and producers.
Within two residential workshops, the participants get to develop their scriptas well as prepare the production and promotional aspects of the projects. The workshop format is based on one-to-one tutoring as well as group feedback.
Moreover, the whole program will conclude with a brand-new project showcase within the prestigious When East Meets West Co-production Market in January 2020.
Do not miss the chance to properly develop and introduce your project to the international film market!
Dates and venues
Workshop 1 / September 23–28, 2019 / Prague, Czech Republic
Workshop 2 / January 16–22, 2020 / Trieste, Italy (within When East Meets West)
You can learn more about the program and the methodology here.You can access the application form here.
Deadline for applications: July 26, 2019
MIDPOINT Shorts is realized with the support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Czech Film Fund. It is presented in cooperation with When East Meets West.
BRATISLAVA: Slovak director/writer/producer Marko Škop makes it into the main competition of the 59th Karlovy Vary IFF, 28 June – 6 July 2019, with his second feature film Let There be Light / Nech je svetlo.
KOSICE: The plentiful offerings in the Slovak Season section of Art Film Fest, running through 22 June 2019, are largely thanks to a new batch of documentaries that underscore the strong Slovak tradition in documentary filmmaking.
Sunny Side of the Doc 2019 will provide a great opportunity to explore the current documentary field of the Baltics – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Use the chance - documentary professionals from all three countries will welcome you at the BALTIC DOCUMENTARY STAND (no. C26) June 24-27!
Latvia will be represented by the new director of the Baltic Sea Forum For Documentaries (BalticSeaDocs), the film historian Zane Balčus (National Film Centre of Latvia).
Lithuanian team: Dovilė Butnoriūtė (Head of Department of Film Promotion, Information and Heritage, Lithuanian Film Centre), producer Arūnas Matelis (studio Nominum) and the project “(Ne)Užmirštas karas“ (‘Forgotten War’ by Linas Mikuta (studio Monoklis).
Estonian delegates include Filipp Kruusvall (Documentary Film Commissioner) from the Estonian Film Institute, producer Aleksander Ots (Sterotek Film) and the director Margit Lillak (Allfilm).
The BALTIC DOCUMENTARY STAND (no. C26) at the Sunny Side of the Doc 2019 is a cooperation between the National Film Centre of Latvia, Estonian Film Institute and the Lithuanian Film Centre.
More info: http://nkc.gov.lv/en/ / https://www.filmi.ee/en / http://www.lkc.lt/en/
Want to experience the atmosphere of creative writers´ room? Have you been thinking about how this concept works? Are you looking for an initiative to strengthen your TV writing technique?
MIDPOINT Writers´ Room is offering a unique opportunity to learn new skills and practical knowledge about the organization of the writers´ room.
The program is designed to span both US and European perspective of the writers´ room, hence MIDPOINT engaged two internationally renowned tutors from both territories.
American executive producer and consultant Maggie Murphy will conduct the practical 4-day workshop together with Hungarian creative executive and MIDPOINT TV Launch Head of Studies Gabor Krigler (Joyrider TV).
The program will be organized in Prague, Czech Republic, during November 2 – 7, 2019 and is open to writers and creative producers with some experience in writing and the ambition of becoming creators/showrunners.
The deadline for application is September 13, 2019! Learn more about the program here. You can access the application form here.
MIDPOINT Writers’ Room is supported by the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic and the Czech Film Fund. MIDPOINT operates under the auspices of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
ANNECY: The Latvian animated feature-length film Away directed by Gint Zilbalodis won the Contrechamp Award at the Annecy Festival of animated films, which ended on 15 June 2019.
WARSAW: FNE has teamed up with the Brussels based team of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) to bring you regular updates on EU cinema policies that impact all industry professionals across Europe. Click here for FNE UNIC EU Cinema Policy Update.
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