Documentary episodes from the life of amateur musicians living in the Czech countryside. The documentary questions whether this phenomenom of folk musicians who carry within them the national tradition is disappearing.
Battle for Life
A fascinating look at the colourful life of a community which in defiance of difficult circumstances lives life to the fullest. The village of Bystré is situated in a former textile region which is currently in deep crisis - unemployment in certain places has reached over 20% and young people are moving elsewhere.
A poetic documentary film about a dream and a sea takes its inspiration from the play of the same name - staged by Divadlo bratří Formanů and Cabaret Theatre Dromesko - and from the works of Russian writer Alexander Grim.
A documentary film about blind children taking photos.
Vierka, Or the Mystery of Family B's Disappearance
This documentary started out as a portrait of a young talented Roma singer but turned into a drama about two different views of "the truth". Coincidence is instrumental at the beginning of the film and the end is shrouded in mystery. Initially, the story describes the encounter between singer Ida Kelarová and a young Roma girl named Vierka Berkyová from Lucenec, Slovakia whose musical talent astonishes everyone who hears her sing. It focuses on her talent and spontaneity, but also deals with the notion of helping those around us. It presents a new step forward in the life of the Berky family, and investigates the idea of mutual coexistence as it explores the desire to create an idyll in which the two families share a home. One day the Berkys suddenly leave Kelarová's home, mysteriously disappearing without a trace. For director and cameraman Miroslav Janek, the documentary thus transformed into a drama pitting against each other two versions of the truth - each one keenly and passionately experienced. It becomes the means of uncovering the hidden, in part unacknowledged, forces that determine one's ideas about the meaning of life and its fulfillment. The viewer never actually finds out the real reasons for this dramatic turn of events and must be satisfied to merely approach the truth of the mystery.
Hamsa, I am
Director Miroslav Janek, author of the internationally acclaimed documentary film "Unseen", shows the meaning of music for blind youths who study at the Jan Deyl music academy and piano tuning school. The film is an intimate dialogue with several students who reveal more about the value of music in their lives. Through these conversations, Janek delves into the private world of the protagonists, uncovering their feelings, thoughts, relationships and desires... Janek explores their complex personal backgrounds both in verbal and musical dialogues, the latter showing their other, often even more intriguing self. The film also records their hobbies and activities that either help them overcome their disability or that force them to simply live with it. Janek captures most of the protagonists during a critical period as they come to realize that they need to seek independence from the safety net provided by the school and their families. They are gradually becoming adults and trained professionals who want to live on par with the rest of society.
A screen adaptation of the puppet theatre performance by the Forman Brothers Theatre.
Miroslav Janek investigates life in a children's home through games. He invites the kids to become his filmmaking partners: he teaches them how to operate a film camera, and encourages them to film the environment in which they live. The director introduces the children to various filmmaking crafts, and thus they are not limited to merely capturing reality. Together they create animation, shoot skits they have created themselves, and experiment with film materials - all the while revealing many things about their lives. In the kids' hands, the camera is a toy, but one which breaks down the walls separating two worlds. It is a tool that enables them to confide their secrets, to cope with powerlessness and unexpected sorrow. "Hi mom, hi Kuba, I'm in the woods and my phone number is 021905. On the way, I saw forest men, homeless people, nymphs, drunks, and a witch who gave us some snakes. We ate the snakes. Then I flew home to where the beginning is. Big animals were at the table worrying about something. Suddenly, I looked up and the social lady was standing at the door, and Uhu flew to the stars, and there was creepy thunder. Then I dissolved completely, like sugar in water. It was pretty impressive. That's what I remember. I won't even mention the car crash."
In the course of 13 years the crew has filmed 45 hours of images and recorded 90 hours of sound material. This truly unique material offers new looks behind the scenes of international politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and also into events in a post-totalitarian country during its transition to democracy. Václav Havel was a key figure in the great changes that took place in central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s - the film material captures his work and influence both in his country and internationally. Among the truly unique events captured on film is Bill Clinton's State visit to the Czech Republic in January 1994, including the private part of the visit, when he went to the Reduta jazz club in Prague. Other events are the historic 2002 NATO Summit in Prague, Václav Havel formulating his position for a statement during the Prague meeting of the International Monetary Fund: "I sympathize with opponents of the IMF, and I'm also anti-establishment, but now I represent the country hosting the meeting"...
Documentary film made from previous footage is a collective reflection of crisis in Czech Television at the end of 2000 and early 2001.
News of Králík and His Guests
A look at the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště.
Suchý Šlitr Road Movie
This feature documentary project by Miroslav Janek - a musical road movie with twenty stops - captures a remarkable event whose protagonists never get to meet in a single place. It is set to take place in Autumn 2009: a total of twenty musicians and bands from all over the country gather in various locations to launch an event with the working title S+Š 2009. Documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Miroslav Janek (Citizen Havel, Crimson Sails, Unseen, etc.) will turn into a chronicler as he travels to small recording studios, homes, theatres, weekend houses (Praha, Brno, Velvary, sudetský Padouchov, etc.) where contemporary musicians meet without an audience to create new renditions of the songs by Suchý and Šlitr.
The Confession of Kateryna K.
Miroslav Janek's documentary provides an intimate statement on the life of singer Kateryna Kolcová-Tlustá. The blind Ukraine native lives, studies and performs in the Czech Republic. She has become one of the most highly-prized local discoveries
thanks in part to her captivating interpretation of Jewish folk songs.
Musical road movie with twenty stops shows a unique project For Semafor. The film was shot in the Autumn of 2009. 23 musicians and bands participated in For Semafor. No matter where it was- home, theater studio, recording studio, town or willage- musicians without auditory tried to find their own way of performing songs of Jiri Suchy and Jiri Slitr.
Andrej Krob on the Move
A collage featuring the highly individual theatre director Andrej Krob, who on his seventieth birthday makes joyous use of free travel on public transport. This man of many professions visits the important places in his life:the Theatre on the Balustrade, the zoo and the former pub in Horní Počernice where, in 1975, he produced Havel's play The Beggar's Opera. During his wanderings, accompanied by photographer Bohdan Holomíček, he meets friends and random travellers. He explains how he sees Beckett's and Havel's absurdity, holds a rehearsal with members of his company and, at his cottage in Hrádeček, reminisces about the garden parties that were held there.
A documentary collage about the progress of one Czech day, composed by 24 directors. Everyone picked one hour, day or night, and received two minutes of the whole film at his or her disposal. This allowed for the mosaic on genres and topics that portrait the atmosphere of the Czech Republic today. At the same time, this unique project presents various filmmaking styles and approaches of the best contemporary Czech documentarians, all on the reel of one film.
The authors accompany teenagers at a discotheque, observe doctors during surgery, laborers in a factory, believers in a synagogue or the descent in a human throat. Olga Špátová records the authentic power of the moment when the child is born. Vít Klusák engages a special camcorder to freeze the time of one tram stop. The flow of time is Helena Třeštíková’s topic – she films Katka taking yet another public bath in a Prague’s fountain. Martin Mareček shows a pair of legs sunk in aquarium, which, backed with a voiceover, illustrates the timeless power of human stupidity. Jiří Krejčík, a significant persona of Czech film, conceived his film hour with a great amount of humor and exaggeration.
Without question, Drahomíra Vihanová is one of the most original and, at the same time, most controversial Czech film directors. A fundamental turning point in her professional career came in 1969 when her debut film, Squandered Sunday (Zabitá neděle), was pulled by the censors and locked away. After a time she was allowed to resume work, at least on documentaries, but she did not return to directing features until after 1990. In his latest film, renowned documentarist Miroslav Janek captures Drahomíra Vihanová primarily at her country house in the Orlické Mountains where, in the company of her beloved cats, she looks back over her life with absolute candidness. Rounded out with artfully integrated clips from her features and documentaries, this is a visually sophisticated portrait of an uncompromising and incredibly hard-working woman, fabulous storyteller, and popular FAMU teacher, whose burning desire to create led her to sacrifice her personal life to the art of film. [KVIFF]
Born 1954 in Nachod, Czech Republic where he wrote, directed and produced nearly forty short films. He also worked as a film editor for the Czechoslovakian Television before immigrating to the United States in 1979. Settling down in Minneapolis, he began working as a freelance film editor and cameraman. In 1981 he began teaching filmmaking at Film in the Cities in St. Paul, MN. During his six years in Minneapolis he also produced and directed a number of independent films sponsored primarily by the local foundations. In 1986 he moved to New York City where he continued his freelance work until 1994.The next two years he spent in Treviso, Italy, collaborating with American director Godfrey Reggio on developing a multimedia project Fabrica. Since 1993 he has shot and directed many documentaries for Czech Television. Currently he resides in Prague. Since 1998 he has been teaching at the documentary department of FAMU (Film Academy in Prague).
*January 3, 1954, Czech documentary director, cinematographer and editor.
From 1969 to 1979, he made almost 40 short films in Czechoslovakia; from 1980 he worked in the United States as an editor and cinematographer. While in the USA, he made approximately ten creative independent films (Visitor, Heroes, Little City in Space, Now I Lay Me). Cooperated with, among others, director Godfrey Reggio on the editing of his famous Qatsi documentary trilogy: Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi, and the short film Anima Mundi. Since 1993, he has worked with Czech TV on hour-long documentaries that have received numerous awards: Sedm deset Nečtiny, Zemský ráj, Nespatřené, Hamsa, já jsem, Previanti, Člověk a jeho pán, Bitva o život, Nachové plachty. Since 1998 - lecturer at FAMU.
1969 - 1979
Almost 40 short non-professional fiction films (director, cinematographer, editor)
Filmography - USA and International
Foreclosure - cinematographer and editor, 1982, 22min - independent short film, director / producer J. Gambone
Finders Keepers - editor, 1982, 30min - independent short film, prod. Film in the Cities
Visitor - director, editor, 1983, 23min - independent short film, director / producer Roger Schmitz
Heroes - director, editor, 1983, 60min - independent documentary film about the play rehearsals by Theatre de la Jeune Lune, a French-American ensemble, prod. Sherry Virsen
Tradition Bearers - editor, 1983, 60min - ethnographic film about a Finnish-American community in Michigan, dir. Michael Loukinen, prod. Northern Michigan University
The Caprices of Marianne - director, cinematographer, editor, 1983, 3min, a promo trailer for a play of the same title, prod. Theatre de la Jeune Lune
St. Cloud Sleep - cinematographer, editor, 1984, 30min - independent short film, dir. and prod. J. Gambone
Little City in Space - director, cinematographer, editor, 1984, 60min - a documentary film about a local radio station in Minneapolis, self-produced
The Fantastic Adventures of the Count of St. Germain - director, cinematographer, editor, 1984, 3min, a promo trailer for a play of the same title, prod. Theatre de la Jeune Lune
U Film Society - director, cinematographer, editor, 1985, 3min - film festival jingle, prod. U Film Society
Four on the Floor - editor, 1985, 10min - music video, dir. S. Smolan, music L. Larsen, prod. Minnesota Opera Company
Valo - cinematographer, producer, 1985, 30min - independent film, dir. T. Janková, prod. MJ
Daytime Moon - editor, 1985, 10min - a dance film with Min Tanaka, dir. S. Smolan, prod. Minnesota Opera Company
Invisible - screenwriter, 1986 - a feature film screenplay, adaptation of Jaroslav Havlíček's novel
Good Man in the Woods - cinematographer, editor, 1986, 86min - a feature documentary film about the life of hunters, fishermen and lumberjacks in Michigan, dir. Michael Loukinen, prod. Northern Michigan University
Powaqqatsi - editor, 1987, 96min - feature documentary film, dir. G. Reggio, music P. Glass, prod. Cannon Groupe
John Huston and the Dubliners - editor, 1987, 60min - documentary film - John Huston directing his last film, The Dead, dir. L. Sievernich, prod. Liffey Films Ltd.
Serrra Pellada - editor, 1987, 7min - music video, music P. Glass, prod. Electra - Nonesuch
K.O. Kippers - director, editor, 1988, 30min - comedy short film, dir. H. Kipper and H. Kipper, prod. HBO/Cinemax
Now I Lay Me - director, screenwriter, 1988, 75min - feature film, prod. Roger Schmitz
Miloš Forman Stories - editing advisor, 1989, 60min - documentary film - Miloš Forman filming Valmont, dir. V. Jasný, prod. Yoram Mandel, PBS, BBC
Old Explorers - editor, 1989, 90min - feature film, dir. B. Pohlad, prod. Taurus Films
Medicine Fiddle - cinematographer, editor, 1990, 82min - a feature documentary film about Native American violinists in the Great Lakes region, dir. M.Loukinen, prod. Northern Michigan University
Anima Mundi - editor, 1991, 30min - a documentary film celebrating biological diversity, dir. G. Reggio, music P. Glass, prod. Studio Equatore, World Wild Fund, Bvlgari
Concierto for la Tierra - editor, 1991, 15min - SHOWSCAN format, made for the 1992 Sevilla Expo, dir. and prod. B. Silleck
The Art of Collaboration - editor, 1992, 80min - a documentry portrait of master printer Ken Tyler who cooperates with leading US artists, dir. S. Schneidman, prod. Seven Hills Prod.
Hockey and Opera - editor, 1992, 35min - five film sketches for a feature documentary film - David Hockney working on the design of several opera performances, dir. S. Schneidman, prod. Seven Hills Prod.
William Kennedy's Albany - editor, 1993, 60min - a documentary film about the novelist and his native town, dir. D. Rogers, prod. PBS
Mexico Boy - editor, 1994, 40min - a documentary film about Mexico, IMAX format, dir. L. Parlee, prod. Children Museum, Mexico City
Evidence - editor, 1995, 10min - documentary film, dir. G. Reggio, music P. Glass, prod. Fabrica, Italy
Cosmic Voyage - editor, 1996, 40min - IMAX film, dir. B. Silleck, prod. National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC.
Badolato – cinematographer, 80min - a documentary film about the Kurdish refugees in Italy, dir. J. Ralske, prod. ARTE and ZDF
Naqoyqatsi - co-editor, 2002, 90min - Life as War, the final film of the Qatsi trilogy, dir. G. Reggio, music P. Glass, prod. L. Taub, IRE and S. Soderbergh, MIRAMAX
Filmography - Czech Republic
Sedum deset nečtiny - director, cinematographer, 1993, 60min - a documentary film about international acting workshops taking place in a renovated Baroque chapel in a West Bohemian village, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
O králíkovi a hostech - director, cinematographer, 1995, 30min - a documentary film about the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Zemský ráj - director, cinematographer, 1996, 20min - a documentary film about the Ostrava region through the eyes of three photographers (Jan Malý, Jiří Poláček, Ivan Luterrer), prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Nespatřené (Unseen) - director, cinematographer, 1996, 35mm, 53min - a documentary film about blind children who took up photography, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Barokní opera (Opera Baroque) - director, 1997, 38min - a film adaptation of the puppet show by Divadlo bratří Formanů, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Poslední Slovan - director, cinematographer, 1997, 24min - a documentary portrait of Antonín Horák, who used to work as a cinematographer in the Zlín film studio, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Kdo je... Jiří Králík - director, cinematographer, 1997, 24min - a documentary portrait of the man in charge of the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště, prod. K. Ondřejková and R. Vlčková, Czech TV Ostrava
Hamsa, já jsem (Hamsa) - director, cinematographer, 1998, 35mm, 58min - a documentary film about blind students at the Jan Deyl Conservatory, prod. Čestmír Kopecký , Czech TV Prague
Previanti (Musicians) - director, cinematographer, 1998, 58min - a documentary film about village musicians, prod. Jarmila Poláková, Nadace film a sociologie, Czech TV Prague
O babičce (On Grandma) - cinematographer, 1999, 30min - a portrait of the century through the eyes of an old lady, documentary film + animation, dir. M. Pavlátová, prod. K. Černá and Czech TV Prague
Člověk a jeho pán - director, cinematographer, 1999, 58min - a documentary film about dogs and people, prod. O. Šrámek, Czech TV Prague
Bitva o život - co-director and co-cinematographer, 2000, 35mm, 88min - documentary film, co-directed with V. Janeček and R. Vávra, prod. R. Němec, VERBASCUM and A.Becková, Czech TV
Nachové plachty (Crimson Sails) - director, cinematographer, 2001, 35mm, 80min - a documentary film inspired by the play of Divadlo bratří Formanů and texts by Alexander Grin, prod. R. Vlčková, R. Němec, VERBASCUM and O. Šrámek, Czech TV Prague
Malování potmě (Painting in the Dark) - cinematographer, 2003, 58min - a documentary film about a blind artist, dir P. Štingl, prod. K2 and L. Poláková, Czech TV Ostrava
Návrat zapadlých vlastenců - cinematographer, 2003, 58min - a documentary film about the locals in Paseky nad Jizerou who are rehearsing a play, dir. P. Štingl, prod. K2 and L. Poláková, Czech TV Ostrava
Romeo a Julie (Romeo and Juliet) - cinematographer, 2003, 10min - a film epilogue for the play of the same title, dir. I. Schenková, prod. Divadlo ANPU
Kráska a zvíře (The Beauty and the Beast) - cinematographer, 2003, cca 20min - an animated sequence for the play of the same title, staged by Divadlo bratří Formanů, dir. P. Forman, prod. Národní divadlo
The Second Memory - cinematographer, 2003, 15min - a film study of a lady from Vinohrady, dir. and prod. Bea de Visser, Netherlands
Mír jejich duši (Peace to Their Souls) - cinematographer, 2004, 115min - feature film, dir. P. Štingl, prod. K2 and Czech TV Prague
Klapzubova jedenáctka - cinematographer, 2005, 5min - a film prologue for the play of the same name, staged by Divadlo bratří Formanů, dir. P. Forman, prod. Divadlo Minor
Největší Čech – Cimrman - cinematographer, 2005, 34min - a portrait of the Czech fictional celebrity, dir. P. Štingl, prod. Czech TV Prague
Bílá labuť Pavla Dostála - cinematographer, 2005, 40min - the minister's last interview with journalist Renata Kalenská, dir. B. Rychlík, prod. Czech TV Prague
Vierka aneb záhada zmizení rodiny B. (Vierka, or, the Mystery of Family B's Disappearance) - director and cinematographer, 2005, 76min - singer Ida Kelarová meets a talented Roma singer and tries to help the whole family, yet conflicts soon follow... Prod. VERBASCUM and Czech TV Prague
Chačipe (Kha-Chee-Pae) - director and cinematographer, 2005, 57min - a documentary film about children who don't have parents, prod. VERBASCUM and Czech TV Prague
Skaut má holá kolena - cinematographer, 2005, 58min - a documentary film about the meeting of two ageing scouts, dir. B.Rychlík, prod. Czech TV and Plum Production
Industriální elegie (Industrial Elegy) - cinematographer, 2006, 75min - a documentary film about the former mining settlements in Ostrava, dir. D. Gébová, prod. R. Vlčková and Czech TV Prague