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Institute of Documentary Film’s Activities

Founded in 2001, INSTITUTE OF DOCUMENTARY FILM (IDF) is a non-profit training and networking centre based in Prague, Czech Republic, focused on the support of Central and East European creative documentary film and its wider promotion.

We work closely with Central and East European film directors and producers and provide in-depth development support for their projects as well as international promotion.

We also work with key international festivals, broadcasters, distributors, sales agents, markets, film institutions, film schools, MEDIA Desks, training programmes, national film centres and various film portals, and serve as the GATEWAY TO EAST EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY FILM – an indispensable source of documentary projects and films from Central and Eastern Europe.

Competition Lineup at Karlovy Vary IFF

Two Czech documentaries - Two Nil by Pavel Abrahám and Private Universe by Helena Třeštíková - will be screened in competition at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (June 29 - July 7). Two Nil will be screened as world premiere, along with Trains of Thoughts by Timo Novotny. The section includes a number of other remarkable East European docs - Sofia's Last Ambulance, Kichot, Hard to Be God and Polish Illusions.

16 films will be screened in the documentary competition at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, June 29 - July 7, 2012.

Czech filmmaker Pavel Abrahám presented his award-winning RAPublic at the 2009 Karlovy Vary IFF. This year, Abrahám and writer/producer Tomáš Bojar will try to win over audiences and juries with the uniquely shot, football-inspired Two Nil (Doc Launch 2012, East Silver Caravan 2012). Don't miss our interview with Abrahám + Bojar.

After a special screening at the 2012 Hot Docs and a retrospective in Krakow, Helena Třeštíková brings Private Universe to the major home festival. Like Two Nil, the film has recently been added to the East Silver Caravan.

Timo Novotny landed a sensational win at the 2006 KVIFF when Life in Loops (A Megacities RMX) received the Crystal Globe. His latest documentary essay Trains of Thoughts will have its world premiere at the festival; in 2008 the film attended Ex Oriente Film and East European Forum. In 2011 it made its appearance before international sales agents, distributors and festival programmers at Doc Launch presentation. 

Ilian Metev's Sofia's Last Ambulance kicked off its festival run with an impressively strong showing in Cannes and looks to multiply accolades at KVIFF. Metev's uncomfortably close yet very empathetic look at an ambulance crew in Sofia was presented at the 2011 Doc Launch

Polish Illusions by Jacob Dammas and Helge Renner was involved in all parts of IDF's training & presentation machine. The film was screened at the 2012 Hot Docs; it is included in the East Silver catalogue.


Two Nil

Director: Abrahám Pavel
Production company: Cinema Arsenal, i/o post, HBO Czech Republic

Dva nula , Czech Republic, 100 min, DCP, Creative

One evening, one stadium, one match. Two football clubs, two tribes engaged in a "war". As the match starts, the players run onto the bright green pitch and in the stands, fans seem to have a free reign over the whole arena. Each hotly contested matchup between the Prague-based rivals provides a unique setting that features people of various backgrounds. In all the noise, hollering and loud debates, each fan becomes absorbed in the match in their own special way. Against the backdrop of a big match, countless minor, yet equally interesting, struggles are about to unfold.

Doc Launch 2012 / East Silver 2012


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?

East Silver 2011 / East Silver Caravan 2012


Trains of Thoughts

Director: Novotny Timo
Production company: Orbrock Filmproduktion GmbH

Trains of Thoughts , Austria, 89 min, 35 mm, Anthropology, Arts and Culture, Creative, Experimental, Music, Social Issues, Society, Travel

Trains of Thoughts is an audiovisual essay, which reflects upon and compares metro systems around the world. It is an exploration of a world inside the world as well as feelings, fascination, obsession, fear and themes – of survival, control and silence – that revolve it.

Ex Oriente Film 2008 / East European Forum 2008 / Doc Launch 2011


Sofia's Last Ambulance

Director: Metev Ilian
Production company: Nukleus Film, SIA, Sutor Kolonko

Poslednata lineika na Sofia , Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, 75 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, DVD, Personal View, Portrait, Social Issues, Society

In a city where 13 ambulances struggle to serve a burgeoning population of several million, 47-year old Krassi Yordanov is our unlikely hero: chain-smoking and saving lives in a non-stop 48-hour shift. Krassi is the emergency doctor on one of Sofia’s last ambulances and today is the worst day of his life. This is a film about the regular working day of Dr. Krassi, nurse Mila and driver Plamen, a team working on an ambulance in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Struggling against an avalanche of absurdities in a crumbling medical system and scarcely earning enough to make a living, these three are simply trying to do what they do best – save lives.

East European Forum 2010 / Doc Launch 2011


Polish Illusions

Production company: graniza polska, graniza deutschland, graniza denmark, ARTE G.E.I.E., TVP S.A., Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk

Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, 2012, 85 min, HD, Creative, Society

A multi-plot story about an American pilot who has ‘gone wild East’ in Poland, his young Polish apprentice, and an aging magician fighting for his career. All three men try to find their place in a time of change in small-town Poland.Darłowo is a typical Polish seaside resort, but some of its inhabitants are not typical at all. While Mark, Mike and Jan are struggling to find their place in the town, Darłowo is going through a time of modernization. New ways of tourism have replaced fishing and farming as the main source of income.

Ex Oriente Film 2006 / East European Forum 2006 / Doc Launch 2010 / East Silver 2010 / Ex Oriente Film Babies 2011  


Here's the complete slate of docs in competition (summaries by KVIFF):

Director: Luiz Ferraz, Guilherme Aguilar
Brazil, 2012, 16 min
This skillfully compiled cinematic portrait from a Brazilian filmmaking duo features experienced barbers from São Paulo who initiate us into the mysteries of their traditional craft. Unfortunately, its social dimension and even its very existence are gradually disappearing.

The Bella Vista
Director: Alicia Cano
Uruguay, Germany, 2012, 73 min
This playful movie records the transformation of a soccer clubhouse, formerly used by Uruguay’s provincial Bella Vista team, into a transvestite brothel and, finally, into a Catholic chapel. The characters are reminiscent, on the one hand, of the magical realistic microworld of a Marquez novel and, on the other, of the antiheroes of a TV sports drama.

For You Naked
Director: Sara Broos
Sweden, 2012, 74 min
An untraditional love story about the relationship between one of Scandinavia’s most highly regarded modern painters and a young Brazilian dancer.

Hard to Be God
Director: Pavel Kostomarov, Antoine Cattin
Switzerland, Russia, 2012, 67 min
Kostomarov and Cattin (The Mother at KVIFF 2008) record the ten-year, as yet unfinished, shooting of the new film by Russian director Aleksei German, Sr. based on a novel by the Strugatsky brothers. This is a powerful look at a particular place with its own particular rules, a portrait not only of a renowned and uncompromising creator, but of his country as well.

I'm Leaving on Wednesday
Director: Clara Bodén
Sweden, Norway, 2012, 10 min
This poetic Norwegian movie, combining super 8 and HD images, is a nostalgic look at the romantic relationship of two young girls, and an attempt to discover how such a story remains etched in human memory and how profoundly it affects us.

Director: Jagoda Szelc
Poland, 2011, 14 min
A portrait of nonconformist Polish artist Marcin Harlender, who lives with his wife Grażyna and their four young children in a messy apartment full of creative stimuli that he uses, à la Don Quixote, to fight against the world outside.

The Little Team
Director: Roger Gómez, Dani Resines
Spain, 2011, 10 min
This wittily assembled movie, with music by the likes of Devendra Banhart and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, presents a coed soccer team of seven-year-old enthusiasts whose members, despite constant losses and an inability to shoot a goal, never lose the joy of the game.

Our Days, Absolutely, Have to Be Enlightened
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot
France, 2012, 22 min
The latest picture from Jean-Gabriel Périot, one of the most distinctive figures of short documentary filmmaking, takes us to a prison in Orléans, France, to witness a nontraditional concert performed by the local inmates, whose touching songs may be enjoyed (thanks to loudspeakers) by chance passersby.

Polish Illusions
Director: Jacob Dammas, Helge Renner
Poland, 2012, 82 min
In their lighthearted movie, Jacob Dammas and Helge Renner give us a peek into the lives of a few characters living in the slowly modernizing Polish seaside town of Darłowo. They make use of numerous magical moments of unintentional humor, while their seemingly serious commentary is, in truth, gently ironic.

Private Universe
Director: Helena Třeštíková
Czech Republic, 2012, 83 min
Helena Třeštíková’s latest documentary captures 37 years in the life of the Kettner family. A family diary served as a springboard for the film: husband Petr faithfully jotted down all the joys and tribulations which his “utterly ordinary” Czech family underwent over the course of nearly four decades.

The Queen of Versailles
Director: Lauren Greenfield
USA, 2012, 100 min
An audience hit at this year’s Sundance festival, the movie captures David Siegel’s attempt to build the most lavish family residence in the United States. The influential American billionaire, who lives with his eight kids and wife Jackie (30 years his junior), was hard hit by the financial crisis, and his dream of an American Versailles began to crumble.

Sofia's Last Ambulance
Director: Ilian Metev
Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, 2012, 75 min
In his observational documentary, award-winning director Ilian Metev offers us a highly authentic look at the exhausting and often frustrating work of Sofia’s three-member ambulance crews as they rush to save the lives of people in need in the Bulgarian capital.

A Story for the Modlins
Director: Sergio Oksman
Spain, 2012, 26 min
Sergio Oksman’s brilliantly constructed picture, strengthened by a bewitching atmosphere and assured direction, unfolds the mysterious story of Elmer Modlin and his wife: hidden from the eyes of the world for decades, they artistically played out their bizarre apocalyptic vision in a darkened Madrid apartment.

This Ain't California
Director: Marten Persiel
Germany, 2011, 90 min
A wittily edited movie that makes use of black-and-white animation, a lighthearted retro-soundtrack, and countless archive amateur shots as it takes a closer look at the inception of the skateboarding subculture of 1980s East Berlin.

Trains of Thoughts
Director: Timo Novotny
Austria, 2012, 85 min
The Sofa Surfers’ original soundtrack accompanies the special rhythm of Timo Novotny’s audiovisual essay as it takes us on a journey through the subways of several world cities, discovering what makes them unique. This whimsical movie stands out for its effective interplay of music and image.

Two Nil
Director: Pavel Abrahám
Czech Republic, 2012, 108 min
For director Pavel Abrahám and writer Tomáš Bojar, soccer (specifically a game between Prague’s Sparta and Slavia teams) became “an excuse” for shooting a portrait of contemporary Czech society. The main characters of this humorous movie, rather than the players themselves, are a wide variety of fans who are totally ensconced in the football match.

For more details, please visit KVIFF's website.