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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.


From Saturday, March 14 to Sunday, March 22, will present documentary films nominated and awarded at the Czech Lion Awards! The complete set of the three documentaries awarded retrospectively at the Czech Lion competition (Czech Dream, Marcela, and The Power of Good – Sir Nicholas Winton) and the three documentary films nominated for 2008 (The Baluty Ghetto, Citizen Havel, and René) will be available free of charge. As a bonus, you can also stream The Beauty Exchange by Erika Hníková during this week.
March 14 - 22, 2009



Czech Film and Television Academy special award for 3 best documentary films made from 1993 - 2007


Czech Republic 2004, 95 min

Director: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
Production company: Hypermarket Film / Česká televize, FAMU, Cinemasound, Studio Mirage

Prague, Czech Republic, 31 May, 2003, a few minutes before 10a.m.; there are more than 3000 people jostling on a remote parking place. Many of them are clutching plastic bags in their hands; some of them are armed with trolley. Assistants are handing out plastic cups and the host on the lit stage urges people to have a drink from the nearby water tanker. The "hyper-anthem" of Czech Dream rings out once again from the speakers: "Try to see as a child, many things will seem wild..." Suddenly the managers of the hypermarket rush out on stage, greet their customers and briskly cut the glittering ribbon. Guards remove the metal barriers and the crowd starts moving. They still have 300 metres to reach the hypermarket. People start running... A moment later, the fastest of them are struck dumb: the hypermarket that they have reached is nothing but a huge film decoration... The documentary hyper-comedy Czech Dream is a feature film about a hypermarket that never existed.




Czech Republic 2007, 82 min

Director: Helena Třeštíková
Production company: Negativ s.r.o., Česká televize

The extraordinary life of an ordinary woman. The fifth part of a series entitled "Marriage Stories" featured Marcela, whose story started in 1980 at the Prague town hall. Still in black and white, the film follows events over a period of six years. In 1999 we re-enter her life, but shooting has to be interrupted after her daughter Ivana is hit by a train. Four months later, shooting resumes. The audience, moved by her difficult life, decided to help the despairing mother. The film captures the events of the past year.





Czech Republic 2002, 64 min

Director: Matej Mináč
Production company: W.I.P. s.r.o. / České televize, Trigon Production s.r.o. (SR)

In 1939, Nicholas Winton, at the time a young English stockbroker, personally saved the lives of 669 children, mostly Jews, from the Nazi-held Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Today, there are over 5,000 descendants of the "Winton Children." Combining rare archive footage and interviews with the jovial 93-year-old Winton and several others, including Václav Havel and Simon Weisenthal, the film celebrates Winton's courage and determination to confront evil on a personal level and serves as an inspiring testimony to the power of good.




Czech Lion Awards 2008 - Nominations: Best Documentary Film


Czech Republic 2007, 58 min

Director: Pavel Šting
Producer: Ondřej Zima, Pavel Štingl - K2 s.r.o., Yeti Films Sp. z o.o., Evolution Films s.r.o.
Script: Pavel Štingl
Cinematography: Miroslav Janek
Editor: Tonička Janková
Sound: Michael Míček, Daniel Němec
Financial Support: Státní fond ČR pro podporu a rozvoj české kinematografie, Polský filmový institut 
Support: Archive of Modern Conflict/Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Distributor: K2 s.r.o.

New inhabitants live today in the same flats, houses and streets that many years ago saw Jewish citizens fight for their everyday survival. Before WWII, Baluty was a feared neighbourhood filled with thieves. Following the occupation of Poland, a Jewish ghetto was established here by the Nazis, in which 200,000 Jews awaited their death, including Jewish prisoners from five Czech transports arriving in Lodz from Autumn 1941. The lifestyle of today's inhabitants of this working-class part of the industrial city of Lodz is affected by poverty, alcoholism and unemployment. Baluty of the past and present have a lot in common. Images capturing the afflicted area at various time periods are accompanied by interviews with former and current inhabitants as well as unique photographs by Henryk Ross depicting times long gone. During one of their trips to Lodz, director Pavel Štingl and cinematographer Miroslav Janek met photographer Karel Cudlín. In the course of the shoot, Cudlín made a collection of photographs that is exhibited along with the film. The film screenings and photography exhibit represent a unique project in which Cudlín's contemporary photographs provide a counterpoint to the war photos made by Henryk Ross that were used in the film itself.




Czech Republic 2008, 90 min, 35mm

Director: Helena Třeštíková
Cinematography: Martin Kubala, Petr Pešek, Stano Slušný, Marek Dvořák, Ondřej Belica, Václav Smolík, Miroslav Souček, Vlastimil Hamerník   
Sound: Vladimír Nahodil, Pavel Sádek, Jan Valouch, Václav Hejduk, Miroslav Šimčík    
Editor: Jakub Hejna    
Script Editor: Michael Třeštík, Jan Gogola ml., Martin Štoll     
Music: Tadeáš Věrčák   
Producer: Pavel Strnad, Negativ s.r.o.

This raw authentic documentary film tells the story of René whose life was being captured on camera since he was seventeen. The camera followed his hopeless journey between prison and brief periods outside the prison walls. In 2008 the film comes to an end, leaving the now 37-year-old René as a sick man who still gets in trouble with the law and who is also the author of two published books. Director Helena Třeštíková records René's personal developments against the backdrop of significant political transformations taking place in Central Europe. René's story begins in prison under socialist posters, continues through the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 and gets a seemingly happy conclusion with the amnesty decree issued by President Václav Havel. Yet René soon heads back to prison and also celebrated our EU accession from behind the bars. During the years spent in prison - sentenced mainly for theft - René had his whole body covered in tattoos, escaped from prison only to be soon recaptured, burgled the director's home, was involved in a couple of romantic relationships, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as well as a high IQ. René displays his outlook on life by flashing his "Fuck of People" tattoo on his neck.    



Czech Lion Awards 2008 - Winner: Best Documentary Film


Czech Republic 1994-2007, 119'   
Director: Pavel Koutecký
Director: Miroslav Janek 
Production company: Film & Sociologie s.r.o.   
Director of Photography: Stano Slušný 
Editor: Tonička Janková
Synchronization: Martin Steklý
Executive Producer: Jan Krása
Co-producer:  David Dušek
Co-production: Negativ, Pavel Strnad 
Producer: Jarmila Poláková
Consultant: Vladimír Hanzel
Co-production: FTV, David Dušek, Negativ, Pavel Strnad, Michael Wolkowitz 

Citizen Havel features a unique mix of official and behind-the-scenes footage, focusing on Havel's political as well as private life. The audiences will get a glimpse of his tension during the first presidential election or his difficulties while practicing a speech. They will also see him recite poetry or pour a shot of Becherovka for Miloš Zeman. The camera does not turn away from Havel even as he gets angry and starts swearing over badly tailored shirts. The film will also solve some of the most persistent and mind-boggling mysteries in Czech politics: How did Václav Klaus manage to get into the jazz club? Who seated Jacques Chirac next to the first lady? Just as in his private life, both Havel's wives, Olga and Dagmar, play an important part in the film that will also show some of his friends, a number of international and Czech politicians or the Rolling Stones.




Bonus Film: Czech Lion Awards 2008 - Shortlist of 12 documentary nominees


2004, 77 min
Director: Erika Hníková
Production company: Endorfilm / Studio Mirage, FAMU

The perfect female body is a big issue in today's world. This feature documentary is about the media constructing the ideal of female beauty, about women who create the ideal and those who submit to it.





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