JIHLAVA: Director Piotr Stasik picked up the award for the best film from Central and Eastern Europe for Opera about Poland in the Between the Seas competition of the 21st Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, which concluded on 29 October 2017.
The film, which applies modern opera to the documentary form, was produced by Anna Gawlita of Kijora, who was one of this year’s Emerging Producers presented at the festival.
Opus Bonum, the festival’s international documentary competition section, was judged by solo jury member Laila Pakalnina. The Latvian filmmaker called the concept of a single jury member revolutionary and gave the main prize to the Russian documentary about the cult of Stalin, The Wall by Dmitry Bogolubov.
Politics was a prominent topic of the festival, with the recent election of a right-leaning coalition government dominating Czech politics. Following opening and closing ceremonies fashioned as satirical Communist Congress meetings, the festival opened with the international premiere of Tereza Nvotova’s documentary Meciar / Lust for Power about the Slovak prime minister, who was the precursor of today’s populist/nationalist strongmen leaders. The closing film was a more hopeful, traditional documentary that took a behind the scenes look at the campaign of Macron. The issue of current political leadership was also the underlying factor in discussions on film funding and production, which concluded with an “it’s complicated” message.
Czech documentary film production again received prominent coverage at the festival, with a large cadre of documentary filmmakers, led by the revered long-form documentary director Helena Trestikova. The festival devoted three competition sections to Czech films. The Audience Award and the Czech competition section Czech Joy, was won by The Limits of Work directed by Apolena Rychikova.
List of winning films:
The Limits of Work (Czech Republic)Directed by Apolena RychlikovaProduced by Hypermarket Film, Czech TV
The Last Shift of Tomas Hisem (Czech Republic)Directed by Jindrich AndrsProduced by Studio FAMU
Everything Has Its Own Time (Czech Republic)Directed by Viola JezkovaProduced by Studio FAMU
Opus BonumThe Wall (Russia)Directed by Dmitry Bogolubov
Between the SeasOpera About Poland (Poland)Directed by Piotr StasikProduced by Kijora Film
Special Mention:People Pebble (UK, France)Directed by Jivko Darakchiev and Perrine Gamot
Best Experimental Film:Boat People (UK)Directed by Sarah Wood
Special Mention:The End of Time (Cuba, USA)Directed by Milcho Manchevski
Best Czech Experimental FilmCanDirected by Lucie NavratilovaProduced by Studio FAMU
Special Mention:TraditionDirected by Katerina TureckovaProduced by Studio FAMU
Best Debut Films
Meteors (Turkey, Netherlands)Directed by Gurcan Keltek
Panoptic (Lebanon, UAE)Directed by Rana Eid
Student Jury AwardMilda (Czech Republic)Directed by Pavel KremenRealfilm Production
Silver Eye AwardSand and Blood (Austria)Directed by Matthias Krepp