East European Forum
October 27 - November 1, 2009
Jihlava, Czech Republic
The following nine projects have been selected to attend the 2009 East European Forum.
(The projects are listed alphabetically by country)
Director: Raphael Barth
Producer: Arash T. Riahi
The Nicobars are a small archipelago in the Indian Ocean, where one of the last indigenous people lived almost like in a time capsule for 900 years. When the tsunami struck them in 2004, the islands not only lost one-third of their population but they were also thrown into a modern world as countless aid and relief organizations arrived on their shores. This aftermath proved to be a greater tragedy for their culture than the tsunami. Along with humanitarian aid, new “ritual objects”, such as cell phones and television, and new social rules were introduced. Today, as the organizations spend the last funds and begin to leave, the Nicobaris embark on the search for a new identity.
Director: Vesela Kazakova, Mina Mileva
Producer: Vesela Kazakova, Mina Mileva
The story of a girl, who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and fled to the West, sums up the lives of many people who lived “the experiment”. This girl is a fictional character, played and narrated by an actor and she appears in an animated sequence interspersed throughout the film. She is chased by a cartoon character called the Beast. The Beast is a graphic metaphor of all common ideas and clichés about communism, whether positive or negative. The real live characters in our film are two groups who are involved in a debate over the ideology. We meet people who lived under Communist governments – Cubans, Bulgarians, Russians or Hungarians. The opposite perspective is presented by British and German protagonists who prefer to romanticize communism. Indeed, what is communism - an inspiring idea or a menacing ideology?
A feature-length film about politics, economics and social relationships, with a view to other cultures in the Czech Republic - the study of old-fashioned phenomena such as dowsing; parallel worlds and gates to other universes; time machines; involuntary spontaneous invisibility; colour therapy; living and dead water; hibernation; magic mushrooms; UFOs, etc. Life in the Czech Republic, within the broader context of globalization, is seen through the crooked mirror of non-rational and expanded perception of reality: psychics and mediums contribute to the film and draw connections to social reality.
Czech Republic / Iceland
ICELAND: A BANKRUPT NATION
Director: Sigurður Hallmar Magnússon
Producer: Veronika Janatková
In October 2008, the three main banks in Iceland collapsed. The collapse of the banks drove the country towards bankruptcy causing thousands of people to lose their jobs, their personal savings and hope. Once among the richest countries in the world with a solid reputation, Iceland is now facing a dark era of both political and moral uncertainties. Iceland: A Bankrupt Nation is a portrait of a country and its people who are going through very hard times. Not intended as an economic analysis, the crash of Iceland's economy provides a mere pretext to portray a nation that used to rank among the richest and most developed countries in the world. How does Iceland react to the economic collapse? Who is to blame for the collapse of the banking system? Or could the failure of capitalist values possibly be the best thing that could have happened to Iceland?
THE NEW WORLD
Director: Jaan Tootsen
Producer: Jaak Kilmi
How to create an urban living space that is meant for good people? How to change the world? This film is about the New World Society, a citizen initiative in Tallinn, Estonia. A film about good intentions and about a place where everyone fights everyone else. What happens if the activists for a better world no longer have support and have to confront those they actually fight for? And what happens in a revolution when the revolutionaries get tired? The film follows the main characters and the dynamics of their revolution over the course of four years. A lot has changed since the early days of the organization. The activists - who now have families and have given up their day jobs - have learnt the art of compromise and use terms such as "project", "agreement" and "professionality". But as it sometimes happens, tension starts builiding up among the protagonists. How to unite people who no longer have common interests? How to find the lost New World?
LEAPING OVER THE DRAGON'S GATE
Director: Mika Mattila
Producer: Markku Niska
A story of five destinies set in the Chinese contemporary art scene. A young artist struggling with his first steps into the professional scene; an established “Master” taggling a new project, free from financial concerns; a collector transforming his precious collection into a lasting legacy; an aspiring gallery owner looking for new talents from the provinces; an American artist moves to Beijing from New York with high hopes of reviving his career; a new cultural centre rising from a seeming cultural void in the middle of Inner Mongolian desert. The film captures the unique atmosphere prevailing in China’s art scene in its moment of emergence as a truly international player. Through these unique individual stories it cuts through the exciting world of China's art community, revealing the often baffling dynamics shaping it. Through the mosaic of these destinies it takes the audience into a new world where everything seems possible and nothing seems to be too much.
THE GLASS CAGE
Director: Csaba Szekeres
Producer: Szabolcs Győrffy
A historical feature documentary using experimental animation technique. From 1942 to 1945 in Hungary, more than 60 thousand Jews people were rescued by a Swiss diplomat and the Hungarian Zionist Movement in a glass factory, the Glass House. In 1941, about 184,000 Jews lived in Budapest, Hungary. During the German occupation, the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party came to power and carried out violent attacks against the Jews. Tens of thousands of Jews died on death marches from Budapest to Austria. Our film focuses on two protagonists. David Gur, a member of the Hungarian Zionist Movement, was a master document forger. Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz cooperated with the movement, setting up the Glass House, issuing documents to thousands of Jewish residents and using his diplomatic immunity to protect houses across the city. The story of two men who employed different tools to achieve the same goal.
Director: Gyula Nemes
Producer: Gyula Nemes
Our film reveals the immoderation of the consumer society and warns of the dangers of this huge and growing amount of trash. We follow the way of the consumer products from their origins and use, until the destruction and storage of non-recyclable products. Recycling represents industrial production as a huge organism in continuous circulation. We show how we can be in connection through the production and consumption without noticing each other. The way of the consumer goods, produced every day in shocking quantities, comes to light through expressive images and industrial poetry.
ATENTAT - ASSASSINATION
Director: Stevan Filipović
Producer: Milan Petrinjac
Using live-action reenactments, the film deals with the 2003 assassination of former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđic – its causes and consequences. Through the fictional character of a young journalist, the film explores circumstances that led to the assassination as well as its aftermath. The documentary also stops to consider what road Serbia might have taken had Mr Đinđic stayed alive. Hampered by constant obstruction and intimidation, the court proceedings that took over three years failed to reveal convincing facts about the case. Through the story of the young journalist who instigates her own investigation of the assassination, we offer a concise story of those turbulent times and their effect on Serbia today. It is an interpretation of documentary material through a personal point of view that uses fragments of reality to present a complete picture of events that led to the assassination and of those who were behind it.
Substitutes (listed alphabetically):
CRULIC - THE PATH TO BEYOND (Romania)
HIDE AND SEEK (Greece)