DOKweb Content is a portal dedicated to East European documentary film. The news section provides up-to-date information on upcoming and just completed films, interviews with filmmakers and other documentary professionals, in-depth articles exploring the state of documentary filmmaking in various parts of the region, as well as insightful texts on current trends, funding, etc. The portal also boasts the largest published databases of completed and upcoming documentary films from Eastern Europe, an industry directory, as well as trailers and original video content. is IDF´s key online project that provides comprehensive details on all IDF´s activities and links them with general information service.
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.


The documentary competition at the 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July 4 - 12) will offer 16 films (both under and over 30 minutes long) from around the world. The selection includes films by directors who in the past attended the East European Forum or who presented their documentary project in development at Docu Talents from the East, a panel of upcoming East European documentaries. [photo: Blind Loves, dir. Juraj Lehotský]


43rd Karlovy Vary IFF / July 4 - 12, 2008
The Karlovy Vary IFF presents over 220 feature films from all over the world every year. Apart from the films in the special retrospectives, most of the films are screened in the Czech Republic each year for the first time, many of them in their world, international or European premiere as well. This year again, the audience will have chance to see interesting retrospectives and focuses apart from the traditional program sections.

Documentary Films in Competition
An internationally recognized festival competition divided into two parts - films under and over 30 minutes long. The theme of the documentaries in competition focus on the relationship between the individual and the world around him, inter-personal relationships and serious social issues.


BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* | Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
USA, 2007, 105 min

Director: Christopher Bell
Screenplay: Christopher Bell, Alex Buono, Tamsin Rawady
Dir. of Photography: Alex Buono
Music: Dave Porter
Editor: Brian Singbiel
Producer: Alex Buono, Tamsin Rawady, Jim Czarnecki
Production: BSF FILM
Sales: Magnolia Pictures

“Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser” goes the quote used in this dynamic documentary glance at a society that naively prides itself on superlatives. Using the example of his own family, whose members succumb to the fleeting magic of steroids in the hopes of looking like Rambo or Conan, the director congenially illustrates the pitfalls behind the philosophy of “victory at all cost”.


BLIND LOVES | Slepé lásky
Slovak Republic, 2008, 77 min

Director: Juraj Lehotský
Screenplay: Juraj Lehotský, Marek Leščák
Dir. of Photography: Juraj Chlpík
Editor: František Krähenbiel
Producer: Marko Škop, Ján Meliš, František Krähenbiel, Juraj Chlpík, Juraj Lehotský
Production: Artileria
Sales: Autlook Filmsales

Juraj Lehotský and Marko Škop developed the film during  Ex Oriente Film 2006, under the working title "Searching".

A film about the different forms of love experienced by the sight-impaired, compiled from four stories which illustrate just how rich the world is for people like them. A world which is very often much brighter and more colourful than our own.


THE BUG TRAINER | Vabzdžių dresuotojas
Lithuania, Poland, Japan, Germany, 2008, 53 min

Director: Donatas Ulvydas, Linas Augutis, Marek Skrobecki
Dir. of Photography: Ramūnas Greičius
Music: Linas Rimša
Editor: Audrius Naujalis
Producer: Rasa Miskinyte
Production, Sales: Era Film

For celebrated American animators the Quay brothers, Moscow native of Polish descent Ladislas Starewitch (1882–1965) is a film alchemist; for other specialists who appear in this playful and deftly edited profile, he is a film pioneer who, at the dawn of animation, invented all his special effects himself.


BYE BYE SHANGHAI | Bye Bye Shanghai
Czech Republic, Argentina, 2008, 114 min

Director, screenplay: Jana Boková
Dir. of Photography: Jiří Zykmund
Music: Péťa Korman Novák
Editor: Jan Daňhel
Producer: Jiří Konečný
Production: endorfilm

Bye Bye Shanghai was featured at the 2007 Docu Talents from the East under the working title Exotic Home Prague.

This highly personal film by Jana Boková, examining the lives of several Czech emigrés such as philosopher Václav Bělohradský, songwriter Vlasta Třešňák, poet Petr Král, and also the director herself, reflects upon the various aspects of emigration and reaches the conclusion that, once a person has been uprooted, he can never cultivate his native roots again.



COSMIC STATION | Cosmic Station
Germany, 2008, 30 min

Director: Bettina Timm
Screenplay: Bettina Timm
Dir. of Photography: Alexander Riedel
Music: Daniel Kluge
Editor: Bettina Timm
Producer: Bettina Timm, Alexander Riedel
Production: Pelle Film

In a masterful composition of shots, the director offers an intimate portrait of a dilapidated cosmic ray research station located on the top of Mount Aragaz in Armenia, and its staff of six, living here in total isolation from the outside world.


CYANOSIS | Sianoze
Iran, 2007, 30 min

Director: Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami
Dir. of Photography: Mohammad Behnamzade
Editor: Mehdi Ganji
Producer: Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami

A portrait of Iranian artist Jamshid Aminfar who isn’t afraid to go out onto the streets of Teheran to exhibit and sell his work; and this is also where he creates his distinctive paintings reminiscent of canvases by Keith Harring or the gloomy images of Edvard Munch. Almost a third of the film is taken up with eye-catching animation, bringing to life the demonic figures from Aminfar’s paintings.



Denmark, 2008, 75 min

Director: Mikala Krogh
Screenplay: Mikala Krogh, Mogens Rukov
Dir. of Photography: Manuel Alberto Claro
Music: Joachim Holbek
Editor: Theis Schmidt
Producer: Christian Rank
Production, Sales: Tju-Bang Film

The makers of this film collected some fascinating material on their travels through Denmark, Mozambique, Japan, Thailand and the USA, which they used to compose a sensitive documentary piece about universal human qualities and their dependence on the given living conditions.



HEROES, WINGS ARE NOT NECESSARY TO FLY | Héroes, no hacen falta alas para volar
Spain, 2007, 25 min

Director: Ángel Loza
Dir. of Photography: Juan Landa
Editor: Xavi Cano, Ángel Loza
Producer: Jorge Sánchez Gallo, José Albertos, Ángel Loza
Production, Sales: Ángel Loza

Pascal Kleiman was born without arms, and is one of today's most sought-after disc jockeys in spite of it. Ángel Loza tells the amazing life story of a man who succeeded in fulfilling his dreams in defiance of a restrictive handicap. The film, which features a brilliant musical accompaniment, is also narrated in part by Kleiman’s friends and colleagues, Laurent Garnier and Rob.



JUST LIKE HEAVEN | Jak w niebie
Poland, 2008, 25 min

Director, screenplay: Filip Marczewski
Dir. of Photography: Szymon Lenkowski
Music: Maciej Mulawa
Editor: Wojciech Jagiełło, Rafal Listopad
Producer: Beata Gzik
Production, Sales: Polish National Filmschool Lodz

A poetic portrait of a young Dutch-Polish couple who decide to live without the trappings of civilisation in a God-forsaken corner of northern Poland.



THE LADIES | The Ladies
USA, 2007, 13 min

Director, screenplay: Christina A. Voros
Dir. of Photography: Christina A. Voros
Music: Iren Lovasz, Laszlo Hortobagy
Editor: Christina A. Voros
Producer: Christina A. Voros, Sergei Krasikau
Production, Sales: Migrant Turtle Films

Shot with an extraordinary sense for detail, this film takes us on a visit to see two old Hungarian sisters who emigrated to America years ago to earn their living as dressmakers.


LOST WORLD | Letűnt világ
Hungary, Finland, 2008, 20 min

Director: Gyula Nemes
Dir. of Photography: Balázs Dobóczi
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven, Dunakeszi Railway Band
Editor: Martin Blažíček
Producer: Gyula Nemes, Sari Volanen
Production: Absolut Film Studio
Sales: Magyar Filmunió

In his latest film, young Hungarian director Gyula Nemes follows on from his previous visual study The Dike of Transience with a film of related theme and form. Again in raw black-and-white images, we encounter the distinctive figures inhabiting the houseboats close to Budapest’s Kopaszi dam.



MAN ON WIRE | Man on Wire
United Kingdom, 2007, 94 min

Director: James Marsh
Dir. of Photography: Igor Martinovic
Music: Michael Nyman
Editor: Jinx Godfrey
Producer: Simon Chinn
Production: Wall to Wall Productions
Sales: The Works International 

A stunning reconstruction of the “artistic crime of the century”: on 7 August 1974 Frenchman Philippe Petit attempted illegally to step across a steel wire suspended between New York’s twin towers, at the time the highest buildings in the world.


THE MOTHER | La mère
Switzerland, France, Russia, 2007, 80 min

Director: Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov
Screenplay: Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov
Dir. of Photography: Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov
Music: Thierry Van Osselet, Alexander J.S. Craker
Editor: Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov
Producer: Elena Hill
Production, Sales: Les Films Hors-Champ

The main character in this film is Lyuba, who flees with her nine children to the countryside to escape from a violent husband. This remarkable record of the dramatic and intimate moments in Lyuba’s life at the same time offers a highly authentic look at the bleak reality of today’s Russia.



RAIN OF THE CHILDREN | Rain of the Children
New Zealand, 2007, 101 min

Director: Vincent Ward
Screenplay: Vincent Ward
Dir. of Photography: Leon Narbey, Adam Clark
Music: John Gibson, Jack Body
Editor: Chris Plummer
Producer: Vincent Ward, Marg Slater, Tainui Stephens
Production: Forward Films
Sales: New Zealand Film

Set against the compelling reconstruction of the chequered history of the Maori woman Puhi, using a series of inspired acted sequences, well-known New Zealand director Vincent Ward describes the challenges facing the original inhabitants of New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century.


RENÉ | René
Czech Republic, 2008, 90 min

Director: Helena Třeštíková
Screenplay: Helena Třeštíková
Dir. of Photography: M. Kubala, P. Pešek, S. Slušný, M. Dvořák, O. Belica, M. Souček, V. Hamerník
Music: Tadeáš Věrčák
Editor: Jakub Hejna
Producer: Kateřina Černá, Pavel Strnad
Production: Negativ s.r.o.
Sales: Taskovski Films Ltd.

The main protagonist in another of Helena Třeštíková’s long-term documentaries is the die-hard criminal and imaginative writer René Plášil. With raw authenticity, the director records the luckless fate of René over a period of twenty years as he yo-yos between prison and freedom.



TODAY, THE SAME DAY IS DIFFERENT | Hoy el día se repite diferente
Spain, 2007, 102 min

Director, screenplay: Xavier Baig, Òscar Moreno
Dir. of Photography: Xavier Baig
Music: Micka Luna
Editor: Xavier Baig, Òscar Moreno
Producer: Xavier Baig, Òscar Moreno
Production: Rec videoproduccions
Sales: Stromboli Entertainment

In this formally diverse, at times visually stunning portrait, immersed in an excellent soundtrack by Micka Luna, we glimpse into the inner world of Toni, a highly intelligent, well-travelled drug addict with a unique life philosophy. A 49-year-old man who, after 30 years on heroin, only has six months left to live.





Section: East of the West - Films in Competition

BAHRTALO! (GOOD LUCK!) | Bahrtalo! (Jó szerencsét!)
Hungary, Austria, Germany, 2008, 80 min

Director, Screenplay: Róbert Lakatos
Dir. of Photography: György Réder
Music: Szászcsávás Band
Editor: Ágnes Mógor, Ferenc Szabó
Producer: András Muhi
Production: Inforg Studio
Sales: Taskovski Films Ltd.

In 2005, the film attended the East European Forum; in 2006, it was presented at Docu Talents from the East.

An original fiction documentary about a pair of Hungarian Borats on a trip across Europe. Lali, a moustached gypsy, and a bald gadzo named Lori come from Transylvania and are friends to the end. A film full of sheer Eastern European poetry effectively portraying the clash between the spontaneous East and the more reserved West. 




Section: Documentary Films - Out of Competition

1968 – BETRAYAL | Rok 68 – Zrada
Czech Republic, 2008, 52 min
Director: Viktor Polesný
The second part of this evocative series devoted to the Prague Spring charts the fundamental events that occurred after the August invasion in the years 1968 and 1969. After hope was steamrolled by Soviet tanks, the betrayed country once again began living in an atmosphere of fear, mistrust, lies and the hypocrisy that came with the destruction of the human character.

1968 – HOPE | Rok 68 – Naděje
Czech Republic, 2008, 52 min
Director: Viktor Polesný
This first part of Viktor Polesný’s documentary series returns to the Prague Spring of 1968. The film, which is pieced together solely from period footage without commentary, chronologically recalls the key moments of the processes of democratisation and revitalisation that were stifled by the August invasion by the five Warsaw Pact armies.

BACK TO THE FATHERLAND | Návrat do vlasti / Heim nach Böhmen
Czech Republic, Netherlands, Germany, 2008, 57 min
Director: Václav Reischl
The main characters in this film are a baker from Schwabach, a Servite Friar and the descendant of a general who fought against the Czech estates at the Battle of White Mountain. In their recollections and opinions, all of them offer a fascinating excursion into the past and present of Czech-German relations, taken from a somewhat different perspective.

HISTORY OF JAROSLAV ŠABATA | Dějiny Jaroslava Šabaty
Czech Republic, 2007, 78 min
Director: Vít Janeček
A portrait of philosopher and political scientist Jaroslav Šabata made on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The leftist intellectual casts his mind back with candour on key moments of his life spanning the country’s post-war history: the Prague Spring, his imprisonment, Charter 77, the split in the Civic Forum in Brno and the break-up of Czechoslovakia.

THE IMMORTAL BALLADEER OF PRAGUE | Písničkář, který nezemřel
Czech Republic, USA, 2008, 62 min
Director: Marek Jícha, Josef Lustig
This Czech-American documentary describes a mission undertaken by US citizen Thomas Hasler, who discovers in a letter left by his late mother that he is the illegitimate son of well-known Czech singer-songwriter and actor Karel Hašler.

MARTIN FRIČ, A CLASSIC OF CZECH FILM | Martin Frič, klasik českého filmu
Czech Republic, 2008, 53 min
Director: Zdeněk Zelenka
A biopic created to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the most popular and most refined of Czech directors. In addition to clips from his film scores, the filmmakers also point to the historical events that influenced his work and private life – a life he, himself, ended upon the arrival of the Soviet tanks in August of 1968.

THEM, US AND SKITSKOJ (A DIALOGUE IN THE EDITING ROOM) | Oni, my a Skitskoj (Dialog ve střižně)
Czech Republic, 2008, 52 min
Director: Zdeněk N. Bričkovský
The island of Skitskoj lies in the north of European Russia. In the impermeable taiga on the river Pizhma lives a community of Old Believers hidden from civilisation and the changing outside world. This documentary about isolation, prejudice and building “bridges” to bring people together, captures the developing relationship between the Old Believers and the filmmakers.

WELL-PAID STROLL 2007 | Dobře placená procházka '07
Czech Republic, 2007, 52 min
Director: Olga Špátová
This documentary details the preparations for the new production of a jazz opera by Jiří Šlitr and Jiří Suchý, held in the spring of 2007. The original performance premiered in 1965 in the Semafor theatre and was made into a television film a year later. One of the films director’s, Miloš Forman, directed a new production of the opera at the National Theatre, forty years on.



Karlovy Vary IFF