Docs Find a Home in Prague


    PRAGUE: The vibrant Czech documentary scene was in evidence at a presentation of ten documentary works-in-progress premiering in the 2013-2014 season, a lead-up to the main event of the year: the Jihlava IDFF www.dokument-festival.com.

    Some 200 people packed the Svetozor Cinema for the 30 September 2013 event, co-sponsored by the Czech Film Center and the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) . Svetozor, which now offers Monday evening screenings of documentary films, hosted the presentation for the first time. The weekly screenings are providing a venue for theatrical releases of docs, a luxury in most other territories, but here standing as a comment on the honoured position documentary films hold in the Czech Republic.

    The ten films presented by their producers and directors were selected as the most outstanding amid a crop of some 80 documentaries in various stages of production. The ten represented a vivid cross-section of styles and topic, beginning with Gottland, an omnibus film based on a best-selling Polish book, directed by FAMU film students and produced by young company-on-the-rise Nutprodukce , with its mix of animation and live action.

    Other standouts included Eugenic Minds by Pavel Stingl for award-winning producer Jiri Konecny of K2 and Endorfilm, using mesmerizing archival footage to examine the role of selective breeding and sterilization in Nazi-era Germany.

    Equally as stylish were the clips from Long Live Hunting, another Nutprodukce film directed by Jaroslav Kratochvil. The documentary is unexpectedly filled with lushly photographed images of hunts that could double for modern-day echoes of Flemish still-life paintings, but jarred by the blood and guts of slaughter wildlife.

    A film destined to stick in the minds of viewers is Through the Looking Glass by Veronika Liskova and produced by Vernes. The film takes a disconcertingly comedic approach to the subject of paedophilia.

    Industry types are likely to check out the latest offerings of former enfant terrible Filip Remunda whose Slovak/Czech production Jazz Wars directed by Robert Kirchhoff is at its core a portrait of culture wars between its American and Czechoslovak antagonists; and Miroslav Janek’s affectionate and unvarnished portrait of the former first lady (and first wife of Vaclav Havel) on what would have been her 80th birthday year, Olga 80 produced by Film & Sociologie.

    All of the films presented are listed in the annual catalogue of Czech documentary films, which will be distributed at Jihlava IDFF.