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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.


Continuing its follow-up support for Ex Oriente Film projects, the Institute of Documentary Film made arrangements with Head of IDFA Industry Office that allow a one-day participation at The FORUM (IDFA, Amsterdam, Nov 23 - 25) for a number of Ex Oriente Film participants.

With the discounted fees paid by IDF, the filmmakers will have a unique opportunity to watch all the action at Europe's largest co-financing market, and to take part in onsite consultations with international experts. The Last Black Sea Pirates and Sir Norman Foster [photo], winner of the EEF IDFA Forum Award, is included in the official pitch sessions.



November 23 - 25, 2009

IDFA - 22nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
November 19 - 29, 2009
Amsterdam, Netherlands 


The Last Black Sea Pirates and Sir Norman Foster is among 29 documentary projects in The FORUM's Central Pitch.
The project received the IDFA Forum Award at this year's East European Forum.




Director: Svetoslav Stoyanov
Co-author: Vanya Rainova
Producer: Anna Stoeva, AGITPROP Ltd.

The last Black Sea pirates live on a far-off beach under the whip and wing of their captain, Jack the Whale. They get by on questionable means in their world heavy with alcohol haze, testosterone and rugged tenderness. At the same time, in a London high-rise, a world-renowned architect sketches a large private marina where the pirates’ lone wooden boat now rests. With strong government backing, it seems that an exclusive green development will span thousands of hectares of what are now protected territories, replacing the pirates’ den. Two diametrically opposite civilizations are about to come head to head, and in their clash will emerge a contemporary story about the choices we make and the treasures we hunt. 



The following directors / producers, participants of Ex Oriente Film 2009, marked in bold will attend The FORUM on Nov 24 / 25.
The projects are listed in alphabetical order by country.





Director: Rozálie Kohoutová
Producer: Martina Knoblochová, FAMU, Hypermarket Film

The film tells the story of Kytlice, a village situated in the former Sudetenland. The German residents were forced to leave after WWII. The communists built a mental clinic here. But the film talks about the present life of the place. The elementary school has just closed down as there are no children in Kytlice. The glass maker Crystalex, the only legacy left after the Germans and a pride of the Czechs, was shut down due to the global economic crisis. Young people are moving to the city, locals are losing their jobs. The director's family has owned a house here since the 1950s, visiting every summer. Yet winters feel very different, as only a few locals and patients of the local mental clinic stay. Through the director's memories and the artwork of Luděk, an artist and a patient at the clinic, the film captures Kytlice in terms of art brut, as a place where nobody feels at home.




Director: Farid Eslam
Producer: Dana Wilson, Mortal Coil Media; Farid Eslam, Mind Riot Media

A documentary about the blooming cultural underground scene in the Middle East aimed to introduce different aspects of Arab culture and lifestyle unknown to most people in the Western World. Throughout the Middle East young artists start to emerge and develop new interesting projects in all different fields of culture (music, fashion, arts, etc). They challenge the differences between modern global youth culture and their traditional Arab culture and try to find a way to combine these differences. They not only have to struggle with certain conservative restrictions of their own society but also with prejudices and misinterpretations in the Western world, which leaves them often with a feeling of isolation and being stuck in the middle.



Forgotten Transports to Poland will be presented at Docs for Sale.


Director: Lukáš Přibyl
Producer: Lukáš Přibyl

Most documentaries about the Holocaust focus on a few notorious camps, with familiar newsreel footage and bald commentary to fill in the historical background. Forgotten Transports, a major series of four 90-minute films, offers something powerfully and challengingly different. It is not just that the tragic events depicted are almost unknown, even to specialist historians. Just as significant is the way they have been recreated. Instead of a detached outsider’s narrative, each film is built from the gripping stories of individual survivors, seen through their own eyes and told entirely in their own words. 





Director: Salome Jashi
Producer: Anna Dziapshipa, Nino Orjonikidze, Sakdoc Film

A three-story brick building in the provincial Georgian town of Chokhatauri houses a diverse mix of people. A Chinese man comes out to hang red lanterns in front of his shop. The dentist upstairs in her clean white room sterilizes her instruments. A refugee couple stares out of another window. But at the center of the building is a restaurant whose walls are bright green and orange and where tables are set waiting for customers who rarely come. The film is centered around three characters – the boss, an active waitress always complaining and another, quiet easily controlled waitress. This building is like a chaotic microcosm, a model of the country, with constant demonstrations and opposition rallies. On the backdrop of political events, somehow, all of life is here. Politics is never too far, affecting the isolated lives of those who live and work in the building.






Director: Gergő Somogyvári
Producer: Sára László, Campfilm Ltd.

Disco Transit is about the friendship of two Palestinian refugees on the borderline to adulthood in a Hungarian refugee camp, framed by their preparations for the Saturday night disco. What does this curious western way of entertainment hold for these young men who arrived from a turbulent region and now live on the verge of Europe? A week lasts from Saturday to Saturday - disco to disco - in the Bicske Refugee Camp for the young refugees who wait for papers and employment opportunities. In the narrow interior of Building 10 of the camp, we observe the two friends as they get ready for the weekly event. During this time, we learn about their personalities, perceptions, goals and lifestyles. How do they cope together and with loneliness, with boredom and passivity? Why is it so important for them to go dancing every Saturday night?






Director: Gints Grube
Producer: Inese Boka, Mistrus Media Ltd.

A film about one of Europe’s best theatre directors, Latvian-born Alvis Hermanis, and his distinctive directing method, marked by the rejection of classic dramatic material and a search for points of contact between theatre, documentary art and life stories. In his work, Hermanis seeks possibilities for transforming life stories into theatre. Working in different European theatres, he encourages his actors to travel and meet with different people, in order to form a collective work—a play—from their stories. This documentary aims to show and record the secret of story creation: how life takes on its true meaning only in the context of a story. Everyone has a story that they believe characterizes their whole life. In order to illustrate the idea, the film will use the work of Alvis Hermanis and his actors as they develop three different performances in Riga, Moscow and Cologne that capture the process of story creation.






Director: Mindaugas Survila
Producer: Giedre Beinoriute, Jurga Gluskiniene, Studio Monoklis

The Field of Magic – that is what the dump people call the Kariotiškės dump. They work here, build houses, interact with friends, cook, celebrate, grieve, have fun. Theirs is a special subculture that has its own traditions, customs, lifestyle and philosophy. On March 15, 2008 the old dumping ground was closed, and no one is allowed to enter the new one that is surrounded by a tall fence of barbed wire. The struggle for survival begins. This is a long-term observation film that captures everyday existence of the dump people and changes in their lives brought about by the shutdown of the dumping ground. The Field of Magic is a docu-poem that portrays a unique vanishing community, speaking of humanity, human dignity and other values that are so rapidly dying in modern society. The shooting started a couple of months before the closing of the area and it is set to continue till the last person leaves the ground.




The Last Day of Summer attended the 2008 Ex Oriente Film workshop.


Director: Piotr Stasik
Producer: Jacek Naglowski, Centrala

The film will tell a story about the end of childhood and entering adulthood. In Russia there are a few hundreds of cadet schools. These are schools which apart from educating young people in a regular way, prepare them to become soldiers. Boys and girls get to this kind of schools at the age of seven. The film will look at one day of life of a cadet from the cadet school No. 70 in Penza – a city inhabited by 500 thousand people, located 600 km from Moscow. This will be unusual portrait consisting of twenty different life-sketches. We want to shoot an ordinary day of about 20 cadets from different age groups (from 7 to 17 years old). We will choose the most interesting moments from our characters’ lives and arrange them by age – so that we could see the character “growing” in front of our eyes. We will observe the change of his: needs, approach to the world, way of communicating with the surrounding, problems, fears, joys and dreams. From the 20 different days we will create the one ideal and the most condensed day of a cadet’s life.





Director: Laura Capatana Juller
Producer: Alexandru Solomon, Hifilm Productions

In Romania nearly 350,000 children of migrant workers have been living separated from their parents for years. Most of them grow up with relatives, some in shelters, others all by themselves. They suffer severe emotional poverty. Lonesome Springtime sheds a different light on the phenomenon of migration. Over 3 million Romanians have left to work abroad since the country joined the EU. It shows the consequences of migration and globalization on adolescents. The protagonists of Lonesome Springtime are from the Romanian county of Maramuresh where the migration rate is very high. Approximately one half of the teenagers at the local school are left behind by their parents. Though the teens get a lot of modern clothes, money and cell phones, they get to see their parents only during the holidays.






Director: Vuk Maksimovič & Lena Müller
Author: Dragan Petrović
Producer: Lena Müller, von.mü

Once he was King, now he is invisible. In the 1970s and 80s, Dragan Wende had money, girls, champagne, drugs – and a Yugoslav passport. While orchestrating West-Berlin’s buzzing nightlife, he could deal and smuggle across the Berlin Wall. But 20 years after its fall, for Dragan this Wall is now higher than ever. In this documentary, Dragan’s nephew Vuk, a young Slovako-Serbian filmmaker, sets out to film his legendary uncle and tell an underground family tale in a still-divided city. He discovers and confronts his uncle's bizarre and tragicomic world of veteran Yugo-immigrants, fallen millionaires, thieves and hookers. Exploring a time-capsuled West Berlin beamed straight from the 1980s, Vuk is both fascinated and repulsed by this microcosm of underdogs. But will he inevitably get sucked into Dragan Wende's grotesque universe? And will Dragan's own Iron Curtains finally be lifted again?



Hana Rezková
Project Follow-up, Institute of Documentary Film