After the local success of the documentaries in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, through cinema distribution and screenings at festivals in Karlovy Vary and Krakow, these original production documentaries will be presented at the 14th annual edition of the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava. All the films from HBO Czech Republic were produced for the HBO documentary series BEZ CENZURY (Without Censorship).
On October 5th the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences of New York announced in Cannes that the acclaimed HBO Romania / Alexander Nanau Productions documentary "The World according to Ion B" has been nominated for an International Emmy. This is the only entry from eastern and central Europe to be nominated in its category.
HBO Central Europe is no newcomer to original production, and is currently producing a drama series based on the Israeli drama format "Be Tipul" by writer/director Hagai Levi in several countries. The American version IN TREATMENT has won international acclaim, with Gabriel Byrne in the lead role. Local versions of mentioned series are now being produced in Romania, Poland and Czech Republic.
Documentaries from HBO Central Europe to be shown at the Documentary Film Festival are as follows:
SAVE EDWARDS (aka. Zachraňte Edwardse) (Czech JOY Competition), dir. Dagmar SmržováThis Czech documentary co-produced by HBO Czech Republic and Febio depicts the struggle for a handicapped child who survives despite negative medical prognoses. A married couple, Marcel and Šárka, learn that their expected child may have a genetic disorder, Edwards Syndrome. They refuse the abortion recommended by medical experts and the baby is born. Juliána has multiple handicaps and needs enormouscare and patience... This testimony of responsibility in which Šárka gives birth to a second healthy child was directed by Dagmar Smržová. The film's message is expressed in the final title: "We can push back the frontiers of medical science if we find the courage, strength and love to do so."
HEAVEN HELL (aka. Nebe Peklo) dir. David ČálekThis Czech documentary, the outcome of a writing competition organized by HBO Czech Republic, looks at a community of people who practice BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism). It depicts several men and women who indulge in extreme forms of pleasure. Director David Čálek depicts them without any suggestion of scandal or false moralizing. All the subjects are interviewed in ordinary clothes, they explainthe genesis of their curious pastimes and the effect on those around them. The implied sense of this film, presented at this year's International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary and hailed by Czech critics, is a reflection on extreme notions of freedom.
BODY TEMPLES (aka. Chrámy těla), dir. Ivan PokornýThis Czech documentary examines the causes and consequences of the cult of perfectly shaped bodies and the continous round of body building competitions.. It looks behind the scenes at top bodybuilders and points out the risks of taking anabolic steroids, focusing on female bodybuilding. The polemic collage shot for HBO by the director Ivan Pokorný notes other symptoms of the questionable cult of beauty and performance as promoted by lifestyle magazines. The documentary about activities aiming to acquire the most perfect body warns against the price that must be paid. It draws attention to the fact an obsession with bodybuilding can neglect the human soul, lead to an unnatural appearance and endanger human health.
LET'S RUN AWAY FROM HER (org. Ucieknijmy od niej), dir. Marcin KoszałkaProduced by HBO Polska, this is the latest fi lm from Marcina Koszałka, one of the most talented and controversial documentary-makers of the new generation. Koszałka looks at another sensitive subject with his documentary about his imperfect family, and their attitude to death. "Let's Run Away From Her" tells the story of Koszałka's elder sister cut together with interviews with patients in a palliative care ward.This is another instalment in a series of intimate documentaries opened by the award-studded and highly controversial "Such a beautiful son I delivered". This moving documentary was made by Marcin Koszałka, the winner of numerous awards, including the Golden Lions at the Gdynia Polish Film Festival and the Bronze Frog award at the Camerimage Festival.
LIFE IS AWESOME (org. Życie to rewelacja), dir. Tadeusz KrólTwo years after her son's tragic death, Teresa Anielak sets out to fi nd the recipient of her son's heart, which she donated when he was declared brain-dead. The task is not easy, since Poland's official policy regarding organ donation protects the identity of both the recipients and the donor. Together with her story we see the emotionally charged stories and thoughts of heart donor recipients and the families who donated the organs of their loved ones. Scenes from a real heart transplant operation are cut into the film to illustrate the stories, allowing the viewer to witness the miraculous procedure from start to finish.
LOVERS (org. Kochankowie), dir. Rafał Skalski
A captivating documentary about love, friendship and sexuality of the disabled from Rafał Skalski, who made his directing debut with "52 Percent." Disability remains a taboo in our society. Many avoid contact with the disabled, uncertain how to behave in their company. In reality, the differently-abled share the same dreams, desires, needs and aspiration as everybody else. Characters portrayed in Rafał Skalski's documentary are people who, despite their limitations, celebrate life at its best. Instead of avoiding the daily problems of life, they challenge them.
INVISIBLE STRINGS, dir. Ágnes SósJúlia and Ágnes Pusker, Sisters from Kecskemét are virtuoso violinists. Outside the world of classical music, their names are unknown. The mass media has not discovered them so far, although they have performed at many prestigious venues both at home and abroad. Basically, they are just two girls who are simply doing what they love, what they have talent for, what they inherited from theirfamily and what is an eternal bond between them.....they are playing music. For an ordinary person, this in itself would not be especially interesting. A lot of talented musicians live among us, so why would they be any different? However, the interest of director Ágnes Sós and HBO Hungary was aroused by the intimate relationship between the two girls, to which their musical talent - to use a violinist's expression, the "soul" - only scratches the surface.
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