Speaking with FNE, festival director Marek Hovorka said the festival had "more than 20% growth" over last year. "You can see the progress from year to year in East European cinema," he said. "Because of support from institutions and festivals, the situation is changing rapidly."
Festival cinemas were brimming with audiences, due in part to the decrease in the number of cinemas available to the festival this year. While many industry guests were glued to screens at the East Silver Market, the festival found its own unique partial solution to the problem, by adding "at home" screening of 8 films with the filmmaker in attendence. Tickets were distributed in the morning on a first come-first serve basis. The luckiest audiences were the 30 guests invited to watch Peter Kerekes' Cooking History while the director made dinner for the group.
A more practical solution will greet the 2010 festival, with the completion of a reconstructed cinema planned.
A complete list of winners follows:
Best International Documentary Film Award 2009
The only member of the competition, Jørgen Leth awarded the film Bassidji (d. Tamadon Mehran, Iran, France, Switzerland 2009)
With his direct access to members of the Islamic religious militia, the director of this film allows us to understand the thinking of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. The first part of the film shows its members worshipping the dead in the desert. The second takes place in Tehran.
- annotation taken over from the IDFF Jihlava 2009 catalogue
The jury commented his decision: "It was the first film I saw, and I must say I was never in doubt. It represents for me some of the best qualities in documentary film making. It wants to examine reality, and it explores with subtlety and elegance one of the most complex and explosive situations of today's world, the confrontation between opposition and regime in Iran. The filmmaker Tamadon Mehran (who lives in Paris) says in the film that he is "asking questions in order to understand". That is for me the universal virtue of documentary films. To say (with my words: "I don't know, I will see where it leads me".
Award for the best Czech documentary film 2009 under the auspices of RWE - Energy of Czech Film (100 000 CZK)
The jury awarded the film I Love My Boring Life (Mám ráda nudný život, d. Jan Gogola, Jr., Czech Republic 2009).
Alena Němcová's notes on the weather, dreams, exercising, cooking and other family and world events enter the film, which, like a river of surreal everyday life flow, tries to change rather than just capture reality, depicting different worlds living under one roof.
"In a unique way, the film thematizes both the transparency and impenetrability of the world's surface and the human experience. The jury appreciates the almost zen-like balance of movement and stillness as well as the permeation of inward intimacy and external events," the jury commented its verdict.
The jury has also awarded Special mention to the film Brain Fight (Souboj s mozkem, d. Jan Šípek)
A threefold portrait, presenting the reality within the limits of a subjective view, puts together the lives of an increasingly more remote writer and musician; a hacker, dreaming his dream of transformation into a purely virtual existence in the depths of technology; and an undertaker, unrealistic raconteur, living on the history of half-mythical Sudetenland.
"In the field of science, for some it is hard to understand the difference between applied and basic research - while in the latter, revolutionary and unexpected discoveries are born. This film represents the basic research - in the best sense of the word - in the field of art. Despite its apparently personal theme, it penetrates the transpersonal paradoxes of human existence as well as the sources of human creativity," agreed the jury.
The members of the jury were the following:
Petr Fischer / philosopher and journalist (CZ)
Vít Janeček / filmmaker and essayist (CZ)
Karel Thein / philosopher (CZ)
Blahoslav Žilka / optician (CZ)
BETWEEN THE SEAS
Best Eastern European Documentary Film Award 2009 under the auspices of the Vysočina region (150 000 CZK)
The jury awarded the film Border (Hranica, d. Jaroslav Vojtek, Slovakia 2009)
In 1946, the post-war border separated families and also split the cemetery in two as one part of the village of Slemence ended up in Czechoslovakia while the other found itself in the Ukraine. It seems the village is far from reuniting, since the border which is now an edge of the European Union is guarded even more tightly than before.
"We are happy that the film we chose as best film also addresses many pressing issues such as: The legacy of communism, the persistence of arbitrary borders, the cruelties of absolute power, the indifference of remote authority, the importance of religion, the challenges faced by an older generation, and the struggle of families to remain together despite all these forces that divide them. Jaroslav Vojtek's film explores all these issues in a rich, engaging cinematic form," appreciated the jury of the section.
Bill Nichols / film theorist (USA)
Amir Labaki / director of the festival It's All True (Brasil)
Kuba Dąbrowski / photographer and blogger (PL)
Svätopluk Mikyta / visual artist and performer (SR)
Best Experimental Documentary Film Award 2009
The jury awarded the film Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) (d. Ben Russell, USA 2008)
"Workers Leaving the Factory" was one of the films screened by the Lumiere Brothers during the first public performance of Cinématograph - Russell hearkened back to the source of the film and paraphrased it in a desert city flourishing thanks to oil incomes; however, his workers are not walking, they are merely waiting.
The jury comment their decision: "Our family jury selected the film Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) by Ben Russell as the winning film. Employing ascetic means of expression and Dubai workers, the author reintroduces the work by the Lumiere brothers of the same title. The static scene, absence of sound and the entrance of chance thus create a construction site of ambiguous interpretations."
Jan Daňhel / editor, photographer, surrealist (CZ)
Tereza Daňhelová / architect (CZ)
Veronika Daňhelová / photographer (CZ)
The Audience Award was presented by chief programming director Alena Müllerová on behalf of the Czech Television, going to the film Auto*mate (d. Martin Mareček, Czech Republic 2009)
A film of many styles, combining documentary with animation, jazzing up the time principle by provoking situations, tells a personal story of the director-biker as well as the journey of Auto*mat initiative from poetic demonstrations against cars to a constructive component of a living civic society.
(Following awards has been announced during the opening ceremony)
CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA AWARD
The Contribution to World Cinema Award went to the special festival guest and jury of the Opous Bonum section, Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth. The award was presented by the director of Jihlava IDFF Marek Hovorka.
For the third time already, the Respekt weekly in cooperation with Jihlava IDFF awarded the best television and video reportage of the past year. Presented at the festival closing ceremony, the Respekt Prize went to David Macháček and Radek Kudela, authors of the reportage Debtless I and II (Bezdlužníci) from the production of CT.
SECTION FOR FILM PROFESSIONALS
East European Forum 2009
The East European Forum knows its first "winners". The closing ceremony ended with the Golden Funnel award in the hands of the creators of the Field of Magic, a Lithuanian documentary on the peculiar subculture of people living on a gigantic garbage dump. The same project has already been awarded by the lecturers of the preparatory workshop for the greatest advance made during the four days of the workshop. "We are very happy, because we worked really hard at the workshop. We want to thank especially the tutors without whom we wouldn't be this far today," reacts Giedre Beinoriute, the producer of the leaper-award winning pitch.
This year's IDFA Forum Award traditionally presented at the East European Forum goes to Bulgaria. The authors of the documentary in making entitled The Last Black Sea Pirates And Sir Norman Foster dealing with the clash of human and commercial principles in the environmentally protected area of a Black Sea beach will have the opportunity to present their documentary at the most prestigious IDFA documentary festival in Amsterdam. "I didn't expect it at all. I am simply excited. We are looking forward to meeting especially the British commissioning editors," confides director Svetoslav Stoyanov.
The 2 awarded projects were chosen from 14 presentations to commissioning editors at today's pitching forum. The commissioning editors best responded to the Czech-Icelandic film entitled Iceland: A Bankrupt Nation on the impact of the economic crisis on the society of the nation which has until recently ranked the richest in the world and the Georgian documentary by talented director Salome Jashi entitled Restaurant Bakhmaro And Those Who Work There. Hungarian documentary filmmaker Gyula Nemes has presented his film entitled Recycling and now he can look forward to cooperation with the Czech Television. "This year, the standard at the forum is very high. The atmosphere is great and I can't wait for the Sunday session." With these words, director of the Ex Oriente Film program Tue Steen Müller invites the audience to the hall of Jihlava's Secondary Graphic Art School. On the final day of the coproduction meeting, six remaining documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe will be presented.
East Silver 2009
SILVER EYE is an award for the best feature, mid and short length documentary of the East Silver Market. Documentaries have been selected from East Silver Market submissions 2009. Selection committee has nominated 11 films in each category. Best films will be awarded a magnifying glass specially designed by designers Zdeněk Vacek and Dan Pošta and prize money of EUR 1 500 - Best Short Documentary, Best Mid-Length and Best Feature Documentary.
Silver Eye Jury:
For Short Documentary
Danielle DiGiacomo, Consultant, Producer Tribeca Gucci Fund / IFP / Dandig Productions, USA
Catherine Le Clef, Head of Acquisitions & Sales, CAT & Docs, France
Jenny Ross, Acquisitions WITNESS Programme, Al Jazeera English, UK
For Mid-Length Documentary
Charlotte Gry Madsen, Sales and Programme Consultant, DR International Sales / DR - Danish Broadcasting Corp., Denmark
Philippa Kowarsky, Managing Director, Cinephil, Israel
Charles Schuerhof, Director of Acquisitions & Sales, PBS International, USA
For Feature Documentary
Anais Clanet, International Sales, Wide Management, France
Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Hot Docs, Canada
Cynthia Kane, Programming Manager, ITVS Television's Independent Voice / ITVS International, USA
Winners of the Silver Eye 2009:
Category: Short Documentary
Six Weeks directed by Marcin Janos Krawcyk, Poland
Special mention for Arsy-Versy directed by Miro Remo, Slovakia
Category: Mid-Length Documentary
Rabbit a la Berlin directed by Bartek Konopka, Poland/ Germany (participated in the Ex Oriente Film Workshop and pitched at the East European Forum 2005)
Special mention for The Sidetrack directed by Anna Kazejak, Poland
Category: Feature Documentary
Disco and Atomic War directed by Jaak Kilmi, Estonia/Finland (pitched at the East European Forum 2007)
The Silver Eye Awards were given out at the 6th East Silver Market during the Closing ceremony of the XIII. Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival on October 31, 2009.