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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.

Klusák Vít

The Motherland and Burian
Tragic dimensions of humour - the Vlasta Burian Society organized the transportation of Vlasta Burian's and his wife's remains from the Vinohrady cemetery to Vyšehrad.

Czech Dream
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. An original, cheeky treatise on capitalism, with more than a whiff of exploitation, “Czech Dream” follows two film students who used a state grant to promote the opening of an entirely fictitious bigbox mega-market in a Prague field. The resulting scandal, alternately hilarious and discomforting, illuminates the waking nightmare of cosumerism in a country still adjusting to the strenghts and pitfalls of the concept. -- Eddie Cockrell, Variety

The film was to present a portrait of the filmmaker's father, musician Emil Viklický, but he decided not to take part in the film, so the portrait was made without the portrayed. FAMU, Department of Documentary Film (2nd year)

Her Mistress's Everything
The artist Kateřina Šedá, winner of the Jindřich Chalupecký Prize, often focuses on happenings that have a social theme and have the objective of ridding participants of their stereotypes, and many of her projects relate to her own family. This is evident also in this film, which looks at the situation after the death of the grandmother, whose dog survives her and begins to pine for her so much that the family decide to keep the dog in the flat and attempt together to maintain the daily regime of the dog's deceased mistress.

Merry Christmas, Bosnia!
The war report on a Christmas concert of local pop stars for Bosnian soldiers begins with a press conference, where the celebrities talk about landmines. The report was shot in 2001 by the directors Klusak and Remunda, who later dusted it off to remember the bizarre tour of singers (one airplane) and journalists (two other airplanes) to the Czech army unit, during which they were, thanks to the kindness of the military headquarters, shown the arms and the fighting strategies and given information about the sponsors.

All for the Good of the World and Nosovice
An original portrait of a Czech village that houses a giant car plant built by South Korea's Hyundai. Before the village turned into an industrial zone, many of the landowners had no intention of selling their plots of land... Not until many of them faced pressure from their neighbours who had accepted approx. EUR 4000 in compensation and not until they received death threats. Using nine protagonists, the film paints a portrait of a village changed beyond recognition. A humorous yet compelling film about a field that yields cars.

Film Situation
A film on the shooting of the film Situation of the Street or the Czech Sea in Eighteen Tidal Waves (dir. Jan Gogola jr., 2003). FAMU, Department of the Documentary Film (4th year)

This report is a reconstruction of actual events which took place in November 1998 in Prague. - Department of documentary film, FAMU - 1st year.

Petra Edelmannova
A cycle of documentaries about women, the Czech song-writer and writer Jan Burian meets a great variety of personalities, conducting dialogues with them in an effort to really get beneath their skin. In this particular film we meet Petra Edelmannová, the head of the far-right National Party. While she has a doctorate in political science and banking analysis, she does not hide her racist views behind slogans about patriotism. The camera follows her on a day-trip outside Prague with two guests, the leaders of national democratic parties in the UK and Sweden. It also records a National Party gathering on Wenceslas Square and an expedition by the group to an area of the town of Litvínov where many of the residents are Roma. Burian pushes his protagonist to explain what the "final solution of the gypsy question" suggested in the party's manifesto actually means. This documentary captures the aggressive rhetoric of Czech nationalists led by a chairwoman who uses sophisticated and therefore more dangerously populist tactics to raise her group's profile among the electorate. At a time when the Czech government is considering banning the National Party, this film represents a valuable contribution to the debate.

Czech Peace
The story of the Star Wars, the Cold War and the War On Terror of one small Czech village. As part of its National Missile Defense Program, the US plan to build a military base in the Czech Republic, a former hiding place for Soviet nuclear rockets during the Cold War. Despite the fact that 73% of Czechs are against the project, the government has continued with negotiations. Supporters of the base claim that it will strengthen the country's defense against the global threats of the 21st century. Opponents point out that the plan essentially shifts the Iron Curtain toward the east; they also insist that it represents an attempt of the US to rule the world.

Kytlice, Zimmer Frei
Kytlice, Zimmer Frei explores the absurd history of Central Europe through the little village of Kytlice in former Sudetenland, situated on the Northern border of the Czech Republic. The film introduces Luděk Farkáš, a naive artist and patient of the local mental clinic, and the film director Rozálie Kohoutová, whose family has bought one of the cottages left after the displaced Germans in the 1950s. The disparate duo of Rozálie and Luděk try to understand the absurdity of nationalism that has left its mark in the region.

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.

Copper Age
A documentary exploration set in Zambia which, despite being one of the largest exporters of copper in the world, is increasingly more dependent on international aid. Having privatized the copper mines, Zambia no longer has earnings from copper export.

Big as Brno
An annual march by neo-Nazis took place in Brno on May 1, 2011. In response, an informal group named BRNO Blokuje (Brno Blocks) was formed, uniting people with the common aim of preventing the march in a non-violent manner. Documentary filmmaker Vít Klusák and six of his students from Prague’s FAMU film school shot various aspects of events that day. Klusák focused on a TV reporter for whom “no conflict means no report”. Jan Strejcovský filmed the neo-Nazis while Kristýna Bartošová followed the Brno Blocks group. Robin Kvapil’s contribution highlights an extremely xenophobic letter received by the head of the city’s Museum of Romani Culture. Lukáš Senft turned his camera on the police; Natálie Císařovská shot May Day political rallies held by other parties; and Andran Abramjan filmed animals at the city’s zoo.

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.

Spříznění přímou volbou
A feature documentary film about Václav Klaus and his last year in office. The film is also about the search for a new president and the story of a bus driver who stood up to political elite. A probe into Czech choice in all senses of the word.

The Prison of Art
This feature documentary follows a unique art project that connects Czech prisoners and artists. The Prison of Art traces the border between freedom and the absence thereof, and looks at the role art plays in our society. A film about freedom and about how ones environment forms ones view of the world. A film about art and its possibilities. A film about trends, fads and the limits of grant-funded projects.

Czech Journal
A five-part series of socially critical, truly “public service” documentaries made over the course of one year. Each film deals with a compelling social issue and its broader context. Each topic is tackled without bias, presumptions and without sentimentality. Rather than to scare or move the viewer, this thought-provoking series wants to stir up debate on stereotypes in our approach to reality. Topics will include current events that are in the headlines, e.g., racism, corruption, organized crime, civic initiatives, public institutions, lobbying and other important events related to politics, sports or culture.

Free Smetana
This film by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda documents the much-covered case of Olomouc bus driver Roman Smetana, who received a jail term for drawing antennae on election posters but at first refused to serve his sentence. The prank of a civic activist frustrated by the Czech Republic’s political situation is regarded by the majority of actors in the documentary as a legitimate expression of his opinion and a distinct form of protest. Many regard Smetana’s case as an absurd farce that, in the eyes of the public, mainly discredits the country’s government and judiciary. In fact, none of the politicians in the film – who hide behind the usual phrases – question the legitimacy of his protest. Not only do the documentary’s makers record the story of the “antennae driver”, they become engaged in it, their observations pointing out the shortcomings in the workings of the Czech legal system and judicial mechanisms. The film was created as part of the Czech Journal TV series of five documentaries capturing important events in the Czech Republic in 2012 and those involved.

The Gospel According to Brabenec
This documentary is based on the book The Gospel according to Brabenec. Everything written in this book can be useful for the film. Important things has been said, but the most important things haven't been said yet. For example, the leader of Plastic people of the Universe is not made for this time. He is a man, who refuses to change himself to go with the flow, he doesn't visit shopping malls, doesn't use the computer and doesn't stand in the queues. He lives in his own way, which means many people see him as a vagabond, drunkard, somebody not worth their time. Youngsters throw eggs at him in the streets. Vráťa Brabenec is a legend, but nobody cares for legends of underground these times. Brabenec is not worried about this, he worries about the time we live in. He doesn't need money and medals, but he is sick of former prominents who are better off now than during the totalitarianism. And nobody even cares. Because shops are still full of people.

The Good Driver Smetana
Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda’s feature-length documentary about Olomouc bus driver Roman Smetana, who took on injustice, corruption, and Czech politics’ bad taste armed with a permanent marker. On election posters, Smetana drew antennae on politicians’ heads and wrote that they were liars, thieves, and corruptionists. One of his colleagues turned him in. The judge who tried him was the wife of one of the defaced politicians. After all, he damaged private property! Smetana paid his 15,000-crown fine, but refused to do community service. There is nothing to reform, he said before the court. He got 100 days of hard time. President Klaus refused to pardon him. The filmmakers could not just film his story - they bought spray paint and headed out into the streets. A film about the conflict between law and justice. Does freedom of speech trump property damage? Does there come a point when we must go against social norms? Can a bus driver debate a prime minister?

Naked Nation
„The reason why Czech tourists climb Biokovo Mountains in flip-flops or face inevitable death when sailing the open sea on pedal boats isn’t because they are high on ecstasy. The true reason is that unlike Croatians, Czechs still live the adventurous spirit of animated films, which we all grew up on. Even as adults Czechs still keep the unflagging optimism of animated film characters like Pat and Mat and enjoy life the same as Bolek and Lolek. Simply they have never grown up and I envy them for that.” These words were written by a Croatian journalist Boris Dežulović. His article “The unhappy soldier Svejk” was the central inspiration for Filip Remunda’s new film. Can the Croatians help us see things we ourselves ignore? What does it say about the Czechs, that nearly a million of us move to Croatia for the summer? Naked nation is a tale of love and hate, a satire about the interpretation of national stereotypes and an exploration on the social role of the sea.

Under the Sun
Based on unprecedented access, this film shows life in North Korea more extensively than ever. Director Vitaly Mansky received an official permission for this first Russian-North Korean documentary collaboration. The film follows a family in Pyongyang during one year through the eyes of 8-year-old Zin Mi, the only daughter of an obedient couple. Zin Mi‘s father works for the newspaper of a small factory, her mother in a dairy plant. Zin Mi participates in the giant patriotic shows North Korea is famous for, with huge living tableaus of the country’s leaders and achievements. Our contributors proudly become a part of those surreal shows. Staged impressions of North Korean pride are highlights of their lives, and they dissolve in them like pixels in a giant poster. These shows, and other expressions of organised hyperreality are juxtaposed with images of everyday life that reveal uniformity, bleakness and poverty.

Czechs against Czechs
After being left by his wife, the author decides to move from the centre of Prague to supposedly the worst Gypsy ghetto in the Czech Republic. He is taken under the wing of a clan of property owners. Gadjo is involved in the repair of a badly damaged house and becomes a member of the family. His aim is to find the cause of the decline of the place where he lives. He takes part in anti-Roma marches and tries to uncover the motivations of all the groups involved. Half a year after his arrival in the ghetto, his white family, together with the gypsies, celebrates Gadjo’s thirtieth birthday.

Polish God
What happens when a representative of the most atheist nation in Europe - Czech Joseph - is sent to the most religious country in EU, Poland? Borat-like performative documentary about two neighbours with very different view of religion.

Vít Klusák (1980) studied photography, graduate of Dept. of Documentary Film, FAMU. Since 2006, lecturer at FAMU. Filmography (short films): The Beginning of the World (1999), Shivers Down Your Back (1999), Digestive (1999), Vinegar (2001), Vlast a Burian (2003). As a cameraman he has worked with Vít Janeček and Martin Mareček. He worked with Filip Remunda (1973) on the film A.B.C.D.T.O.P.O.L. (2002), Czech Dream (2004) and Czech Peace (2010). He runs Hypermarket Film, an independent production company co-founded with Filip Remunda in 2003.
• Czech Dream, together with Filip Remunda, 2004, 35mm, 87’, Hypermarket Film, Czech • Czech Peace, together with Filip Remunda, 2010• The Good Driver Smetana, together with Filip Remunda 2013
Hypermarket Film
Kubelíkova 27
130 00 Prague 3
+420 223 018 119
Docu Talents From the East 2008 - 2008
Docu Talents from the East 2010 - 2010
Panel of Upcoming Czech Documentary Films - 2015
Panel of Upcoming Czech Documentary Films - 2014

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