REPORT: DOC.STREAM@Ji.hlava 2020
- Czech and Norwegian filmmakers presented their upcoming documentary projects during a new panel at the 24th edition of Ji.hlava IDFF
The 24th edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF and Ji.hlava Industry 2020 organised the new panel DOC.STREAM, focused on connecting Czech and Norwegian docu-makers and on presenting their upcoming projects to international film professionals. The presentation of Czech and Norwegian documentary films at various stages of development and production took place online. The event was funded by the EEA and Norway Grants.
Forrest Passage - Monika Le Fay
Czech author and filmmaker Monika Le Fay has been working on time-lapse documentary Forrest Passage, about Karel Schwarzenberg, a Czech politician and a candidate for President of the Czech Republic in the 2013 election. He spent several decades living in Austria, where he was involved in politics for the Austrian People’s Party. After the fall of communism, he became a close adviser to Václav Havel. Le Fay followed Schwarzenberg shortly before he decided to run for Czech president and she finished shooting in July 2020 when he announced his retirement from political life. While the excerpts shown during the session had Karel Schwarzenberg answering questions about his life and career in a talking head style, including him saying that the two-and-half-year period spent working for Václav Havel was “the most wonderful time” of his life, the project’s description states that people from his inner circle — his housekeeper, physician, priest or friends from the underground — will be also featured in the portrait.
A Torn Flower in Bloom - Andrea White Hveding
Norwegian installation artist and filmmaker Andrea White Hveding introduced her hybrid project A Torn Flower in Bloom, for which she followed a healer whose job is to help people slow down (while living in a fast-paced world), and a farmer living on the countryside tending to animals. Hveding said that through the lives of these two people, she tries “to slow down the pace of the audience, awaken their minds to a different pace, let them sit for a longer time without much happening, without much entertaining except for dwelling in moments of forgotten details and tasks from everyday life”. The excerpts shown resembled the style and poetics of so-called slow cinema, with longer shots observing mundane activities.
Comfortable Century - Jaroslav Kratochvíl
Czech filmmaker Jaroslav Kratochvíl, who focused on historical and political topics in his previous works, combines both approaches in his upcoming project Comfortable Century. Subtitled “Shadows of Past on Walls of Today”, the film is set inside apartments designed by Adolf Loos, who Kratochvíl calls the father of modern architecture. Comfortable Century follows the stories of people living in apartments designed by Loos which, according to the director, are supposed to represent the spirits of four different eras: the bourgeoisie, Nazism, communism, and capitalism. The film’s producer Zuzana Kučerová revealed that the film is made through video mapping and five apartments will represent one universe, while each apartment will have its own voice and personality. “We will flow chronologically [in the film] from one apartment to another and put together a mosaic of ever-changing lifestyles from the 20s up to the present day,” said Kučerová, adding that the film will combine animation and performed scenes which will be screened on the walls of the apartments. The project is currently at the development stage and the producer noted that negotiations with Czech Television are underway, while the project is still looking for broadcasters and co-producers.
Blue Borders - Franciska Eliassen
The works of Norwegian filmmaker Franciska Eliassen have revolved around the topics of power, borders, and human interference with nature. Her latest project Blue Borders focuses mostly on the topic of borders. She revealed that she has been fascinated with borders and by man’s need to separate something or someone from something or someone else. Eliassen went to Lesbos in 2018 to investigate this topic. She visited the Moria Refugee Camp where she met Ahmad, whose story became the catalyst for Blue Borders. The encounter of “an art student and a refugee,” peers born into “two different places in the world”, frames the film as she investigates borders and different fates.
Civilisation – The Good News About the End of the World - Petr Horký
Prolific Czech documentarian Petr Horký presented his latest work, which he has been working on with Czech Egyptologist Miroslav Bárta: Civilisation – The Good News About the End of the World. The film, billed as “an epic reality show into our own collapse”, was shot across several countries during a five year period. The documentary centres on the transformations of big civilisations and looks for parallels with our current one, while asking the question “Could our civilisation be the first to change the course of history?”. Personalities such as Jane Goodall, Thor Heyerdahl and Zahi Hawas weigh in on the subject and offer their opinions. Bioscop is the distributor of the film for the Czech territory, with a theatrical release scheduled for March 2021.
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