Jihlava IDFF announces the selection for its 20th edition

    The festival will kick off with a film about the Czech Berdych gang, while also focusing on contemporary Turkish cinema. Among the festival’s prominent guests will be Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men and the British producer of Ken Loach’s films, Rebeca O’Brien.

    There are only a few days left till the start of the twentieth edition of the largest documentary film event in Central and Eastern Europe. The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival is dedicated to discovering new filmmaking talents and the so-far unknown film titles and to blurring the line between documentary, fiction and experimental film. From over 3,600 submitted titles, 310 have been shortlisted for this year’s programme: adding almost 80 films to the programme choice, with additional 26 offered as part of the Czech Television Documentaries section. The competition sections will showcase 45 world premieres, as well as 11 international and 2 European premieres. The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival will take place on Oct 25 – 30, 2016.

    “To mark the festival’s twentieth edition, we have organised both an exhibition on the history of the Jihlava IDFF on the Masaryk Square as well as the Lux Film Prize programme in the Horácké Theatre offering repeats of the most popular film titles. One of the highlights will be the presence of a long-term colleague of Ken Loach, producer Rebbeca O‘Brien, film editing legend Claire Atherton (who collaborated namely with Chantal Akerman) and editor Jacop Quadri. Quadri is also the closest collaborator of Gianfranco Rosi whose Fire at Sea is one of the documentary revelations of this season,” says Marek Hovorka, the Director of Jihlava IDFF, describing the highlights of the festival’s 20th edition.

    Czech Joy to introduce the cream of last year’s Czech documentary production

    This year’s Czech Joy competition section boasts of 13 titles with various politically and socially charged topics. 11 new Czech docs will see their premiere at the 20th Jihlava IDFF. The festival will be launched on Tuesday, Oct 25 with a unique premiere of Helena’s Law. The feature-length debut by documentarian and actress Petra Nesvačilová takes a sensitive look at the life of accused and sentenced gangsters of the ill-famed Berdych gang. In her film, Nesvačilová teams up with elite detective Helena Kahnová to uncover the overlooked human aspects of those who committed or were instrumental to crimes of various degrees.

    Czech Joy will further present the new addition to the Czech Journal cycle entitled The Little Mole & Laozi by Filip Remunda. The film focuses on the visit of the Chinese President in the Czech Republic. Sequences showing Czech protesters are juxtaposed with those of enthusiastic greeters, interlaced with interviews with a Chinese dissident and a Czech teacher and accompanied by quotes by the mystic Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978.

    “Rather than in the protests, I was interested in the fact that the Chinese find funny that people here are allowed to protest publicly. I decided to travel to China to get to the bottom of the issue,” says Remunda about his film.

    Documentarian Pavel Jurda will introduce his feature-length debut My Name is Hungry Buffalo in which he joins a blind man who is also losing his hearing on his trip to the US to visit a shaman of the Navajo tribe hoping that he will restore Hungry Buffalo’s hearing ability. In her film Love Me, If You Can Dagmar Smržová follows the story of three handicapped men yearning for love life. The film offers a sensitive insight into the intimate life of people with disabilities.

    War and military is the sole focus of Adéla Komrzý’s film from the Czech Journal series called Teaching War as well as Barbora Chalupová’s Arms Ready, which using home-made weapons ventures into experiments on the fringes of the law. The documentary essay genre will this year be represented with two films – Martin Ryšavý will introduce his Blind Gulliver where the excursions to Ukraine and Russia are framed by scenes showing the examination of the author’s eyes, and Květoslava Přibylová will present her visual poem on the relationship of men to nature called Traces, Fragments, Roots.

    The Czech Joy section will further include films such as Czech Journal: Don't Take My Life (Andrea Culková, 2016), FC Roma (Rozálie Kohoutová, Tomáš Bojar, 2016), The Way the President Departs (Pavel Kačírek, 2016), Love Me If You Can (Dagmar Smržová, 2016), Instructions for Use of Jiří Kolář (Roman Štětina, 2016) and Normal Autistic Film (Miroslav Janek, 2016).

    Czech Joy is not only a prestigious selection of new Czech documentary films but also a showcase of the latest trends and various facets of Czech cinema.

    Between the Seas – a competition for the Best Documentary Film from Central and Eastern Europe

    Between the Seas, a competition section composed of the best documentary films from Central and Eastern Europe will this year offer 14 titles, 7 of which will be presented in their world premiere.  An outstanding Estonian film by Zosia Rodkevich My Friend Boris Nemtsov will also see its Czech premiere at the festival. An intimate portrait of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov known as the face of anti-Putin opposition describes his activities in the recent years. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director organised in conjunction with the Prague branch of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

    Among the festival’s world premieres will be two Slovak films: an improvised time-lapse documentary A Tall Tale by Lucie Nimcová and Sholto Dobie and Czechoslovak co-production film A Hole in the Head by Robert Kirchhoff. In several European countries, it confronts the oblivious present with memories of the survivors of the horrific Roma holocaust.

    Many of the competition titles will be personally introduced by their authors: A Tall Tale (Lucie Nimcová, Sholto Dobie, Slovakia, 2016), Among Houses of the Cosmos (Kostana Banović, Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2016), Dialogue with Joseph (Elžbieta Josadé, Lithuania, France, 2016), Notorious Deeds (Gabriel Tampea, Romania, 2015), The Dazzling Light of Sunset (Salomé Jashi, Georgie, Germany, 2015) and others.

    Opus Bonum – Best World Documentary Film competition

    The Opus Bonum competition section annually presents the most notable international documentary titles. This year the competition’s sole juror, French editor Claire Atherton will pick one title out of a total of 16 films from thirteen countries, six of which will be shown in their world premiere. Among the films competing in the Best World Documentary category in 2016 will be Mike Hoolboom’s We Make Couples, in which the Canadian director combines adopted and his own footage, and a documentary bordering on fiction by Maurits Wouters from Belgium. His film The Road Back shows the way to places and times that have long been considered gone. Both filmmakers will be present to introduce the screenings in person.

    Prominent festival guests: Rebecca O’Brien, Claire Atherton, Mike Bonanno, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Jacopo Quadri and Chang Ping

    On the occasion of its 20th edition, the greatest celebration of creative and experimental documentary cinema in Central and Eastern Europe will again bring to Jihlava contemporary and eternal filmmaking, social and cultural icons from across the globe. “Like documentary film that doesn’t only cling to the surface, this year’s edition of the Jihlava IDFF will present exceptional figures that are not easily visible,” says Marek Hovorka.

    Festival-goers will this year meet face to face with producer Rebecca O‘Brien who has been a long-term collaborator of British director Ken Loach, this year’s winner of Palm d’Or in Cannes for his social drama I, Daniel Blake. Rebecca O’Brien will hold her producer’s masterclass where she will share her experiences working for thirty years with Ken Loach. One of the key aspects discussed during the session will be the thin line between documentary filmmaking and fiction and the specifics of making films with a protagonist who is your friend and a close colleague.  The masterclass will feature the Czech premiere of the new film biography, Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach (2016) to which O’Brien contributed with her producing skills.

    Creative filmmaking methods will also be discussed by the legends of Icelandic cinema, directors Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and music director Hilmar Örn Hilmarrson also known under the moniker HÖH and a winner of the European Film Award for his music to Fridriksson’s film Children of Nature in 1991. The 20th Jihlava IDFF will see Hilmarsson’s masterclass in which he will describe differences in making music compositions for documentary and fiction films.

    The Jihlava IDFF and the Institute of Documentary Film have jointly invited Mike Bonanno from the American duo of activists known as The Yes Men. Along with Mike’s presence, the audience will be able to enjoy the duo’s latest titles: The Yes Men Fix the World (2009) and The Yes Men Are Revolting (2014). For twenty years, The Yes Men have been mapping out methods thanks to which they succeed in attracting journalist attention and making news with their stories that point out various social issues. Mike Bonanno will share his thoughts and experience during a masterclass co-organised by the Institute of Documentary Film.

    An editor’s masterclass will be presented by Italian editor Jacopo Quadri, who contributed with his skills to this year’s Berlinale’s winner, Fire at Sea. “Each element relates to another, being in mutual contrast, or being parallel as if the film was in fact a journey,” says Quadri.

    The festival’s notable guests who will sit in one of the jury or present their masterclasses will include names from various filmmaking professions.  Editor Claire Atherton, the sole juror of the world documentary film competition section Opus Bonum, will also hold a masterclass, accompanied with the latest film No Home Movie (2015) made in collaboration with Chantal Akerman. The juries will include Lithuanian independent documentary maker Audris Stonys, editor-in-chief of Cineuropa, Domenico La Porta, Finnish music composer of Japanese origin Maiko Endo and cartoonist and independent curator of the Rotterdam FF, Gurtjan Zuilhof. This year’s traditional role of the family jury that selects winning films in the Fascinations and Exprmntl.cz experimental competition sections will be the Silbersteins from the UK. The nominees of the Czech Joy section will be referred to the jury composed of members of the Czech Vosto5 ensemble.

    Masterclasses will also be held by Icelandic director and producer Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and Slovak cinematographer Martin Kollár. The latter will present his feature-length debut 5 October (2016) in which his own brother is engaged as the film’s main protagonist.

    For the sixth time in a row, Jihlava IDFF’s Inspiration Forum will feature outstanding figures from various walks of life. This year’s Inspiration Forum’s special guest is American psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo reputed mainly for his well-known prison experiment. The second lecturer of the Inspiration Forum’s 6th edition will be Chinese journalist living in German exile Chang Ping, among others a holder of the Grand Prize at the Human Rights Press Award in Hong Kong in 2014. In his country, Chang Ping was repeatedly persecuted for delving in burning social and political issues such as the Chinese feminist movement, politics and the situation in Tibet; his texts and essays are currently officially banned on the Chinese territory. The Inspiration Forum’s curator is Filip Remunda.

    Transparent Landscape: Turkey

    The second country (besides Iceland) whose cinema will be introduced at the 20th Jihlava IDFF is Turkey. The 17 films presented in this section deal with coming to terms with the past, the clash of cultures as well as the intellectual reflections on everyday life.

    “This year’s coup brought Turkey to the front pages of world newspapers; however, the filmmakers did not have enough time for a documentary reflection. That is why we decided to look for filmmakers who sensed the increasing tension before and tried to capture it in their work,” says member of the curatorial team Akile Nazli Kaya to characterize the programme concept of the section of Turkish films.

    A remarkable film screened within this section is the feature-length debut Gulîstan, the Land of Roses by Turkish director Zayne Akyol which has met with success at film festivals. In August 2016, it won the prestigious Doc Alliance Selection award.

    International and transcontinental migration; this burning issue of today is reflected by Callshop Istanbul (Hind Benchekroun, Sami Mermer, 2015) and How Would You Like to Migrate? (Faith Bilgin, 2012). Specific means of expression used to depict the roots of the current situation in Turkey are employed in I’ve Come and I’m Gone (Metin Akdemir, 2011), Backward Run (Ayçe Kartal, 2013) and Over Time (Gürcan Keltek, 2012).

    Werner Herzog and the Witness of Our Times

    Besides watching the investigative documentary Zero Days (2016) by Alex Gibney about the cyber-attack engineered by Israel and the USA against Iranian nuclear facilities, the viewers will also be able to follow the everyday life of men who joined the suicide bombers against the government regime in Dugma: The Button (2016) by Norwegian journalist Pål Salahadin Refsdal, the life of Austrian writer Peter Handke in Peter Handke – In the Woods, Might Be Late (Corinna Belz, 2016) and the result of the improvised interactions of a dancer and a cinematographer Duet Tests (Jeremy Moss, 2016).

    Two other documentary films, however, belong to the Special Event category which annually presents exceptional cinematic events that guide us through a deep and critical reflection of the meanders of lived life in an unparalleled manner. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is a brand new film by German director Werner Herzog that offers a multifaceted look at the tangled landscape of the internet from its birth to the present day. Its antipole can be found in the wartime action-popularization essay Peshmerga by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. Rich in information, the film follows the Kurdish fighters in their struggle against the Islamic State in immediate proximity of the enemy line.

    Translucent Being: Representative of French New Wave Éric Rohmer

    The documentary work of Éric Rohmer is little known, although it plays a key role in the understanding of his feature films. Originally a teacher, later author of school curriculum programmes and editor in chief of the significant film magazine Cahiers du cinéma, Éric Rohmer made dozens of films in his lifetime.

    Jihlava IDFF presents four blocks introducing Rohmer’s film portraits of leading artists and personalities, such as Stéphane Mallarmé (1968), Carl Theodor Dreyer (1965) and the pioneer of the art of cinema Luis Lumiére (1968), several Rohmer’s essays on space, life and art such as Nadja in Paris (1964) and Fermière à Montfaucon (1967) as well as his feature-length film Celluloid and Marble (1966) capturing artists reflecting on their relation to cinema.

    Viktor Kossakovsky and comp.: Last year’s master classes online for free at dokrevue.com

    From Monday, October 17, the new edition of the online journal dokrevue.com offers a showcase of the master classes of leading filmmakers who attended Jihlava IDFF in the past year as an invitation for the upcoming edition of the festival. They include the art group Flatform, Russian director and Contribution to World Cinema award holder Viktor Kossakovsky, distinctive Norwegian documentarist Thomas A. Østbye, Norwegian producer of documentaries and slow TV programmes Thomas Hellum and Croatian director and FAMU graduate Lordan Zafranovič. Besides master classes, dok.revue further presents a recording of the debate with Russia’s Pussy Riot member Masha Alyokhina.

    Activities of the Institute of Documentary Film at 20th Jihlava IDFF

    The Institute of Documentary Film will traditionally bring a whole range of activities for film professionals and the public to Jihlava. Newly finished documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe will be introduced at the East Silver market, the best of them will compete for the Silver Eye awards. Documentary filmmakers will work on their projects under the guidance of world experts at the Ex Oriente Film workshop.  The international project KineDok, which screens creative documentaries and organizes discussions with the filmmakers at untraditional venues, invites the viewers to watch Domino Effect.

    Ex Oriente Film

    The educational programme Ex Oriente Film helps 12 teams of emerging and experienced filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe with the complex development of their projects. The workshop will be led by a whole range of notable world professionals who will also hold their master classes and lectures. They include acclaimed director and producer Salomé Jashi, whose film The Dazzling Light of Sunset is screened in the Between the Seas competition section, renowned film critic and director of the prestigious Venice-based Critics Week Giona A. Nazzaro and one of Europe’s leading marketing and distribution specialists Peter Jaeger. Another special guest brought to Jihlava as part of the Ex Oriente Film workshop by IDF in collaboration with Jihlava IDFF is Mike Bonanno from the famous activist duo The Yes Men.

    East Silver

    The OGV Gallery will host the 13th edition of the East Silver market focusing on international distribution, festival and television releases of new Central and East European documentaries. For the 8th time, members of international juries will select the best films that will receive the Silver Eye awards in three categories. The nominated films were selected from almost 650 documentaries; the profiles of more than 280 of them can be found in the new East Silver online catalogue adjusted for mobile devices and supplemented with photo galleries and trailers.


    On Wednesday, October 26, the site-specific screening of the acclaimed documentary Domino Effect about Abkhazia’s sports minister who tries to organize a world championship in domino while maintaining his relationship with the hysteric Russian Natasha will be held as part of the KineDok project in the Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross at 6 pm. The film is one of the 15 films screened by the international KineDok project at untraditional venues and accompanied by discussions in 7 European countries. In the Czech Republic, KineDok screenings are held at 42 venues. You will find more information at kinedok.net.

    DAFilms.com portal at Jihlava IDFF

    From October 24 to November 6, the DAFilms.com portal presents – in parallel with the festival – the Jihlava Manifesto (1997 – 2016) showcase. The twenty years of the festival’s history introduced through essays screened at the festival will thus also be available online at DAFilms.com.