Industry drives Jihlava success

    The budget crisis shut down one of the cinemas at the Jihlava film festival, the leading doc fest in CEE, but it couldn't keep away industry and guests -- a remarkable increase of over 20% more professionals showed up to check out the best of the region's booming documentary output.

    Festival director Marek Hovorka, who founded the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (www.dokument-festival.cz) 13 years ago, while a FAMU film school student, smartly aligned forces with the powerhouses of the documentary world. Festival partners include East Silver Market (www.eastsilver.net) which offers a comprehensive database and screening facilities for documentary films from the CEE region, Doc Alliance (docalliancefilms.com) which offers online access to selected documentaries in cooperation with four other European documentary festivals, and the East European Forum which hosts a pitching forum for producers and directors from CEE countries. Together, this bouquet of platforms attract sales agents, TV buyers and commissioning agents, festival programmers and producers looking for films stretching from development stage through finished product.

    In a nod to the importance of the festival's industry profile, the festival launched a new prize this year: the Silver Eye, going to the best films from the East Silver Market. Estonian director Jaak Kilmi's Disco and Atomic War, a quick-silver fresh Estonian-Finnish co-production, won the feature-length prize, just two weeks after taking the best documentary award at the Warsaw Film Festival. The film is the latest in a string of documentary pearls emerging from CEE. Producer Kiur Aarma of told FNE that the film has already been picked up by Austrian sales agent Autlook Films (www.autlookfilms.com). Poland picked up the Silver Eye for best mid-length documentary, director Bartek Konopka's Polish/German co-production Rabbit a la Berlin, a bunny-tale about the inhabitants of the of verbotten strip of land between the Berlin Walls. The Silver Eye for best short documentary was picked up by another Polish film, Six Weeks directed by Marcin Janos Krawcyk.

    The East European Forum joined the parade of presenters at the Jihlava closing ceremony on October 31, selecting Bulgarian film project The Last Black Sea Pirates and Sir Norman Foster to travel to Amsterdam's IDFA pitching forum. Lithuanian project The Field of Magic received a one-year grant of travel funding from the Prague based Institute of Documentary Film (www.docuinter.net).

    Last modified on 15-03-2010