Czech Documentaries Flourish in Cinemas and at Festivals
September 20, 2011 the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) and the Czech Film Center (CFC) organized an annual presentation of 10 strong Czech documentaries that are slated for release over the next year. The number of Czech documentaries released in cinemas has been growing, with 13 docs in 2009, and 14 in 2010. This year so far ten docs have been released and four more are still on the way.
Czech documentary filmmakers have been enjoying a happy festival season. For instance, Erika Hníková's Matchmaking Mayor that follows the humdrum lives of several singles in a Slovak village received the Tagesspiegel Readers' Prize for Best Film at Berlinale's Forum. Matchmaking Mayor and Vít Klusák's All for the Good of the World and Nosovice have been the most successful Czech documentaries this year, with screenings at the 2011 Hot Docs and a number of other major festivals.
Nicky's Family by Matěj Mináč has earned the top spot in cinema admissions. Mináč's heart-wrenching film about "Winton's children" delivered 32,792 viewers. Miloš Pilař's probe into Czech WWII history The Village of Lezaky trailed far behind with 6,818 viewers. All for the Good of the World and Nosovice - a critical look at a car plant's invasion of pristine landscape - and Matchmaking Mayor posted ticket sales of nearly six thousand.
Last year, IDF and CFC singled out ten remarkable documentaries, including Earthlings, Who Are You Voting for? by Linda Jablonská that ran on Czech TV and went on to receive the Pavel Koutecky Award; Theatre Svoboda by Jakub Hejna about his grandfather, a famous stage designer; and Bear Islands by Martin Ryšavý.
This year, the two organizations are proud to present the following selection: In Eugenic Minds, filmmaker Pavel Štingl uses archive footage from the communist era and animation by Zdeněk Durdil to envision a future which turns into a massacre. Peter Zach's Bohemia Is Greek to Me captures the specifics of the Czech and German "national character" in mundane stories with a historical context. Šimon Špidla's Into Oblivion takes us into a taiga in Stalin-time Russia to recount the horrors of a railway construction project. Based on Mariusz Szczygiel's eponymous bestseller, Gottland will be an omnibus film directed by six FAMU students - Bohdan Bláhovec, Viera Čákanyová, Petr Hátle, Rozálie Kohoutová, Lukáš Kokeš, Radovan Síbrt, Klára Tasovská - exploring Czech history through the eyes of history's losers. In Czech Greens, Daniela Matějková takes a close look at various transformations within the Czech Green Party. Filmmaker Vladimír Michálek whose credits include successful features, such as Sekal Has to Die and Of Parents and Children, follows the life of author and singer Xavier Baumaxa in his documentary film simply entitled Baumaxa. Petr Hátle presented his documentary road movie Digital Prints of a Revolution. In Year of Marihuana, filmmaker Petr Slabý explores cannabis and its various uses. Kytlice, Zimmer Frei by Rozálie Kohoutová follows the troubled history of a village in the former Sudetenland in North Bohemia. A collective of artists who call themselves Rafani returns after four years of self-imposed textless exile to introduce Prague's alternative culture in 31 Endings / 31 Beginnings.
The newly published catalogue Czech Documentary Films 2011/2012 contains details on tens of upcoming documentaries, including the latest longitudinal project by Helena Třeštíková - Family Diary which follows 35 years in the life of Honza, the son of the filmmaker's friend, will be released early next year.
Last year IDF celebrated 10 years of existence, this year IDF has crossed the 100 mark of films completed with the aid of IDF's activities. For example, At the Edge of Russia by Polish filmmaker Michal Marczak and Abendland by Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter have won accolades and awards at a number of festivals, such as Hot Docs, Visions du réel, Sheffield Doc/Fest and CPH:DOX. Czech documentaries recently supported by IDF include Copper Age by Ivo Bystřičan, All for the Good of the World and Nosovice by Vít Klusák, and Matchmaking Mayor by Erika Hníková.
Documentary Films - Cinema Admissions from 9/2010 through 7/2011
(title, release date, admissions)
Nicky's Family, March 2, 2011 / 32792
The Village of Ležáky, September 27, 2010 / 6815
All for the Good of the World and Nosovice, February 17, 2011 / 5780
Matchmaking Mayor, September 12, 2010 / 5767
Tantra, March 10, 2011 / 3714
When the Stone Speaks, March 10, 2011 / 2988
The Generation Singles, July 14, 2011 / 1868
Theatre Svoboda, April 7, 2011 / 1147
Generation 60, September 16, 2010 / 826
Catenaccio a la Drnovice, September 2. 2010 / 573
From Cherries to Cherries/Everything Is Crap, March 3, 2011 / 442
For Semafor, November 4, 2010 / 434
Bear Islands, December 16, 2010 / 391
Copper Age, January 13, 2011 / 212
The Day After a Long Night, June 9, 2011 / 210
Argippo Resurrected, October 21, 2010 / 142
Saving Edwards, November 15, 2010 / 136
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Institute of Documentary Film
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Czech Film Center
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