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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.


The Institute of Documentary Film is pleased to announce that a total of 14 documentaries that in the past attended the East European Forum / Ex Oriente Film workshop have been included in the 2009 East Silver market video library. East Silver is the largest digital market dedicated to documentary films from Central and Eastern Europe. The newly added EEF/Ex Oriente Film documentaries that include, for instance, Rabbit a la Berlin, Welcome to North Korea!, Sevdah (photo), or Czech Peace, will be available to international professionals attending the industry section in Jihlava (Oct 27 - Nov 1, 2009).



Ex Oriente Film - International Workshop of Creative Documentary Films: 3rd Session + Pitch Sessions
East European Forum - Workshop + Pitch Sessions
October 27 - November 1, 2009
Jihlava / Czech Republic

East Silver Market
October 27 - November 1, 2009
Jihlava / Czech Republic

Note: More information on documentary films in the programme of this year's Jihlava IDFF will be published as soon as it becomes available.



The following 14 recently completed Ex Oriente Film/East European Forum films were submitted to the East Silver market:




Ex Oriente Film 2006
Slovakia 2009
D: Sahra Karimi

In an Afghan court, the testimony of one man carries the same weight as that of two women. When a son is born to a family, even his first teeth are cause for celebration while the birth of a girl is frequently seen as a disappointment. There is very little room for women in a society where inequality between the sexes is based on a manipulative interpretation of the Koran. Consequently, finding a female Afghan driver is the difficult task which the Slovak director of Afghan descent Sahraa Karimi has set for herself. Her documentary follows the fate of four women between thirty and forty years of age who are all married with children. Three of them want to obtain a driving licence while one of them already makes a living as the driver of a private minibus.





Ex Oriente Film 2006
Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria, USA 2008
D: Atanas Georgiev

In Vienna, two immigrants from Eastern Europe go to any length to find an Austrian woman consenting to a marriage of convenience. In Vienna, two immigrants from Eastern Europe go to any length to find an  Austrian woman consenting to a marriage of convenience. These two enterprising Macedonians have hatched a plan to buy a bride and secure a passport to the European Union. Their journey is a delightful romp through Vienna's colleges, metro stations, and red light districts with poignant glimpses of what lies beyond the fringes. The bureaucratic and psychological barriers that these hapless heroes face only highlights how modern day Europe is struggling to be redefined by its burgeoning immigrant underclass.



East European Forum 2007
Poland 2008
D: Pawel Lozinski

Patients in an oncology clinic receive chemotherapy. Their faces can be seen in a close-up. They lie in pairs and talk. They hold fascinating conversations. Life seen from a different perspective, a distance offered by a hospital, reveals its value, sense and charm. Why so late?



East European Forum 2008
[rough cut]
Czech Republic
D: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda

An observational and a strictly unbiased documentary film about Czechs who are trying to decide whether to – considering their experience with the Soviet occupation as well as the current US-led War on Terror – host a foreign army. Do we belong with the West or rather with the East? Could we cope in an altogether different arrangement? The film captures the country once again involved with political slogans – “With the Soviet Union for all eternity” and, on the other hand, the US “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” A parallel portrait of two men, two generals in the media radar war – a government lobbyist and an obstinate local mayor.




East European Forum 2007
Estonia, Finland 2009
D: Jaak Kilmi

Disco and Atomic War tells the story of a strange kind of information war in which a totalitarian regime stands face to face with the heroes of popular culture. And loses. Western popular culture had an incomparable role shaping Soviet children's worldviews in those days - in ways that now seem slightly odd. Finnish television was a window to a world of dreams that the authorities could not block in any way. Though Finnish channels were banned, many households found some way to access the forbidden fruit. Disco and Atomic War offers its own version of recent history, mixing spy games into a human tragicomedy. 



Ex Oriente Film 2007

Slovakia, France 2009
D: Diana Fabiánová

Diana suffers from irregular and painful periods. Her gynaecologist prescribes her the usual medication but she suspects that there must be other ways of living with her menstruation. What starts off as innocent curiosity, becomes an emotional voyage to the very roots of femininity and life. Moon Inside You is a fresh look at a taboo that defines the reality of both women and men in a more profound way than society might be willing to admit. An unusual story told with humour and gentle self-irony in which the subject of women is approached through the most elementary and obvious aspect of womanhood.



East European Forum 2003
Poland, France 2007
D: Marcin Latallo

Our Street takes place in Lodz, Poland, a city ruined after the downfall of comunism. The old and the new Europe meet here. Right beneath the windows of a working-class family that has been living here for five generations a French company is building the biggest commercial & leisure center in Eastern Europe, inside the ruins of the factory that once made this city The Promised Land, one of the richest in Europe. What influence will it have upon the lives of these people?




Ex Oriente Film 2005
Poland, Germany 2009
D: Bartek Konopka, Piotr Rosolowski

It's an important lesson of history that a system of order intended to produce one result will often give birth to something entirely unexpected. So it was with the Berlin Wall, which was, in fact, two separate walls, one on the east and one on the west with a 120-kilometre strip of land between them. The enclosed patch was unintentionally converted into a kind of rabbit reserve as the walls encircled the lush green meadows of Potsdamer Platz and cut its rabbit population off from both escape and predators. But then one day the walls came down and the rabbits were suddenly freed from a restrictive system, albeit one to which they had become accustomed. Told in the style of a nature documentary, with a captivatingly dreamy tone and a tongue-in-cheek nod to the story's allegorical significance, Rabbit à la Berlin provides a fascinating history lesson told through the eyes of animals.



East European Forum 2006
Germany, Finland, Poland
D: Viktor Asliuk

The film tells a story of two elderly men who are the last residents of what is now a Russian-controlled island in Lake Lagoda. Although they are the island's sole inhabitants, they do not speak to each other. One is of Belarussian origin, the other of Finnish origin. And between the two, there is a long history. Occasionally, though, the younger of the two men climbs up on a hill during the evening to see whether the light is still burning at his neighbour's house. With the wonderfully pristine nature and irreplaceable animals who fulfil the function of friends, the film is almost nostalgic for what will presently cease to exist.




Ex Oriente Film 2004
D: Valentin Valchev

The originally American photographer Marion Koblitz, better known as Marion Michelle, was Joris Ivens' screenwriter, camerawoman and girlfriend between 1944 and 1951. From Prague, Ivens and Michelle made De eerste jaren in 1949, about the socialist construction of Eastern Europe. The Bulgarian director Valentin Valchev searched for the places where Ivens and Michelle filmed and the people appearing in their film. Bringing fragments from De eerste jaren, which the Bulgarian government disapproved of, and his new material, Valchef visited Marion Michelle at home on the edge of Paris, shortly before she died at the age of 93, on 30 April 1907.




Ex Oriente Film 2007
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2009
D: Marina Andree

An intimate journey through Bosnian "blues" dedicated to the prematurely deceased Farah, a passionate fan of sevdah. Trying to confront their own loss and grief, the autors create a film about sevdah as an emotional, musical, lyrical and visual journey through the soul of Bosnia. 




Ex Oriente Film 2008
Bulgaria 2009
D: Stefan Komandarev

This is an unknown story that we still do not grasp and see – how in the globalized world Bulgarian women become part of the big market of ‚suffering’ and how death dictates new roles and market rules. Varshetz, a small spa town in Bulgaria with a high unemployment rate, lives double life – men stay home, women go to Italy to work as “badante” – the new profession for women from the East, a privately-hired care worker looking after an old person in at-home conditions. In order to free their families from poverty, they choose a new life in the West. But there is sickness, death, loneliness. An unknown Europe enters Varshetz and starts slowly to destroy – families, relationships, stereotypes.  




East European Forum 2007
[rough cut]
Czech Republic
D: Adéla Kroupová

Cowboys do live in the Central Europe and the Czech Republic. They wear Stetsons, jeans, western outfits and ride rodeo. We seek heroes of our time, real men from the old world. In them, boyhood dreams and harsh reality of the American Wild West may be combined. We will take a group of Czech cowboys to America, the cradle of their dreams and imagination. We will make them meet the real cowboys and face one of the hardest tests – the test of the tenability of the world they believe in.




East European Forum 2008
Czech Republic 2008
D: Linda Jablonská

A road trip into one of the most secretive and demonized countries in the world: North Korea. Accompanying a package tour to the Hermit Kingdom, a documentary crew investigates both the culture and constraints that confront them, as well as the reasons why an individual would choose to make such a place a holiday destination. Czech tourists who decided to spend approx. CZK 60,000 for a six-day holiday package, hand over their cell phones, GPS devices, banned books and magazines. In the course of the trip, they must bow to the statues of North Korea's dictator, listen to lectures on the evils of imperialism.




Ivana Pauerová Miloševič - programme, participation -
Hana Rezková - Projects follow-up, PR -
Zuzana Raušová - Press -
Miriam Šimková - East Silver Market -