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10 Docs Nominated for Koutecky Award

Ten documentaries have been picked by the jury to compete for the 2012 Pavel Koutecky Award, a coveted prize established six years ago to give more exposure to Czech documentary filmmakers. The winner will be announced June 13 at Archa Theatre.

Pavel Koutecky Award
Award gala: June 13, 2012 / Archa Theatre / 8PM

Out of 90 submissions, this year's Jury selected the following ten films: Love in the Grave (David Vondráček), Mein kroj (Martin Dušek), Into Oblivion (Šimon Špidla), Solar Eclipse (Martin Mareček), Roxanne (Veronika Mikalová), Private Universe (Helena Třeštíková), Trafačka – Temple of Freedom (Saša Dlouhý, Roman Vávra), The Tripoint (Klára Řezníčková), Věra 68 (Olga Sommerová), Race to the Bottom (Vít Janeček).


Love in the Grave

Production company: Yekot Film s.r.o.

Láska v hrobě , Czech Republic, 2011, 78 min, Digi Beta, Longitudinal, Social Issues, Society

At the beginning of the second millennium, a group of homeless people found refuge at a German protestant graveyard in Prague - Strašnice. Among them, there is a couple of eternal fiancés: thirty-three-year-old Jana and fifty-year-old Jan. As soon as Jana and Jan get settled in a neogothic tomb, the police raid the graveyard...The film has been made as an observational documentary in the years 2007 - 2011.


Mein kroj

Director: Dušek Martin
Producer: Morávek Petr
Production company: Czech TV

Mein Kroj , Czech Republic, 2011, 26 min, Culture, History, Politics



Into Oblivion

Director: Špidla Šimon
Producer: Berčík Pavel
Production company: Evolution Films, s.r.o.

Mrtvá trať , Czech Republic, 2011, 52 min, Beta, Creative, Experimental, Personal View, Social Issues

Stalin grasps a pencil in his hand as he prepares to draw a line on a map of the Soviet Union. Where the graphite touches paper, some 80,000 people - almost all of them gulag inmates - will build a railroad in the gruelling conditions of the polar taiga. It is a railway line of almost no strategic importance, built on permafrost and polar marshes, using limited technology and equipment. For four years, they will slave away, succumbing to exhaustion, illness, cruelty, and solitary confinement before, finally, the death of Stalin himself. In just a few weeks, there will be nothing left of their hectic activity except for empty camp barracks, old locomotives, bits of track, embankments, telegraph wires. All left to slowly return to the taiga…


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. Short circuits of all sorts, blending and dissolving of different worlds, rituals of gratitude and concepts of solutions. With no attempts to declare or evaluate anything, Solar Eclipse becomes a situation probe examining various forms of light and darkness. Will the two Czech linkboys succeed in lighting up the Zambian bushland?


Private Universe

Production company: Negativ, Czech TV

Soukromý vesmír , Czech Republic, 2012, 83 min, 35 mm, Longitudinal, Personal View, Social Issues

Honza was born in 1974 into the cheerless era of socialism in Czechoslovakia. At that time, his parents Jana and Petr lived in one room in the apartment of Jana's divorced mother and her widowed grandmother. A few years later, the family moved from Prague to Liberec where Petr found a job and a little house for the family. When Honza was born, his father began writing a family chronicle and he has continued to do so for 37 years. “Family Diary“ shows not only the life of one ordinary family but also how the Czech society has changed in the last four decades. Who are we, where do we come from and where do we go?


Trafačka - Temple of Freedom

Producer: Dlouhý Saša
Production company: freeSaM, Czech TV

Trafačka - Chrám svobody , Czech Republic, 2011, 96 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. We spent most of our time exploring the small mountain community of Hrčava, the youngest and easternmost Czech village, formerly part of neighbouring Javořinka on the Polish side of the border. On the Slovak side, there is Čierne. In Bukovec, a Czech village, half the residents identify themselves as Poles. Capturing this magnificent, forgotten mountain region in the course of the four seasons of the year in the rhythm of local music, the film tells the stories of both long ago and of today. Its special character derives from the mutual blending and layering of various ethnic elements. The old residents talk about the “Czechification” of Hrčava, giving an account of how the question of nationality and identity has been resolved. They also talk about the situation during the world wars, depicting how people eked out a living by means of illicit trade in contraband, especially during the communist era.


Vera Caslavska - 68

Director: Sommerová Olga
Producer: Berčík Pavel
Production company: Evolution Films, s.r.o., Czech TV

Věra 68 , Czech Republic, 2012, 90 min, HD, Culture, Longitudinal, Portrait, Society

The film about Věra Čáslavská is an evaluation of her life. With her seven gold and four silver Olympic medals, she represents the most successful Czechoslovak sportswoman of all time as well as the fourth most successful Olympic sportswoman of the world. After her breathtaking victory at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City in 1968, she was pronounced the second most popular woman of the planet after Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1968, she signed the 2000 Words Manifesto which she never withdrew. Despite her enormous fame, which she deserved for her incredibly hard work and endurance, she lived a troubled life (political situation during normalization, marriage, family tragedy). Her unique life story reflects the situation in the Czech society, both in the communist and democratic regime.


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. Why is the gap between work efficiency and wage costs getting bigger? Work, theory and practice within the context of major global trends.


Founded in 2007, the Award is organized by the Film & Sociology Association and Archa Theatre in cooperation with One World. Czech filmmaker Pavel Koutecký (1956–2006) was one of the most distinct voices in Czech documentary film. The award in his name is presented annually to his followers, patient observers of the world who are able to share their insights through films. The Award comes with a financial prize of CZK 100,000.

Past winners:
2007: A Low-level Flight by Jan Šikl
2008: The Tadpole, the Rabbit and the Holy Ghost by Filip Remunda and scriptwriter Richard Komárek
2009: The Unwelcome by Tomáš Škrdlant
2010: Country of Dreams by Martin Ryšavý
2011: Earthlings, Who Are You Voting for? by Linda Jablonská & Inventura workshop participants


For more details, please visit the Koutecky Award website.