Czech Docs Project
More Documentaries in Czech Cinemas
At a time when the majority of documentary projects suffer from budget cuts that plague public broadcasters, the number of new Czech documentary films remains the same as last year. 2009 has yielded a total of ninety-nine documentary films. Only a few make it to the big screen, yet this number keeps rising each year. In 2005, only three documentaries were released in cinemas; in 2008, the figure increased to twelve; as of September 2009, eleven documentaries have been released. Unlike Czech features, Czech documentaries have also been successful at an international level, presented and awarded at some of the most prestigious film festivals. Although Helena Třeštíková has been the flagship documentarian, top honours from major festivals went to other Czech films, too. As a result of its growing international visibility, Czech documentary film finally got a separate category at the 2008 Czech Lion Awards. The Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) currently strives to provide filmmakers with more information to finally get Czech documentaries to qualify for the Academy Awards.
Czech Documentary Films at International Festivals
Some of the most important documentary festivals include Hot Docs (Toronto, Canada), IDFA (Amsterdam, Netherlands), DOK Leipzig (Germany), Rotterdam IFF (Netherlands), Visions du Réel Nyon (Switzerland) or Pusan IFF (South Korea). One can find a number of Czech documentaries among the awardees. For example, Cooking History by Peter Kerekes received the Special Jury Prize at the 2009 Hot Docs; the Czech-Slovak film Blind Loves by Juraj Lehotský won the CICAE Award at the 61st Cannes IFF; Gyumri by Jana Ševčíková grabbed the CULT Award at the Rome IFF; Miloslav Novák's Peace with Seals was awarded at the Guangzhou IDFF, China. Helena Třeštíková's René won a number of major awards, among others, the Golden Dove Award at the 51st DOK Leipzig, and Prix Arte from the European Film Academy. Also shortlisted for Prix Arte, Citizen Havel by Pavel Koutecký and Miroslav Janek won the Czech Lion Award and was screened at the Berlin IFF.