Ex Oriente Film
14 documentary projects selected for Ex Oriente Film 2011:
Otbora na zatvora , Bulgaria, 52 min, HD, Society
“The Jail Team” is a film about the efforts of one man to overturn the value system of people who think that human life is worthless after a bottle of rakia. The action takes place in the Kazichene prison. The characters in the film have been sentenced for attempted murder, theft and assault. Facing them is the psychologist Kalin Gaytandzhiev and two teachers. The aim: for at least one out of 100 people to rise out of the gutter.
Dianina lista , Croatia, 80 min, HD, History, Human Rights
Fifteen years ago, atop a box containing worn-out children’s clothes, a diary of an extraordinary woman was discovered – a wartime testimony of a charity taking at that time probably incredible proportions. On a cold winter day, in February 1942, Diana Budisavljević decided to do something for the thousands of children who were dying in Ustaše camps every day from hunger, sickness and cold. She launched an action that saved 12,000 children by 1945 and took careful records of all the information available so that the children could safely return to their families once the war was over.
Croatia / Moldova / Netherlands
Croatia, Moldova, The Netherlands, 50 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, Health, Human Rights, Portrait, Social Issues
A student of the Zagreb University named Vanja goes to Moldova, the poorest European country, to do volunteer work. She joins a project whose goal is to help seniors and the disabled. In six months, she is transformed from a confused foreigner unfamiliar with the language, culture and traditions, into a leader of a humanitarian project. She becomes a fighter against the deeply corrupt Moldovan society, an advocate of Western democratic values and methods, as well as a warm and comforting figure for a plethora of lonely seniors. Her efforts result in the construction of a modern nursing home in the middle of rural Moldova and the establishment of a care system so advanced that it can challenge those of Western Europe.
Show! , Czech Republic, 90 min, HD, Arts and Culture, Creative, Entertainment, Music, Personal View, Society, Youth Documentary
Five young girls aged 11 to 13 and five young boys of the same age entering the world of show business. One producer. One musical. Many castings. Many rehearsals.The Anatomy of Pop follows the lives of several child singers - the rising stars of Czech pop on their initiation journey to the world of show business under the guidance of experienced producers. On the backdrop of preparations for a teenage musical, the children, driven by their ambitions as well as by the ambitions of their parents, undergo the process of pop icon formation. Step by step, their visions are confronted with the mechanisms of reality; their dreams are confronted with the dictate of show business; as they undergo a transformation due to their growing popularity.The documentary film is conceived as an observational reportage-essay made in the period of six months of preparations for a musical tailored to the needs of the girl band 5Angels by composer and producer Michal David. The film aims to represent an analysis of the process of forming "stars" out of "common people" as well as to become a concentrated study of the mechanisms of the world of show business.
Život mého otce , Czech Republic, Norway, 100 min, HD, Arts and Culture, Creative, Culture, History, Personal View, Portrait
"I have to convince you that what you see and hear could have happened to you." (---Lubos Hruza). On 2nd of December, 2008, my father, Lubos Hruza, dies tragically and suddenly. I am in shock. I clean his apartment and empty the fridge, but leave everything else as he left it the last time we were there together. I close the door thinking that he might come back. He will be glad to see how clean it is. I open it again a year later and it is as I left it last. I resist as long as I can before I have to start cleaning things out. It is then I discover in his basement, in the room black with coal, hundreds of pictures, sketches and paintings mapping his fantastic theatre career. His beginnings at DAMU, the click that would later become Cinoherni klub, a quarter of century as head set designer at the National Theater in Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark. It is all here. I look at all the drawings and turn them around. Almost everything has mold on it.
Hranice dálnice , Czech Republic, 75 min, HD, Creative, Current Affairs, Docu drama, Environmental, Nature, Personal View, Politics, Society
A highway is under construction in the Czech Midlands. Although it runs through a natural reserve not too many locals seem to mind it. Some seem to think that the countryside would be prettier without the highway but conceded to the official standpoint of the building lobby which claims that the new highway is a must. There are several people living in the vicinity of the construction site whose "lifetime achievements", in one way or another, are closely linked to the highway. For one of them, the road itself is the pinnacle of his career. Others wanted to leave behind their cottage and its garden as a monument of their lives - they are now learning to live together with the highway right behind their fence. Yet others are looking forward to money they expect to make thanks to the new road.
Suur - Sõjamäe , Estonia, 70 min, 35 mm, Creative
You are at home, but you are homeless, your plot belongs to your State, but your State no longer exists. A new power could arise at any time and destroy your cottage. The conflict is between the communist and capitalist systems, between the poor and the rich, between the young and the old.
Melleņu gari , Latvia, 90 min, HD, Society
A Gypsy family is forced to make their living in a Latvian forest by picking berries. These people might seem happy, humorous and a bit wild. But when the night falls, the noisy crowd gets silent. The Gypsies confess that the forest is inhabited by ghosts and spirits who turn their lives into nightmares. The leader of the camp Bruno has seen a ghost as a man with no face. His granddaughter Sindija as an animal with red eyes and Bruno's aunt Irma claims that a ghost blew out her campfire. Bruno has all the responsibility. They need the money to survive. To feel safer and to pick a sufficient amount of berries, they move their camp. Haunted by vicious ghosts and spooky events, this freedom-loving family has no time to waste.
Lithuania / Belarus
Igrushki , Belarus, Lithuania, 52 min, HD, Personal View, Portrait, Social Issues, Society
The documentary film Igrushki is a portrait of the small town of Zhlobin, Belorus, sometimes nicknamed the ‘town of fairytales’. Its locals have come up with a business idea to make and sell plush toys. There are tons of toys in the town and they are everywhere: in the street, markets, train station. And they no longer amaze anyone – they seem to have been living with the people of Zhlobin for ages. An exotic sight for a passerby, this is actually a poor, wild and utterly unprofitable business for the locals. The film tells five stories of the ordinary people of Zhlobin. They are all making toys, selling them, having chats, drinks, making toys again, singing, fighting and... making toys again. Nothing extraordinary takes place in the film, just like in the life of Zhlobin. Everything is seemingly stalled, absurd, yet at the same time, such is the reality that one cannot escape. Nor is anybody trying to. It is like it is. That is Zhlobin. That is Belarus.
Poland, 52 min, HD, Adventure and Sports, Creative, Current Affairs, Human Rights, Politics
A documentary film about the mutual influence of sports and global politics. The frontlines in this clash between Russia, Georgia and Abkhazia are set by domino pieces...
Russia / Germany
Russia, 80 min, HD, Current Affairs, Social Issues
Good Night, White Pride examines various facets of the antifascist movement in contemporary Russia. It provides a glimpse into the inner workings of various antifascist organizations and their members. The underlying subject matter is the shocking advent of fascism in Russia in the recent past and diehard, guerilla-like resistance to it on behalf of a zealous few. Where do the Russian antifascists gather the incredible devotion, determination and audacity necessary for them to persevere? Would a withdrawal from violence they become inherently engulfed in signify advancement for Russian activists or bring about their demise? What are future prospects for the activists themselves and their agenda?
Serbia, 90 min, HD, Creative, Current Affairs, Personal View, Portrait, Social Issues
At the beginning there is the myth - an old graveyard was dug over to build a road and ever since people are frequently dying in car accidents on that road. The two-lane road - the Ibarska Highway - connects the north and the south of Serbia, starts in the capital of Belgrade and ends in the divided city of Mitrovica in today’s Kosovo.With its histories and myths, political assassinations, restaurants where only truckers dare to go, provincial intellectuals, lover motels, prostitutes, local singers, born-again Christians, tycoons, unemployed gamblers, poor neighborhoods, big dreams and lost perspectives, the Ibarska Highway is a grotesque, funny, sad and a sober portrait of Serbia today. It is as if the ghosts of the old graveyard have taken over the entire road and the whole country. Along that road, we meet nine characters.
Zvonky šťastie , Slovak Republic, 80 min, 35 mm, Creative, Drama doc
Perhaps the film is best described as a ‘documentary happening’. We see a group of Roma people watching the film “Gypsies Go to Heaven’ in Dolina, a small Roma settlement in Slovakia. Inspired by the film, they decide to create their own theatre play, which would reflect their lives. They rehearse in real locations, at home and in different places within their living environment. The characters from the movie are replaced by authentic inhabitants of the village. They want to show situations that they are afraid of. They have fear of death, pain and Gadjos and they are afraid of the world outside of their village. They want to invite Gadjos from the neighbouring villages to watch the play. The Roma people with the help from the film crew have to tackle small tasks. With the small cameras they record their own life and situations which cause them fear. The film will be a fluid image of a wild organism that grows in its own unforeseeable ways.Where is the border between illusion and reality. How can Roma people overcome their fear and escape the cycle of the outsiders’ life that they live in their village.
United Kingdom, 60 min, HD, Human Rights, Politics, Social Issues
The film tells the story of Ewa Jasiewicz, born in 1978, a British journalist and human rights activist of Polish origin. She graduated from Goldsmith College in anthropology, presently she concentrates on social work and free-lance journalism. She was one of the few western journalists present in Gaza during Israeli attacks in 2008 and 2009. Her reports from Iraq and Palestine were published in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and Le Monde Diplomatique. She took part in a humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza that was attacked in May 2010 by an Israeli commando, killing nine activists and injuring twenty others. The film follows Ewa's life for one year, accompanying her on her trips to Gaza, at left-wing rallies, etc., and examines why she became an activist. Is it a blemish in her CV or does she have a special sensitivity and awareness about what is happening in the world today?