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East European Forum

Projects selected for East European Forum | March 5 – 11, 2012 | Prague

East European Forum
| March 5 – 11, 2012 | Prague
•    East European Forum Workshop | March 5 – 9, 2012
•    Public Presentations + Feedback Round Tables | March 10 – 11, 2012

The selection includes the following projects (listed alphabetically by title):



Escape from Somalia

Director: Čálek David
Production company: U.F.O. Pictures, Bratři s.r.o.

Útěk ze Somálska , Czech Republic, 90 min, DCP, HD, Anthropology, Creative, Current Affairs, Environmental, Human Rights, Politics, Social Issues

The Somali Sea, once among the richest fisheries in the world, has been turning into a ”dead” sea in the last 15 years, when a rampant, massive fishing by multinational fishing cartels essentially wiped all living things out of Somali waters. The film reveals the difficult plight of Somali pirates, mostly former fishermen, for whom the sea is no longer the source of livelihood. In the nation caught in political havoc, the poor uneducated fishermen have are left with no alternative then joining the company of pirates operating along the Somali coast from Eyl to Bosaso. Escape from Somalia follows the fate of Ali, a young fisherman who became a pirate for some time. Their boat was blasted into pieces by a military ship during an unsuccessful hijacking attempt. Trying to save his own life he swam in the sea for many hours until he came upon another pirate boat. His older brothers, who were on the boat with him, perished. He was left alone and has been on the run ever since. The perspective of a young, yet very bright guy gives us a better idea about piracy, often a clear-cut issue from our point of view. It provides the perspective of people who, unlike us, do not decide about their life. Western society may benefit thanks to this point of view. The film does not intend to defend any form of violence, it tries to ponder the reasons that result in massive modern-day piracy. It proves that every action brings a reaction and that the irresponsible behavior of the European society...



Exercise of Life

Production company: Les films du balibari, Luna W, Mantaray Film, TVP Kultura, AVRO, SVT - Sveriges Television AB

Exercise of Life , France, Sweden, 2012, 52 and 70 min, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture

There are stories constantly inspiring our imagination. There are unforgettable people who become legends of our times. We read about them, we admire them and, usually, we recognise their genius only after they are gone… Michael Meschke is not one of them, he is among the greatest living marionette masters in the world. His marionette masterpieces are a pretext allowing to delve into his own life and the stories behind his numerous international collaborations. He created the Marionetteatern and has been the cultural ambassador of Sweden for over 60 years. His theatre introduced the art of puppetry to modern Europe and brought back into the universal dimension characters like Antigone, Don Quixote, Odysseus, Faust, so significant to human nature and, at the same time, symbolising the struggle of virtue against vice in the last hundred years. Through his story, sketched on the canvas of modern history, we can touch on the most important values of humanity, as well as simple, essential human emotions: love, fear of death and unlimited passion, choices and regrets…



The Finalists

Production company: IdeaFilm s.r.o.

Finalisté , Czech Republic, 90 min, DCP, Arts and Culture, Creative, Culture, Current Affairs, Longitudinal, Personal View, Portrait, Society

Why is it that people don't go to galleries, claiming they don't understand art dealing with everyday issues? Why do people believe that art requires craft only? What makes a social project, such as painting somebody's fence without permission, a piece of art? The observational documentary follows the five finalists of the 2010 Jindřich Chalupecký Award from the moment of their presentation in the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, following them for the next five years. The final shortlist of the prestigious award included three artists and two art duos. Alice Nikitinová, a painter of almost abstract canvases , a street artist Jakub Matuška, a conceptual artist and theorist Václav Magid, a duo of draughtsmen David Böhm and Jiří Franta and a cross-media art duo Vasil Artamonov and Alexej Klyuykov. Not only do the authors vary in the means of expression, they have dofferent origins and mentality. The only thing they have in common is the fact that they studied at Czech art schools. In the form of interviews and scenes, the film captures their rises and falls, personal worries and joys. The film contrasts their diverse means of artistic expression with respect to their varied output, audiences, admirers and critics. In an unbiased and humorous way, the film confronts the controversial environment of the Czech art scene, including the distinctively dull audience, mistaken reactions of the media and the lack of possibilities for a professional art career.

Funeral & Wedding Orchestra

Director: Georgiev Atanas
Producer: Popov Darko
Production company: Trice Film, Nukleus Film

Orkestar za pogrebi i svadbi , Macedonia, 70 min, HD, Creative, Entertainment, Portrait, Religion, Social Issues

This is a story of life and death told through the language of music. Fifteen musicians of the funeral orchestra in Kavadarci now struggle to survive. Once they played at about seventy funerals a year, but since a chapel was built next to the cemetery entrance, almost no one orders music for funerals. The families do not wish to pay for a hundred meters of music, i.e. the distance from the chapel to the graves, since people in town will hardly hear it. So the musicians now try to earn some money by playing at weddings and similar festivities, but very few would hire the funeral orchestra to play at a wedding.


Director: Kurov Askold
Producer: Ketkovich Vlad
Production company: Ethnogeographic Research Foundation, Saxonia Entertainment GmbH, Germany

ЛЕНИНЛЭНД , Russia, 52 min, HD, Creative, History, Politics

Lenin museum in the Gorky village was built at the end of the Soviet epoch, in the year 1987. And it was the most ambitious “Temple of the God” in the USSR. Twenty years later, when Russia is still in the process of transformation in the new political system, the Museum is still in operation, while it reflects the social situation in the country.

Makhachkala Fight Star

Producer: Dewitz Inka
Production company: Perfect Shot Films

Makhachkala Fight Star , Germany, Russia, 90 min, HD, Adventure and Sports, Creative, Politics

The story of a Soviet Bruce Lee and a Martial Arts school that has become a safe haven inside a violent conflict zone. Dagestan, a Russian Caucasus Republic on the lawless verge of economic and political collapse. Once it was Chechnya, today it is the republic of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea that is the most explosive place in Russia - and in Europe. There are bomb attacks almost daily, shootouts between police and militants, tales of torture and of people going missing. An escape from the bleak reality comes in the form of a collective national obsession with wrestling, martial arts and masculine strength that goes way beyond the sphere of sports.

Monk of the Sea

Director: Skalski Rafał
Production company: Centrala Sp. z o.o.

Mnich z morza , Poland, 54 min, HD, Anthropology, Creative, Personal View, Religion, Social Issues, Society

Tum, a student of economy, lives in Bangkok and starts his independent life without parents. He lives fast and enjoys his life – he parties and fools around with his friends. In Thailand, a 20-year-old boy becomes a rightful man for his society only after becoming a monk. For this reason, about 70% of young men join Buddhist monasteries – wats - every year. Most of the time, they stay there for a few weeks only. They come there to find their inner silence, to learn how to meditate, but also to please their families and to gain respect of other people. Tum hasn’t become a monk yet, as he claims that he leads a very busy life and has no time for it. However, he knows he should do it for his mother and for her karma to get better. But the most important thing is that Tum has also realized that his stay in a monastery could help him find his life goal, and he starts to long for it more and more desperately. Tum decides to become a monk in Wat Khun Samut Trawat near Bangkok. There are only five of other monks in the Wat and all of them are “permanent” monks – monks for life. The abbot of the Wat - Khun Samut Trawat is against the phenomenon of short-term monks. He claims that it’s unfeasible to learn the essence of Buddhism and to change your life just in a few weeks. No one has done that in Wat Khun Samut Trawat for a long time. Tum will be the first one who tries since years.

My Father's Name

Director: Dinu Andrei
Producer: Manu Sorin
Production company: Evolution Film Production, Latemar Film, FilmFörderung Hamburg GmbH

Numele tatalui meu , Germany, Romania, 2012, 90 min, HD, Arts and Culture, Longitudinal, Music, Portrait

There is a story behind every name. For some people Eugen Cicero represents a musical genius. For others he is totally unknown. His son Roger unveils the story behind his father’s name and music. “My Father’s Name” is all about musical legacy and a fascinating father-son relationship especially through their understanding of music. It turns on a stunning journey towards success - marked with adventure, ups and downs. On the one hand side it is the story of Eugen Cicero, an internationally acclaimed pianist for more than 3 decades. His son, Roger Cicero, reminds us about his father’s great musical talent. The documentary emphasizes two sides of Eugen Cicero: the first one is the style he innovated, with the help of his perfect and matchless piano technique combined Jazz and Classic - the other one is his way of understanding life. It will be the kind of story starting from a piece of music that makes you wonder What is behind? Who wrote and played it? . For that reason the film should be considered as a two-portrait documentary. “My Father’s Name” is based on emotions, life facts, history and most of all on great music. Eugen Cicero left behind a special musical inheritance which does not deserve to be buried in oblivion.

My Six Million Dollar Father

Director: Ozoliņa Ieva
Producer: Gaisa Līga

Mans tēvs baņķieris , Latvia, 52 min, HD, Archive , Creative, Personal View

A self-made banker achieves success during the first years after the collapse of the USSR, but is then forced to flee the country in order to escape an arrest for illegal operations. Sought by the Interpol for more than 15 years, he gives a hint of his existence in a mental asylum in Kuala Lumpur...  A film about a man who loses himself in times
of change.


On the Sea with Badjao

Director: Kubarska Eliza
Producer: Braid Monika
Production company: Braidmade Films Ltd, Vertical Vision Film Studio

On the Sea with Badjao , Poland, United Kingdom, USA, 90 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, HD, Creative, Environmental, Human Rights, Personal View, Social Issues

Somewhere on the edge of Sulu and Celebes Sea lives a tribe of ‘sea gypsies’. They live like fish, spending most of their life in water. They can walk and hunt on the sea-bed, holding their breath for 5 minutes and have their eyes adapted to focus underwater. They are ancient masters of the sea pushed to the edge of extinction by the changing forces of the modern world. Badjao are illegal immigrants in their own waters. They have no ID, no citizenship and no money. They don’t even know how old they are … Not being able to compete against huge corporate ships, Badjao: Momazabri employs prohibited and live-threatening methods of fishing in order to survive. He is illegally hired to do the coral-reef-damaging dynamite fishing and shark finning (fishing for sharks only to cut their fins off). The business of diving industry is blossoming in his neighbourhood. Owners of resorts and diving schools go to war against Badjao. Ramon, an immigrant from Spain,runs his resort with only a tourist visa. He seek the help of the NGO, that in unconventional ways, fights for the preservation of sea species. For some businessmen this will be a perfect opportunity to get rid of the ‘dirty,’ primitive Badjao tribe that pollutes their paradise islands on Earth. On the sea the pirate battle begins...



Play 9/11

Producer: Strnad Jiří
Production company: Filmium o.s.

Play 9/11 , Czech Republic, 90 min, HD, Society

A documentary about people who have formed their memory of September 11 into Twin Towers' shape. A documentary about people whose lives have been formed by the memory of September 11. The 11 chapters of the documentary will introduce 11 figurations of the Twin Towers, 11 different memories created by people from all over the world, 11 different opinions about 9/11, 11 original stories of people affected by 9/11.

Submarine Man

Production company: Medina Films

Submarine Man , Russia, United Kingdom, 52 min, HD, Archive , Arts and Culture, Creative, Current Affairs, Social Issues

June 1986, a young Russian named Mikhail Puchkov creeps to the edge of the Neva river in St Petersburg. He lowers a homemade submarine into the water and clambers in. Rolling his knees up to his chest, he pulls the hatch closed and sets off downstream into the inky dark. Few hours later he finds himself entangled in a fishing net. He is hauled out, arrested by the KGB and taken for interrogation. Mikhail (or ‘Misha’ as he prefers to be known), is a rebel inventor, a self-taught engineer who crafted his submarine alone in his basement year by year. His tale is one of the oldest there is - that of the classic mythic hero, on a quest to test himself and achieve a seemingly impossible objective against all odds. Misha’s story straddles the old and the new world - from his Soviet childhood, through the collapse of the USSR, to the contours of Putin era. A convulsive historical backdrop to a turbulent personal life. Along with the story of his sub, we’ll learn about his dysfunctional family - frayed by alcoholism, death and divorce, his time as a runaway, in a children’s prison, and then in the army, where he suffered from dedovshina, the Russian form of hazing. The film will fuse personal and social drama in a compelling character study. The essence of the film is freedom in all it’s forms, showing how daily struggles and dreams may eclipse even the most acute political change.

The End of Light

Producer: Suková Željka
Production company: Udruga Ukus

Kraj svjetla , Croatia, 70 min, DCP, Experimental, Mockumentary, Social Issues

The screenplay for “The End of Light“ is inspired by the motives from “ Road to the end of the Road (literally “A way to the end of the way) “ - a poem by Josip Sever, which employs abstract terms to talk about the importance of the path as a goal. The motives inspirde the plot of this hybrid film.We took 7 individuals and we are determined to give them a chance to fulfill their dreams,whether they want to be orchestra conductors, playmates, stage actors, poets, or just embarking on a journey going back in time or where the sun hides at night ...and give them a chance to be what they always wanted, even for just one day.

Without Fear

Director: Frank Herz
Production company: Ego Media

Bez Bailem , Latvia, 80 min, HD, Society

In 2004, Larissa Trembovler, a philosophy professor and a mother of four, leaves her husband and marries Yigal Amir – the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin. Three years later she gives birth to their son. This unique story of life, death and love is be told by the veteran filmmaker Herz Frank.

Word in Pain

Director: Stepanyan Davit
Producer: Torosyan Taguhi
Production company: Erasing Images

Tcavitc Tsnvats Khosqy , Armenia, 85 min, DCP, Archive , Drama doc, Experimental, Human Rights, Social Issues

Pain of loss, uncertainty, demand of justice make bodies come together, move and speak together, lay another claim to public space. What is the true nature of relationship between the power system and its subjects in military establishments?Since 1994 more than 1500 military servants deceased in Armenia in uncertain circumstances and only 25 died on the frontline while under fire. Most of them are subject to constant assaults and human rights violations. This is the result of the Soviet legacy, its regulations and relationship code between the soldiers and officers.


Director: Polak Hanna
Producer: Polak Hanna

Zvałka , Poland, USA, 70 min, HD, Creative, Human Rights, Social Issues

This is an 11-year odyssey into the harsh realities of Russia's underclass, it's a homeless and poor who live at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Moscow. We follow Yula from age 11 to 22, from her childhood to her pregnancy at 16, until she is 22 and finally realizes the need to prevail and escape Zvalka. Yula's story is one of countless tales that haunt Russia's as well as the world's garbage dumps. Yula has ''been there, done that, seen it all and is done''. Most importantly, Yula's life is a story od change, of ability of the human spirit to rise up and prevail from a heap of degradation and shame.