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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.


Creative documentary film has again found support at this year's East European Forum. The annual meeting of East European documentary directors and their producers will again help their films get funding that would not be available from local TV stations or funds. The open programme of the event also brought screenings and introduced a survey of the documentary film situation in Central Europe - panel discussion Old New Neighbours.

October 25 - 29, 2006
Jihlava, Czech Republic, somewhere in the Space

Even though the documentary filmmakers will still have to go through the long process of negotiation with TV networks, a number of commissioning editors have already come up with specific offers.

During the first day of pitching, the biggest interest was expressed in the Belarusian project Robinsons of Matsinsari. by Sari Volanen from the Finnish broadcaster YLE, by the Estonian station ETV, and the film would also be suitable for support from the Jan Vrijman Fund or Polish TVP Kultura. Besides that, Robinsons of Matsinsari were also personally selected by Fleur Knopperts, the director of the IDFA Forum, to take part in the Europe’s most important pitching session. Franz Grabner said a clear "yes" to Cash & Marry–a Croatian-Macedonian-Austrian co-production, and the subject matter of A. C. Confidential and its experienced Bulgarian producer Martichka Bozhilova persuaded Danish distributor Charlotte Madsen, German TV ARD/MDR and Austrian ORF. Regular guest of the Forum, Belgian commissioning editor Wim Van Rompaey from Lichtpunt is interested in the Hungarian film Our School, Dutch TV AVRO together with German broadcaster ARD/WDR and Austrian ORF will talk about the support of the Latvian project HOMO@lv and, once it is finished, the Croatian film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could enter Danish and international distribution. Jana Boková’s project Waiting in Buenos Aires was interesting for Hungarian MTV and some support was promised also to three Slovak films -  Searching by Juraj Lehotský and Marko Škop, Exporting Progress by Dana Rusnoková and Afghan Women behind the Wheel by Sahraa Karimi. Photo: Panel of TV commissioning editors


During the 2nd day of the Forum’s public presentations, the biggest interest was garnered by the upcoming film of Elena Tihonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer Elektro Moskva that was also voted the “Best Pitch” of the pitch workshop that preceded the final presentations. Elektro Moskva will start negotiations with Finish YLE, Estonian ETV, German ARD/WDR or Danish distributor Charlotte Madsen. The Hungarian project Zahnmekka should be co-produced by Franz Grabner from ORF, Claudia Schreiner from MDR, Hungarian MTV, and the film will be distributed by Charlotte Madsen. The Polish-German co-production Kopan might get support both from the German broadcasters in attendance and Polish TVP. Estonian ETV is interested in the Polish film Celuskin, Claudia Schreiner from MDR and Czech TV will negotiate with the Slovak project by Jana Saková. Other East European projects received–besides getting specific advice as to which TVs and funds to approach–also contacts to TV commissioning editors who could enter the projects at a later stage. Photo: Elena Tihonova and Dominik Spritzendorfer - Elektro Moskva

According to the main tutor of this year’s pitch workshop, Director of Expert Docs and Dutch TV AVRO’s representative, Marijke Rawie, the East European Forum's projects have gone through an immense development and improvement since she visited Jihlava 4 years ago. East European films have left their narrow local focus while keeping their specific values. The final list of projects that manage to attract support will be known in several months and will be posted on the website of the Institute of Documentary Film: All the projects that will be completed with the support of European televisions will be screened by the Institute of Documentary Film at future editions of the East European Forum.

For six years, the East European Forum has been one of the two focal points of the industry section at the Jihlava IDFF. This year the Forum hosted more than 70 documentary professionals from all over Europe. It is the first event that gives East European documentary filmmakers the opportunity to meet Europe's leading commissioning editors. At the Forum, directors and independent producers pitch their documentary projects. With the founding of the East European Forum, the region of Central Europe has received the first alternative to the existing models of funding that rely only on state funds and local broadcasters. Since its establishment, the Forum has become a prestigious meeting place for film professionals and, since 2001, it has hosted approx. 312 East European filmmakers and producers, 40 TV representatives and dozens of international distributors, buyers and festival programmers. Thanks to the Forum, over 22 films have been completed since 2001. Photo: Tue Steen Muller and the Pitch Workshop participants

 In the last two years, the proportion of TV representatives from Eastern and Western Europe has been shifting so that this year, the Forum was attended also by the representatives of East European TV networks: Katarzyna Malinowska (TVP, Poland), Claudie Nedelcu (TVR - Televiziunea Romana, Romania), Marek Šebeš (Czech Television), Andras Monory Mesz (MTV, Hungary) and others. 


Sari Volanen (YLE), Claudia Schreiner (MDR),  Charlotte Gry Madsen (DR TV), Marijke Rawie (ExpertDocs, on behalf of AVRO), Franz Grabner (ORF), Wim Van Rompaey (Lichtpunt), Christiane Hinz (ARD/WDR), Marek Šebeš (Czech Television), Andras Monory Mesz (MTV), Katarzyna Malinowska (TVP), Claudie Nedelcu (TVR - Televiziunea Romana), Rada Šešič (Jan Vrijman Fund)


Tue Steen Müller, Fleur Knopperts (IDFA Forum), Uldis Cekulis (Vides Filmu Studio), Steven Seidenberg (De-Caf), Marijke Rawie (ExpertDocs), Sibylle Kurz (Pitching & Com. Skills), Alexandre Cornu (Les Films du Tambour de Soie, PROCIREP's Television Commission), Filip Remunda (Director, producer) Photo: Bojana Papp and Daniel Beres pitching

Heidi Gronauer (ESODOC, Italy), Sean Farnel (Hot Docs, Canada), Andrew Solomon (Sunny Side of the Docs, France)


Open Programme – Panel Discussion OLD-NEW NEIGHBOURS
As part of the accompanying programme of the East European Forum, the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF) held an overview panel discussion Old-New Neighbours that addressed important issues with regard to five Central European countries: What documentary trends have emerged in your country over the last ten years? In what ways have the production conditions changed? What role do local broadcasters play in the support of documentary cinema? How many documentary films are made as international co-productions? How does the film policy work in your country? What major films have been made in your country in the last ten years?
The Old-New Neighbours panel accompanied the tenth edition of the Jihlava IDFF, with its challenging slogan for this year: "Never been better!" Is this really the case? Audiences discussed these questions together with representatives from the following countries of Central Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Photo: Old-New Neighbours panel



East European Forum - besides its strict focus on the creative documentary film from Central and Eastern Europe - distinguishes it self from the other Pitching Forums in Europe also by its locations. After the last year's edition that took place on the border line between home and the exile, this year's Forum was sent to the Space. To the Space where it has NEVER BEEN BETTER... Where the documentaries are born, exist and multiply...where the tv representatives bring the support in the spaceship and where the authors swim in the stardust. The motto Never been better provoques many questions while Mr. Spock is not the one to answer them. Photos: commissioning editors of the East European Forum 2006