Among films awarded at the Sundance film festival were also two documentaries developed in the Czech dok.incubator workshop

    In addition to the short film entitled Dcera (Daughter), two more films developed in the Czech Republic within the dok.incubator workshop also scored points at the prestigious Sundance American film festival awards ceremony on Saturday. The Ukrainian filmmaker Iryna Tsilyk won the Documentary Directing Award for her debut documentary The Earth is Blue as an Orange depicting a family facing life traumas in the middle of a war zone. The camera prize went to Mircea Topoleanu and Radu Ciorniciuc for the peculiar Romanian documentary Acasa, My Home. Radu Ciorniciuc, director, screenwriter and director of photography, presents a dramatic story of a family forced to leave the Bucharest Delta wilderness and to adapt to the life in the city. Both are debut films by young filmmakers. They succeeded in getting to Sundance film festival also thanks to the remarkably high-quality film production and creative editing which they worked on for six months under the professional guidance of twenty leading European lecturers within the Czech dok.incubator workshop.

    The prestigious Prague workshop which has been helping to develop ambitious documentary projects from all over the world for nine years, has achieved great success this year. And it was not only the success of the three films at the Sundance competition. Two other films that went through the dok.incubator were shown at Berlinale last year (Lapü and Searching Eva), one film was nominated at the European Film Awards (The Disappearance of My Mother), and another film won the Emmy Award (Worker’s Cup). The dok.incubator films are frequently acquired by the major world players and can be viewed on Netflix, HBO or as a part of POV television series. 

    The dok.incubator is a unique workshop intended for documentary filmmakers with international ambitions that does not operate exclusively within the European context. It helps with creative editing, but it also focuses on marketing and distribution planning, ensuring the documentaries stand the best chance of succeeding in the international competition. “Dok.incubator has proven to be an invaluable source of fresh talent and surprising, unconventional approaches to storytelling. Based on our experience, I can say that this is a workshop that is very intense on the one hand but, on the other, has the capacity for finding a very personal approach of lecturers and mentors to each film. And it is this very approach of lecturers and mentors that helps to create the most interesting film stories,” says Sundance festival selector Harry Vaughn who regularly visits the workshop to select films for the competition section. The Earth is Blue as an Orange, the Sundance winning film, will have its Czech premiere in Prague as a part of the One World film festival (5th – 14th March 2020), with the award-winning film director Iryna Tsilyk expected to be present.

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    Established in 2010 in collaboration with the DOK Leipzig festival, dok.incubator is a think-tank of experienced providers of professional education intended to help medium-sized and small production companies from different countries to face the crisis of the audiovisual industry. The first year took place in 2012 and a great success followed immediately. The film entitled The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear won the main prize for directing at the Sundance Film Festival in the United States. Another success came the following year and the good reputation of the workshop made it possible to recruit the most well-known editors from Europe and other countries, invite respected sales agents as well as producers and selectors of the leading international festivals. These experts count among active players of the world cinematography and participate in creation of numerous international films. Both their practical experience and their know-how contributed significantly to the development of the practical format of the workshop.  

    The workshop also collaborates with Czech filmmakers and participated in a whole range of important Czech documentaries and has helped a number of Czech film directors with introducing their debut documentaries to the leading European film festivals. These documentaries included, for instance, the following: 

    Planeta Česko (Wilder Than Wilderness), Švéd v žigulíku (The Russian Job), Budovatelé říše (The Empire Builders) and Central Bus Station. “As early as the first year, we offered the Czech film professionals intensive editing and dramaturgic consultations that often spontaneously led to a longer-term collaboration based on the enthusiasm of the lecturers. The success of the student film entitled Nebezpečný svět Rajka Dolečka (The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček) which came to us in its creative crisis and was taken care of by the French editor Yael Bitton or the Stále spolu (Always Together) documentary made by the journalist Eva Tomanová, has shown us to what extent the long-term creative and production support as well as the fresh outside view can affect the quality and distribution of Czech films,” explains the workshop director Andrea Prenghyová.    


    The doc.incubator project is supported by Creative Europe - MEDIA Program, State Cinematography Fund, Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Audiovisual Fund, EEA and Norway Funds, International Visegrad Fund, APA - Audiovisual Producers Association, AVEK - Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, Nordisk Film & TV Fond and the Czech Centre.

    Last modified on 21-02-2020