JIHLAVA: Czech, Polish and Slovak films are seeing a run of successes at their respective box offices as well as increasing recognition at international film festivals according to participants at the Jihlava IDFF.
Czech films are retaining their position on the domestic market, while Poland and Slovakia are seeing strong attendance for local films, including documentary films which are receiving theatrical releases and finding new platforms devoted specifically to the genre. Polish films have been breaking box office records with increasing frequency, and Slovak films are competing favourably with Hollywood blockbusters. At the same time, filmmakers from Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are receiving international acclaim for films for their quality and their daring.
That sense of a maturing industry was on view at the presentation of this year’s Emerging Producers panel. The participants of the 6th edition were an older and more experienced group with numerous awards among them, such as Czech producer Radim Prochazka, who in his 15 years as a producer had an opening film at Jihlava as well as films in competition at CPH.DOX and Karlovy Vary. Prochazka told FNE that participating in the Emerging Producers programme was a rare opportunity for older producers to be part of an intensive networking experience.
Female producers from CEE territories had a strong presence, with Slovakia a prime example. Barbara Janisova Feglova noted that she has had her own company, Hitchhiker Cinema, for seven years, and while she often works with experienced directors, she currently has two debut films in development. She is also developing Zuzana Liova’s latest feature film Waiting.
Poland’s Anna Gawlita, who launched her company Kijora Film ten years ago, brought the international premiere of the documentary Opera About Poland by Piotr Stasik to this year’s Jihlava IDFF. Her upcoming projects include the feature film Hurray, We’re Still Alive! directed by Agnieszka Polska. Croatian producer Tena Gojic, who said she’s “not afraid of low budget films” is developing three films with female directors in three different genres.
Estonian director/producer Ulo Pikkov (Silmviburlane) was unique among the group in working primarily with animation in his cross-genre films. His next animated documentary Letting Go is planned for a premiere before the end of 2017. Serbian producer Milan Stojanovic from Sense Production has worked on international coproductions and is now working on a documentary soap opera, The Forbidden Aunt by Bojana Novakovic.