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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.


Congratulations to the 14 projects that have been selected to attend the 2010 Ex Oriente Film. Out of 55 high-quality submissions we received this year, the selection committee has voted for the following proposals: Djangarchi; Mechanical Figures (both Croatia); The New Life of a Family Album (Czech Republic, Slovakia); Summerhouses; Wittgenstein's Century - Decency (both Czech Republic); Family Business; Phantom Pain Mladic (both Germany); Born in Riga (Latvia); Brothers (Poland); Ma Lo (Poland); Welcome to the Rich Men's World (Poland); Cuba of India (Poland, UK), 45 North with 25 East (Romania).


Projects selected for the 2010 Ex Oriente Film (listed alphabetically by country):



Zoran Krema
P: Jana Šivak

Djangarchi is a film about Oleg Mankuev, one of four throat singers, the Djangarchi, from Kalmikija. Kalmikija is an autonomic state in Russian Federation and the only Buddhist country in Europe. Djangar is an epic poem that has been sung in ancient time. This poem is the carrier of the national pride and identity of the people of Kalmikija throughout generations. Djangarchi, the singer and the carrier of the tradition of Djangar, has also been called "the carrier of the eternity". In the form of an exciting road movie documentary, the film follows Oleg's journey from Kalmikija to Croatia, in search of his own identity and new musician friends.


D: Helena Bulaja
P: Helena Bulaja

Inspired by Nikola Tesla, this visually intriguing animated / interactive documentary guides the viewer through the creative process. Twirling around the world, from Zagreb, through London, Paris, Budapest, New York, Tokyo and New Zealand, capturing the present, the future and the past of technological and social development initiated by some of Tesla's inventions, from alternating current to radio, the film questions the synergy of creation and sustainability through a story about art, science and technology, featuring Laurie Anderson, Terry Guilliam, Marina Abramovic, Andy Serkis and Hiroshi Matsumoto, amongst others.


Czech Republic

D: Veronika Zapletalová
P: Jarmila Poláková

A documentary about the disappearing Czech phenomenon of summerhouse architecture. Summerhouses reflect the traits of their builders, both in the positive and negative terms. They are the embodiment of people's dreams who use them to carve out their own world and find an escape from everyday reality. Far from being merely emergency shelters, they epitomize architecture of an abstracted human pleasure. They do not crouch modestly but expand physically and spiritually in their limited space. Under the pressure of time, they reflect changes in society, shackled human longings, opinions, open-air Romanticism, relationship to the landscape, longing for nature, freedom, but also for membership in a community.

Czech Republic

D: Radovan Síbrt
P: Kateřina Smilková

A film essay about decency. The everyday, commonplace situations captured in the film show how deceptive our self-perception and our understanding of the terms normal and standard can be. But most importantly, the film bears witness to contemporary racism and the failure of multicultural social models. We portray several protagonists without examining their lives in greater detail. Thus we create an atmosphere in which the subject of our film seems to be a fairly common affair. This atmosphere allows us to find similar displays of racism in any environment, regardless of social status or age.

Czech Republic / Slovakia

D: Adam Ol'ha
P: Pavel Berčík

The film takes place in Slovakia where traditional family value are still very strong. For the younger generation, however, these values seem to be a thing of the past. I decided to film my own family after our father left, causing a large Catholic family to suddenly collapse. What does it mean for us? Will we be able to move towards a new life? I have five younger sisters ranging in age from 6 to 24 years who will be included in the film. This film tells the story of how one man cannot manage seven women, and how seven women fight for one man.


D: Christiane Büchner
P: Tobias Büchner

The film shows the life of two families, brought together by an emergency. In a German family, grandma becomes a nursing case. Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a mother leaves her family in order to help the German. A film about the economies of families in the Western and Eastern parts of Europe.




Helga Bahmer
P: Erik Winker

The Bosnian war refugee Lejla Nikolic travels for the first time since she fled in 1992 from Berlin to former Yugoslavia. But her hometown Visegrad is not her goal, instead she is hot on the heels of the fugitive Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic. Before the mandate of the Hague Tribunal ends, Lejla wants to make sure that "the butcher of the Balkans" doesn't get away without a trial. But Lejla's hunt for Mladic develops more and more to a confrontation with her own past, from which she backed away for many years.


D: Davis Simanis
P: Līga Gaisa

Born in Riga is a creative documentary exploring the concept of genius loci on the lives of two remarkable 20th century figures - British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin and Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein who were both born in Latvia's capital. Using archival footage, documentary material and staged scenes, the film traces events in the lives of the two men that lead to the fact that in 1948 Berlin lived trapped in an aristocratic golden cage as the most important figure of the British philosophical thought whereas Eisenstein passed away amidst conflicts with the Soviet government concerning his political beliefs. And Riga, an acclaimed European city before WWII, lost its status and prestige forever.


D: Wojciech Staroń
P: Malgorzata Staroń

The film is a journey through Stalin gulags and European Union salons. It is a story about determination, dreams, obstacles and the power of fraternal love. The film will tell the story of an unusual life of two brothers and their complicated relationship. The film revolves around a dream - before he dies, Alfons would like to present his paintings in Brussels. However, on his return from a trip to Brussels, Alfons finds out that his paintings had been destroyed in a fire.



D: Monika Pawluczuk
P: Katarzyna Ślesicka

The film is set in Thailand, by the border with Burma. The Karen tribe (Burmese escapees) are famous all over the world for their giraffe-women. With metal rings, coiling round their necks, they are a tourist attraction. Ma Lo, the heroine of the film, a young woman in her early twenties, gets rid of the rings and makes a decision to build her own village, that would not depend on the Thais. But the Ma Lo’s initiative is against the interest of the bosses of the tourist villages. They put it bluntly: Ma Lo will die if her village does not disappear… 


D: Pawel Ferdek
P: Wojciech Szczudlo

Papua New Guinea, Sandaun province. Interior covered with impenetrable forest. The film secret murder of wives of the chieftain of the tribe investigation from before two years is leading us directly to conflict of two tribes against the jungle. Imbiniss people are clearing their virgin jungle and they are involving the Chinese corporation for putting the plantation of the oil palm on. They want to have shoes, money, the road and normal houses as people of the modern world. They want to perform the jump into the civilization. Neighbouring Ossima is keeping the traditional style of living like thousands of years before. A dispute about the border piece of the jungle is breaking out, and in the background- dispute over values. Let us see from close up how the next fragment is disappearing from the tropical jungle, let us get to know hopes and conflicts of people which are deciding on such a step.

Poland / UK

D: Maciej Gorski
P: Monika Braid

Jagdish Singh, a boxing master from Bhiwani, India, has set his eyes on gold at the London Olympics. In 2008 he produced the first bronze medalist for India and is now preparing three of his students for the Games in 2012, Vijender and Sunita - a couple of mature boxers and Sunil, a boy who only just started boxing. What really drives them is survival. Through parallel storytelling we learn about their motivations, expectations and determination to fulfill their dreams. In the era of commercialisation of sport, this is the story of boxers who practice the original sport ideals.


D: Monica Lazurean-Gorgan
P: Monica Lazurean-Gorgan

How does one live upon finding out that the congenital malformation - spina bifida - that your daughter was born with is something you caused, as a father, because of the high level of cadmium in your body? The cadmium intoxication is the work of the Sometra factory - the biggest source of pollution in Romania - where the father was employed for twenty years. The plant has been closed for over a year but the father supports its reopening in order to make some money and give his children a chance for a better future.