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2011: 19 Czech Documentary Films in Cinemas

A total of 44 Czech films have been released in cinemas this year, including 19 documentaries. The number of theatrical releases has been steadily rising in recent years. This positive trend is both due to the technical and financial availability of digital technologies that make cinema release viable even for low-budget films, as well as various projects, such as Czech Joy in Czech Cinemas that helped release 5 documentary films in a joint campaign.

Seventeen of this year's documentary releases will compete for the Czech Lion Awards organized by the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA), that will be announced in March 2012. In sheer number of films, the documentary category comes close to the feature category (24 films). In mid-January, Czech film critics will also announce best films of the past year. Their competition features all films distributed in cinemas, short films as well as films making use of alternative distribution channels. On top of the CFTA eligible films, the Czech Film Critics Awards include, for instance, Andrea Slováková's documentary In Sight released on VoD.

Czech cinema releases in 2011 - Documentary films:
[listed alphabetically]



Zneužívaný , Czech Republic, 2011, 75 min, 35 mm, Creative, Portrait

A documentary film about a man who has been sexually abused by his own mother as a child. When he was eighteen, he killed her. After almost ten years spent in prison, he starts narrating his story, including his current struggles with life and his futile efforts to find true love.



All for the Good of the World and Nosovice

Director: Klusák Vít
Production company: Hypermarket Film, Czech TV

Vše pro dobro světa a Nošovic , Czech Republic, 2010, 82 min, 35 mm, Creative, Personal View, Social Issues

An original portrait of a Czech village that houses a giant car plant built by South Korea's Hyundai. Before the village turned into an industrial zone, many of the landowners had no intention of selling their plots of land... Not until many of them faced pressure from their neighbours who had accepted approx. EUR 4000 in compensation and not until they received death threats.


A Catapult of Fate

Director: Gogola ml. Jan
Production company: CIREAL production, HBO Czech Republic

Rock života , Czech Republic, 2011, 80 min, HD, Creative, Personal View, Portrait

A creative documentary film portrait of Olda Říha, frontman of a famous Czech rock band Katapult celebrating 35 years of its existence. The first day of shooting captures the funeral of bass guitar player and Říha's lifelong friend Jiří "Old Man" Šindelář in January 2009 and the last day of shooting records an opening concert of the new album tour "Joys of Life", which took place in the largest church in Eastern Bohemia.


Copper Age

Director: Bystřičan Ivo
Production company: Hypermarket Film

Doba měděná , Czech Republic, 2010, 52 min, DVD, Human Rights, Politics, Social Issues

A documentary exploration set in Zambia which, despite being one of the largest exporters of copper in the world, is increasingly more dependent on international aid. Having privatized the copper mines, Zambia no longer has earnings from copper export.


The Day after a Long Night

Director: Kudrna Tomáš
Production company: Negativ, LE Vision Film- und Fernsehproduktion GmbH

Po dlouhé noci den , Czech Republic, Germany, 2011, 90 min, DCP, History

Libuše Audrlická, a Czech, Barbara Müller, a Pole, and Inna Klimenko, an Ukrainian, were three women out of a total of 13 million people who were employed as forced labourers under the Third Reich during the Second World War. For the most part, the monotonous work in ammunition factories or in agriculture involved 12-hour shifts in difficult conditions. This was exacerbated by the awareness that their work helped support the hated Nazi regime.


EM and HE

Production company: HBO Czech Republic, Open Field Pictures

EM a ON , Czech Republic, 70 min, Digi Beta, HD, Culture, Music, Portrait

Em and He is 85 minute film about two friends from Litvínov, a town in the north of the Czech Republic. Both the Ukrainian poet EM Rudenko and the musician Xavier Baumaxa are 36 years old.The first one is unemployed. Now and then he disposes dangerous waste in a chemical plant or he illegally tugs cables in mud. He just performs jobs no one wants to do. He doesn’t strike. He doesn’t complain.The other one wanders around the country with guitar.


From Cherries to Cherries

Director: Boršková Jana
Production company: První veřejnoprávní

Od višní do višní , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, DVD, Portrait, Youth Documentary

The director made the documentary film From Cherries to Cherries about her mother after the death of her father. Against the backdrop of one year in the garden, which the father used to take care of, mother and daughter are looking for emotional attachments to men in the family and their mutual relationship. Although the film's main theme is death of close relatives, the starting points are life itself, understanding and forgiveness.


Generation Singles

Director: Počtová Jana
Production company: HBO Czech Republic, Mimoid Pictures

Generace Singles , Czech Republic, 2011, 77 min, HD, Current Affairs, Social Issues, Society

The documentary about people without partners is a probe into human relations in present-day Czech Republic, a contemplation of diverse forms of hope and disillusion. It deals with sexuality, causes of infidelity, reasons for divorces, and transformations of traditional partnership and family models. The life of one of the female protagonists has a surprising denouement in the epilogue and the destinies of the protagonists after the documentary was made are described in the final credits.


In Sight

Production company: Duracfilm, FAMU - Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

Nadohled , Czech Republic, 2011, 50 min, HD, Creative, Philosophy, Society

Film essay about classical and postmodern supervision mechanisms. In the second half of the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham designed the model of a panopticon, a type of building that made supervision most effective. Panopticons were firstly used for prisons, places where supervision and punishment are the main functions. Secret services but also different surveillance technologies are the new panopticons.


My Father Voskovec

Production company: Rudinska Film, Czech TV

Můj otec George Voskovec , Czech Republic, USA, 2011, 75 min, Digi Beta, DVD, Archive , Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait

The documentary film captures the personal life and artistic career of Jiří Voskovec from his arrival in the United States in 1950 to his death in 1981. The film is narrated from the perspective of his younger daughter Gigi, who is trying to find out who her father, Jiří-George Voskovec, really was.


Nicky's Family

Director: Mináč Matěj
Production company: Trigon Production, s.r.o., W.I.P., Czech TV

Nickyho rodina , Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2011, 96 min, 35 mm, DCP, Docu drama, History

Dramatic follow-up of the documentary The Power of Good about Nicholas Winton’s Kindertransport rescue mission. This film enhances the original story with a number of dramatic re-enactments narrated by the rescued children and Sir Winton himself, rare archival footage and interviews. Joe Schlesinger, a CBC reporter and one of the rescued children, is the guide in the film, who presents not only how Winton’s act changed his life, but also how it continues to influence the lives of thousands of others worldwide.


On the Outside

Production company: HBO Czech Republic

Venku , Czech Republic, 79 min, Digi Beta, Human Rights, Longitudinal, Social Issues, Society

This long-term observational film compares the situation of prisoners sentenced for life with the situation of those who leave their prison cells after several years. What does a man who has been looking forward to the day he would leave the prison gate for such a long time do? How does he cope with the fact that everything is different from what he imagined? What choices will he make?


Race to the Bottom

Director: Janeček Vít
Producer: Plešák Pavel
Production company: Vít Janeček

Závod ke dnu , Czech Republic, 2011, 82 min, Digi Beta, DV, Creative, Social Issues, Society

Capital mobility vs. people who stay behind. The end of human labour - a flaw in the system, design of the elites, or a new opportunity? Are labour unions a thing of the past? Have the unemployed become heroes of the 21st century? This complex if not exhaustive documentary film captures various aspects of labour in several companies, multinationals and plants that produce various objects ranging from textiles and glass to cars, matches and IT.


Saving Edwards

Producer: Fenič Fero
Production company: FEBIO - Film and Television Company, HBO Czech Republic

Zachraňte Edwardse , Czech Republic, 2010, 80 min, Beta SP, Health, Society

For the purposes of this film, Edwards is a child; a long-awaited child of a loving couple, a child struck by a terrible and fatal mistake at conception. Edwards had an extra chromosome, one more than the exact number required for the development of a healthy baby. This flaw causes severe developmental disorders that are not compatible with life.


Solar Eclipse

Director: Mareček Martin
Producer: Horská Tereza
Production company: Hypermarket Film

Pod sluncem tma , Czech Republic, 2011, 81 min, DV, Creative, Current Affairs, Portrait, Social Issues

In 2006, Milan and Tomas electrified a school campus and a hospital in a detached Zambian village. After four years, they return for the last time to find out about their system's failures, repair it and hand it over at last. The film follows them through chaotic days as well as pitch black nights and provides a fresh insight into the pitfalls of humanitarian development projects.



Director: Tuček Benjamin
Production company: HBO Czech Republic, Negativ

Tantra , Czech Republic, 2011, 90 min, Digi Beta, DV, Creative, Society

Sex is our lifelong companion. Tantra reveals a way to utilise the potential of sexual energy for personal development, to cultivate sexuality and to use its energy in all spheres of life. Tantra can become a discovery journey and awakening of hidden possibilities of improving the life potential - and certainly not only in terms of sexual power. The film focuses on the practice of the tantra teachers, examining their knowledge and experience...


Theatre Svoboda

Director: Hejna Jakub
Production company: endorfilm, Czech TV, Young Film

Divadlo Svoboda , Czech Republic, 2011, 98 min, DCP, HD, Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait

Theatre Svoboda portraits the life and work of the director’s grandfather, world-famous stage designer Josef Svoboda (1920–2002), who tried to juggle creative freedom, family life and political allegiances during the times of a communist regime. Svoboda was able to work for the top of world theatres, such as The Old Vic in London, The Metropolitan Opera in New York and La Scala in Milano. The film takes the viewer literally behind the scenes and reveals some of the secrets of Svoboda’s fascinating lifework through archive materials that have not been published yet.


Trafačka - Temple of Freedom

Producer: Dlouhý Saša
Production company: freeSaM, Czech TV

Trafačka - Chrám svobody , Czech Republic, 2011, 90 min, DVD, HD, Arts and Culture, Longitudinal, Portrait, Society

Made since 2006 by means of the observational method, the documentary captures the development of a former transformer repair plant in Prague's Vysočany quarter, starting from the moment when a group of artists converted the plant into an alternative art centre. The documentary includes the life stories of tenants of an adjacent gallery house as well as archive material reminiscent of the socialist era and its “five-year plans”.


The Tripoint

Production company: Duracfilm, Reel Illusion, FAMU - Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Studio FAMU

Trojmezí , Czech Republic, 2011, 59 min, Beta SP, DCP, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Creative, Culture, History, Music, Nature, Portrait, Society

"Saying I don't like the Czechs is like saying I don't like my mom. Saying I don't like the Slovaks is like saying I don't like my father. Saying I don't like the Polish is like saying I don't like my grandfather." We are in the European Union, in the easternmost Czech town, at the intersection of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. People's lives and the region's entire historical development have been greatly affected by these three borders.


When the Stone Speaks

Production company: Maitrea ltd., MAITREA

Když kámen promluví , Czech Republic, 2010, 75 min, DVD, HD, Creative, Portrait

This philosophically-laden portrait of Jaroslav Dušek looks at his relationship with nature, which this eccentric performer sees as a living creature. It containes excerpts from productions in which the popular actor has taken part with mentally-handicapped and deaf people. The title of the film refers to Dušek´s fondness for communicating with apparently inanimate stones.