Jihlava festival to work on regional doc promotion scheme

By Patricia Koza

    The 11th International Festival of Documentary Films in Jihlava, south Moravia, opens Tuesday with an enlarged competition section and the goal of adopting a joint strategy by East European countries for more effective promotion of regional docs.

    Festival director Marek Hovorka says Jihlava will host the first meeting of national film centres from all East European countries, sponsored by the Institute of Documentary Film.

    Since the 1990s regional documentary film has gone through major changes in promotion, distribution, institutional support and other areas.

    "Nevertheless, even after 15 years the situation regarding promotion and distribution of East European documentaries is still not ideal," Hovorka said in an email exchange with FNE. "It will change, but we want to accelerate the process."

    Hovorka points out the documentary films are under-covered in the media, especially compared to feature films. Jihlava will inaugurate a special three-day session for young film journalists to practice how to write about the subject.

    "For example in the Czech Republic there are about 20 fiction films and 60 documentaries every year," he said, "but from newspapers you feel there are 50 fiction films and about five documentaries. That's strange and we would like to find out why this is so."

    The festival will screen 170 docs, 140 of them Central European premieres. It runs through Oct. 28.