24th Ji.hlava IDFF is over, attracting half as many viewers as last year

    The 24th edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors. This year, the festival was  unique in that it was held online and attracted more audience than in the previous  editions. The festival programme presented 310 films and over 80 discussions with  filmmakers. 5933 accreditations were issued for visitors, guests and journalists. The total  views of festival films exceeded 56 thousand. “Assuming that in one third of the cases  the films were viewed by two people, we have reached almost 75,000 viewers. And in  reality, the figures can be even much higher,” says Marek Hovorka, the Festival Director.  The festival website registered over 1,300,000 visits during the festival days. Ji.hlava  online offered 6 all-day live streams from the Ji.hlava Lighthouse and 20 live discussions  of the Inspiration Forum. The online festival took place in partnership with DAFilms.cz – a VOD platform founded 15 years ago by the Ji.hlava IDFF.

    “Three weeks before the start of the festival, we were still planning its offline version. We were expelled into the digital asylum after the closure of Czech cinemas. We are very happy to have managed to use the advantages of the Internet: our ‘traditional’ visitors wrote us that they had a unique chance to see more films at Ji.hlava than ever. And we also attracted new audiences. We are pleased to see that thanks to our daily live streams we created the community spirit and atmosphere of complicity so typical for Ji.hlava,” says Marek Hovorka highlighting the live festival service from the Ji.hlava Lighthouse, and adds: “The annual Industry Programme also took place online, with a record attendance by film professionals.”

    24th Ji.hlava in (record-breaking) figures 

    This year’s 24th Ji.hlava IDFF issued 5933 accreditations – 10 percent more than last year. The number of both visitor and industry accreditations increased year-on-year, with half as many visitor passes issued than in the previous edition. This year’s 24th Ji.hlava IDFF welcomed 1461 film professionals – 20 percent more than last year, and 538 online bilateral meetings took place as part of the matchmaking service. 271 passes were issued to journalists. Overall, festival films registered over 56 thousand views. “Assuming that in one third of the cases the films were viewed by two people, we have reached almost 75,000 viewers. And in reality, the figures can be much higher,” says Marek Hovorka, the Festival Director. Live service on the festival YouTube channel from the Lighthouse studio, the Inspiration Forum programme and Ji.hlava for Kids registered almost 50 thousand views during the festival. The live stream from the festival Lighthouse on Facebook marked 150 thousand views. Inspiration Forum’s discussions on Facebook had 128 thousand views. Out of 310 screened films, 95 were shown in their world, 14 in European and 30 in international premiere. This year, films competed in 9 sections. 80 Q&As were scheduled after the film screenings.

    The most watched films were: A New Shift and CoroNation

    This year’s most popular film was A New Shift by Jindřich Andrš that was named the Best Czech Documentary of the 24th Ji.hlava IDFF also taking home the Audience Award and the Silver Eye Award. The film about a miner who completely changed his life at the age of fifty was the most watched film of this year’s Ji.hlava. The second most successful documentary was CoroNation by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei capturing the life in Wuhan under lockdown. This year, Ai Weiwei accepted the Contribution to World Cinema Award. Once Upon a Time in Poland directed by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda exploring the relationship of the Polish with God was also popular with the viewers, alongside with One Says No by Chinese director Dayong Zhao that captures the desperate fight of a man named Azhong against the brutal developer lobby to save his home. Among the most viewed films was also White on White by Viera Čákanyová, the winner in the Opus Bonum section, and Wolves at the Borders by Martin Páv that received a Special Mention in the Czech Joy section.

    Inspiration Forum online: eleven days, twenty discussions 

    The tenth edition of the Ji.hlava discussion platform – the Inspiration Forum – took place online and explored six burning topics of today in twenty discussions over the eleven festival days. “Two live discussions were streamed daily, with eighty guest speakers featured from Czechia and from abroad,” says Inspiration Forum’s programmer Tereza Swadoschová and adds that the guest speakers “arrived” from fifteen countries. The live service had 3,800 views on YouTube, and 128 thousand views on Facebook. “Viewers were mostly interested in discussing Vietnam Stories about the second generation of Vietnamese that was already born in Czechia. Another popular discussion was Imagination at Scale about innovations in Africa and an interview with priest and Scout Marek Orko Vácha. Viewers also appreciated Data as the 21st Century’s Most Valuable Commodity about the power of technology giants trading with consumer data,” says Tereza Swadoschová. The Inspiration Forum focused on the following topics: “Equality in the Pews” (inequality in the Church), “Earth Work” (how to feed humankind without destroying the planet), “Cool Africa” (Africa as a continent with a potential for transformation), “In the Rhythm of Algorithms” (the influence of digital technology on human life), “Time Out” (dropping the crisis narrative) and “GPS at the Crossroads” (about the courage to go one’s own way). Recordings of the discussions are available on Facebook, YouTube and Inspiration Forum’s website.

    JI.HLAVA FOR KIDS online: warm-up, plays, readings and workshops 

    The six-day stream of Ji.hlava for Kids offered a total of 36 programmes. The live stream for kids from Ji.hlava’s Dukla Cinema marked 11,500 views, with 2,100 unique viewers watching the programme. 37 guests appeared on the show. Kids were mainly keen to follow the morning warm-up with the Sokol instructors, theatre performances streamed from the Dukla Cinema (Annie and the Airplane – Kill Will, Studna Theatre – Proud Princess and Toy Machine – Circusarium) as well as Goodnight Tales. Tales from the World Around and a photography course were also greatly popular. Workshops were visited by a total of 91 kids. “The number of participants in the workshops was limited to allow for interaction,” said Šimon Bauer, Director at the Center for Documentary Film – the organizer of the programme for kids. “Ji.hlava for Kids was originally planned so that the stream will be presented by the kids themselves as part of one of the workshops. In the end, the adults had to take over due to the pandemic measures,” explains Šimon Bauer. “The online version of the workshops and the Ji.hlava for Kids stream were a success and we are already looking forward to next year. We have opened our doors to the online world that brings many challenges as well as opportunities. We intend to keep the online  studio as part of the festival programme in the coming years.” 

    The success of the Industry Programme 

    The Industry Programme dedicated to film professionals offered 20 events. The online “Industry Ji.hlava” welcomed 1,461 guests. The festival again hosted the educational workshop Emerging Producers, Festival Identity and Conference Fascinations focusing on experimental film distribution. The Matchmaking Accelerator service was again very successful. Its aim is to connect filmmakers and producers with film festival organizers, distributors, and co-producers as well as other film professionals. Record-breaking 538 meetings took place online over the three days. “This year’s exceptional online edition defied all expectations. The matchmaking service was incredibly popular and I believe that this year’s Ji.hlava will foster unexpected collaborations and original documentary projects,” said Head of Industry, Jarmila Outratová.

    Timeless Festival Catalogue 

    The novelty of this year’s festival edition is the printed catalogue that does not contain synopses of festival films but provides a visually impressive anthology of accompanying texts on film sections and thematic panels of the Inspiration Forum. “This year, we decided to produce a timeless festival catalogue. We focused on texts accompanying the retrospectives and inspiring readings relating to the topics and figures of the Inspiration Forum,” says Marek Hovorka about this year’s concept of the festival catalogue. The catalogue can be ordered via the festival website, and will be available at selected bookshops.

    This year, the author of the festival spot is avant-garde filmmaker Mike Hoolboom. Before Hoolboom, the spot was created by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Godfrey Reggio and  Jóhann Jóhannsson. 

    The Jihlava IDFF was this year attended by 5,933 accredited visitors, including 1,461 film  professionals and 270 journalists. 310 films were scheduled for screening in the  programme. Overall, the festival films registered over 56 thousand views. The festival  website registered 1,300,000 visits. The festival stream from the Lighthouse had 150  thousand views on Facebook and 46 thousand views on YouTube during the festival. 24th  Ji.hlava IDFF took place on October 27 to November 8, 2020. 

    The 25th Ji.hlava IDFF will take place on October 26 to 31, 2021.

    More information is available at www.ji-hlava.com and at the festival’s Facebook and Instagram

    Contact (trailers, stills, photos, interviews): Ji.hlava IDFF Press service (pressservice@ji hlava.cz) 

    Winners of the 24th Ji.hlava IDFF 


    Best World Documentary Film 2020 

    Winner: White on White (Viera Čákanyová / Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2020)

    Jury statement (sole juror Hilal Baydarov): For being a very honest, brave and inspirational film. The film shows us how difficult and almost impossible it is to make a film about oneself.

    Special Mention: A Man Leaning (Olivier Dury, Marie-Violaine Brincard / France, 2020)

    Jury statement (sole juror Hilal Baydarov): For its beautiful structure and well-performed editing that gives strong hints about the nature of cinema through beautiful rhythm and poetic signs.


    Best Documentary Film from Central and Eastern Europe 

    /The authors of the winning film also receive a financial prize of 10,000 EUR/ Winner: Latvian Coyote (Ivars Zviedris / Latvia, 2020) 

    Jury statement: For a sensitive approach to its well-chosen protagonists the Jury has  decided to award the film that shows us a global and a well-known topic from a unique  unconventional perspective which still allows the audience to get very close not only to the  main protagonist but also to dive into the whole story. And all this is supported by the  strong cinematic vision of the director. 

    Special Mention: LAST IMAGE (Judith Zdesar / Austria, 2020) 

    Jury statement: For its poetic aesthetics, in search of a sensory representation of a daily and  familiar environment, and for its visual creation of a memory that permanently disappeared  by bringing glimpses of light in a world of darkness. 


    Best Student Documentary Film from Central and Eastern Europe 2020 /The authors of the winning film will receive a financial prize of 2,000 USD (in partnership  with Current Time TV)/ 

    Winner: Time Is (Zaur Kourazov / Belgium, Russia, 2020)

    Jury statement: For a beautiful and minimalistic narrative approach with which director  succeeds, by suspending time in a soothing atmosphere, to open multiple number of topics  that unfold in the film and can be relevant not only for the Chechen society.  


    Best Czech Documentary Film 2020 

    /The authors of the winning film also receive a financial prize of 10,000 EUR/ Winner: A New Shift (Jindřich Andrš / Czech Republic, 2020) 

    Jury statement: The Czech Joy main award goes to Jindřích Andrš’s film New Shift  portraying the life story of Tomáš Hisem, a laid-off miner from the Paskov Mine, who at 50  is trying to retrain as a computer programmer. As a careful and sensitive observation  showing no prejudices or downplaying, the film allows us to get so close to the main  protagonist and his environment that it changes not only us but also its author. Using the  example of one person, the film expresses in exact terms the generally valid topics of  center-periphery relations, existential struggle, work transformation and alienation in a  neoliberal economy and individual adaptability in a world without a strong safety net.  Tomorrow, anyone of us can be in the shoes of a Paskov Mine miner.  

    Special Mention: Wolves at the Borders (Martin Páv / Czech Republic, 2020)

    Jury statement: Wolves at the Borders is a story of our personal boundaries, our shared fear  of the unknown and of the possibility of losing our conquered territories where anyone can  be the wolf. The strong environmental topic of irreversible ecosystem disruption blends with  the unassuming format of a western set in the Broumov region with the author’s unbiased  approach unveiling borders being delineated, crossed or shared in a process where even the  losing side is a winner. 

    Student jury award: Jan Jedlička: Traces of a Landscape (Petr Záruba /Czech Republic, Italy,  2020) 

    Jury statement: We selected Petr Záruba’s film Traces of a Landscape: Jan Jedlička for its  visual, sound and content integrity. The film leads the viewer in a self-effacing, modest and  precise way. It is a sensitive symbiosis via the shared language of observation. It’s therefore  sure to have a concentrated, almost intimate impact.  


    Best Documentary Debut Film 2020 

    Winner: Ghosts: A Long Way Home (Tiago Siopa / Portugal, 2019 ) 

    Jury statement: For magnificent cinematic style, for the immersiveness of spiritually  enriching storytelling. A small-scale epic suggesting an entire mythological world. A fragile  essay on a memory, on human roots, and on a moment in which presence is explicitly  connected with the future and the past. Film as a free verse. Pure cinema.

    Special Mention: A House (Judith Auffray / France, Switzerland, 2020) 

    Jury statement: We, who come to the house with director Judith Auffray, are soon  enchanted — yet at the same time brutally deprived of the usual rhythms, automatic  motions, and safe steps belonging to the familiar regime of our daily existence. We learn  new rules, alternative rhythms, movements, we focus on the world differently. It becomes a  dance.  

    Student jury award: A House (Judith Auffray / France, Switzerland, 2020) 

    Jury statement: House is a gentle observational documentary bringing us a natural glimpse  into the specific world of a group of autistic persons. The jury appreciates the author’s  human approach towards the portrayed topic and the trust that she has gained with her  protagonist via her camera. The jury also commends the fact that the film is not trying to be  an advocate for David, Zoey or Thomas but lets them speak for themselves. The result is a  portrait of several exceptional individuals who are seen by the viewer as an integral part of  the environment they are actively helping to maintain but also as fully-fledged human  beings with their own eccentricities and history. The author’s craftsmanship also stands out  with long shots revealing a surprising climax of the portrayed story. 


    Best Experimental Documentary Film 2020 

    Winner: We Are Without (SJ. Ramir / Australia, New Zealand, 2020) 

    Jury statement: The jury has decided to award the shortest film of this section: SJ Ramir’s  We Are Without. Despite the author’s signature high level of stylization and the use of  conventional cinematic devices, this work unlocks in a simple sequence of several images a  vast range of interpretations. The increasing desire to see the context, to materialize  fragments of the story, to grasp the inner visual realm gives us a chance to see, in the gaps  between archaistic shots, the offscreen-made film as contemporary, unique, precise and  topical. 

    Special Mention: Baroque Femina (Nr. 7-11) (Péter Lichter / Hungary, 2020) 

    Jury statement: The jury’s special mention goes to Péter Lichter for his video-essay Baroque  Femina (Nr. 7-11). The visually adventurous collage about today’s Hungarian collective  unconscious sensitively and with admitted prejudices experiments with the politic reality of  narrative frameworks. 


    Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film 2020 

    Winner: Catastrophe (Zbyněk Baladrán / Czech Republic, 2019)

    Jury statement: The main jury award goes to Zbyněk Baladrán for his film Catastrophe. An  established figure of Czech contemporary art, his systemic work is characterized by an  ability to achieve, using simple and formally and stylistically pure devices, movements of  thoughts which, instead of becoming illustrations of theoretical discourses, use visual  shortcuts to connect audiences to lived reality and to its reflection in societal and individual  memory.  

    Special Mention: Sparkly Shiny Brightly See, Kaleidoscope Grows from Ears (Tereza  Chudáčková, Klára Ondračková / Czech Republic, 2020) 

    Jury statement: For its sensitive work with light, its narration indescribable in words and for  its simplicity and non-speculative nature. 

    Special Mention: Nobody Needs to Know About This, He Said (Ester Grohová / Czech  Republic, 2020) 

    Jury statement: For a bold approach to a personal topic without inclination to its ironization  or non-transferable self-experiencing and for the not-so-obvious blending of the therapeutic layer with the artistic one. 


    Best Short Documentary Film 2020 

    Winner: First Birthday after the Apocalypse (Farah Hasanbegović / Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Hungary, 2020) 

    The winner was selected through the online platform, DAFilms.cz. 


    Best testimony 2020 

    Winner: Oeconomia (Carmen Losmann / Germany, 2020) 

    Jury statement: Oeconomia presents a challenging topic for a documentary – the creation  of money, profit and debt. The filmmaker managed to zoom in on the issue itself while also  pointing at its creators – top bank and business managers who have no idea how the  system they have created actually works. The jury also appreciates the cinematic qualities  of the film which transforms the sterile rooms of financial institutions and industrial  corporations into an impressive aesthetic experience reflecting how the elites are cut off  from the life of ordinary people. 

    Special Mention: Vivos (Ai Weiwei / Germany, Mexico, 2020) 

    Jury statement: Vivos captures the intimate testimonies of people whose children and  loved-ones were killed or seriously injured during a police massacre in the Mexican city of  Iguala. The film gradually moves from a clear explanation of the massacre investigation process and from the affected families’ protest against the official version of events  towards the vast context of international war against drugs and the impact of US policies  on the ongoing violence against vulnerable communities in different parts of the world. The  jury has also concluded that the film is a sensitive portrayal of the culture and daily life of  local communities avoiding unnecessary exoticization. 


    Ai Weiwei


    A New Shift (Jindřich Andrš / Czech Republic, 2020) 


    Audience Award: ANIFILM

    Festival Identity Jury Award: Taiwan International Documentary Festival


    (presented by the Institute of Documentary Film) 

    Silver Eye Award for the best feature documentary 2020 

    Winner: A New Shift (Jindřich Andrš / Czech Republic, 2020) 

    Jury statement: The 2020 Silver Eye award goes to a film which has not only captured our  attention by addressing a very topical, burning topic, but also charmed us with its sensitive  approach to the main protagonist and its own setting. Although he has dedicated several  years of his life to the topic, and made both a short and a debut feature film about it, the  filmmaker has not lost sight of the bigger picture and remained humble in his approach. We  believe that the documentary is an excellent representation of Central and Eastern Europe  and has a potential to resonate with audiences in the wider international context.

    Silver Eye Award for the best short documentary 2020 

    Winner: Son of the Streets (Mohammed Almughanni / Poland, Lebanon, 2020) 

    Jury statement: How unwelcomed can you feel in this world? The director’s unique  connection allows him to uncover the nature of Khodor’s crucial dilemma through in a  tangible and memorable way. The intense film experience of a daily life in a camp will make  a deep imprint in the viewers’ memory. 

    Special Mention: To Feather, to Wither (Hanna Hovitie / Hungary, 2020)

    Jury statement: For exquisite directing, reviving the dead. The director created a fragile,  poetic, portrait of a life cycle.” “For exquisite directing, reviving the dead. The director  created a fragile, poetic, portrait of a life cycle.

    PARTNERS and SPONSORS of the 24th Ji.hlava  IDFF 

    Main Supporters 

    Ministry of Culture Czech Republic
    Czech Film Fund
    Creative Europe MEDIA
    City of Jihlava
    Vysočina Region 

    Supported by 

    EEA and Norway Grants
    Korean Film Council
    Embassy of the United States
    European Commission Representation in the  Czech Republic
    Czech Centres
    Embassy of the Kingdom of the
    Netherlands Italian Cultural Institute
    Austrian Cultural Forum
    Goethe Institut
    French Institute
    Polish Institute
    Romanian Cultural Institute
    German Films
    Delegation of Flanders in the Czech Republic Instituto Camões
    Embassy of Denmark
    Hungarian Institute Prague
    Slovak Institute
    Embassy of the State of Israel
    State Culture Fund of the Czech Republic Jan Barta 

    General Media Partner 

    Czech Television 

    Main Media Partner 

    Czech Radio 

    Exclusive Media Partners 


    Partners of Industry Section 

    Creative Europe MEDIA
    Czech Film Fund
    International Visegrad Fund
    Ministry of Culture Czech Republic
    Audiovisual Producers' Association
    Statutory City of Jihlava
    Central European Initiative
    Creative Europe Desk CZ – Media 

    The Inspiration Forum Partners 

    Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Prague Office Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Czech Republic Masaryk Democratic Academy
    International Visegrad Fund
    Diaconia ECCB – Centre of Relief and Development
    Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Slovak-Czech Women‘s Fund
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech  Republic
    Creative Europe Czech Desk
    Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
    The Czech Christian Academy Jihlava Respekt
    Radio Wave 

    Partners of Ji.hlava Film Fund 

    Center for Documentary Film 

    Co-organiser of the Industry Section

    Institute of Documentary Film 

    Partner Project 

    Doc Alliance Films 

    Festival Partner 

    Czech Tourism 

    Regional Partners 

    Československá obchodní banka
    College of Polytechnics Jihlava

    Partner for Sustainable Mobility 

    Autonapůl –The first Czech Car Sharing 

    Official Shipping Partner 

    FedEx Express 

    Photo Partner 


    Partner of VR Zone 


    Sorting Services Partner


    Official Festival Beer 

    MadCat Brewery 

    Official Suppliers 

    AZ Translations
    Dřevovýroba Podzimek
    Fine Coffee
    ICOM transport
    Jeřáby Hanyš
    KOMA Modular
    Konica Minolta
    Natural Jihlava
    Kolby Winery 

    Partners of Ji.hlava for Kids 

    Baby Office
    Bistro na tři tečky
    Dětský lesnÍ klub Hájenka
    Dům Gustava Mahlera
    Paseka Coffee
    Nikon School
    Regional Gallery of the Vysočina region Robinson Family Theme Park
    Tělovýchovná jednota Sokol Jihlava VOŠG a SUŠG 


    Bombus Energy
    The Jihlava Public Transit Co.
    DKO Jihlava
    Edison Filmhub
    Horácké Theatre Jihlava
    Třešť City
    Milan Vyvadil
    Newton Media
    Prádelna a čistírna Jihlava Studio VOKO
    and other co-workers 

    Media Partners 

    Dějiny a současnost Film a doba
    Radio 1 

    Regional Media Partners Jihlavská Drbna 

    Jihlavské listy 

    Hitrádio Vysočina 

    Náš region 

    Media Co-operations

    Festival Guide
    Flash Art
    Full Moon
    HIS Voice
    Nový prostor
    Revolver Revue
    SNIP & CO 

    Foreign Media Partners

    Business Doc Europe Cineuropa
    Film New Europe
    Kino Ikon
    Modern Times Review Variety

    Last modified on 14-11-2020