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Winners of the 25th Ji.hlava IDFF have been announced

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The 25th Ji.hlava IDFF has announced its winners. The award for the most notable international documentary film was granted to Lines by Barbora Sliepková, the best Czech documentary is Brotherhood by Italian director Francesco Montagner. The jury of the Testimonies section appreciated How to Kill a Cloud by Finnish director Tuija Halttunen. The award for original approach went to Chinese director Rikun Zhu for his film No Desire to Hide. The Contribution to World Cinema award was granted to director Jana Ševčíková. The festival trophy of the 25th annual Ji.hlava IDFF was designed by Federico Díaz. And Ji.hlava goes on(line)! 

The 25th anniversary edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF presented the awards, but the documentary joy is far from over! At 6:00 PM on October 31 is when the festival will take on the form of a two-week long Ji.hlava Online. It will offer more than a hundred films from the programme of this year's live edition. The audience will be able to see not only most of the winning films, but also the most interesting ones. All films in the programme will be available to watch until midnight on November 14. Accreditations for the live version of the festival are also valid online. The film programme will be geoblocked for the Czech Republic.

Festival visitors can also look forward to live streams. Ji.hlava will continue a live service until November 3. The service will include interviews, film tips, as well as online discussions of the Inspiration Forum. Each day, Q&As with filmmakers will be featured as well. The first one – with Russian director Vitaly Mansky – will take place on October 31 at 8 PM.

And what can documentary film fans expect in 2022? Next year, the Ji.hlava audience can look forward to an extensive showcase of Filipino documentary cinema.

Opus Bonum: Lines

Opus Bonum, a section representing contemporary international documentary production, showed a selection of sixteen films. The six-member jury selected the film Lines by Barbora Sliepková. “For the exceptional way in which concepts such as beauty, intimacy and space are intertwined through a specific cinematic framework that unanimously pushed us to reflect on the visual representation of social and economic contradictions and connections within an urbanised society,” said the jury. Sliepková also won the Best Debut award. “For achieving a complex and perfectly well crafted work,” added the jury. The authors of the winning film also receive a financial prize of 10,000 USD.

The section’s Special Mention went to When You Are Close to Me by Italian director Laura Viezzoli. “For sensitive and intimate space that the camera can perceive beyond the preconceptions to go deeper into humanity,” decided the jury represented at the stage by Syrian writer and filmmaker Orwa Al Mokdad and Romanian producer Anamaria Antoci, among others.

The jury also grant an award to best film from the region of Central and Eastern Europe. It was given to Romanian director Sebastian Mihăilescu for his film You Are Ceaușescu to Me. “For playfully reconstructing Romanian history by making use of reenactment to analyze those staging it in a self reflective narrative,” said the jury statement. The authors of the winning film also receive a financial prize of 3,000 EUR in cooperation with the festival’s partner – Current Time TV.

A Special Mention in this category was obtained by Belarusian director Andrei Kutsila for his film When Flowers Are Not Silent. “For daring to raise and support women's voices expressing tough and sensitive topics of the people that live under oppressive regimes,” explained the jury members.

The Best Edition award in the Opus Bonum section went to Dark Light Voyage by Mexican director Tin Dirdamal. “For taking us through this cinematographic trip in which time and space merge to challenge the traditional documentary form,” said the jury.

The Best Cinematography award was taken home by Barbu Bălăşoiu for You Are Ceausescu To Me. “For creating a simple lively relationship between the space and the characters which was able to frame very difficult historical and political story,” appreciated the jury.

The award for original approach went to Chinese director Rikun Zhu for his film No Desire to Hide. “This film that took us with a raw and uncompromise approach to knowing the debts of the intimacy of the young Chinese generation,” said the jury in their statement.

The winner of the Best Sound Design is Michal Horváth for the film Lines. “For the way in which the sound and music are combined, revealing this urban symphony,” said the jury members.

The Student Jury Award in the Opus Bonum section went to Portuguese director Pedro Figueiredo Neto for his film YOON. “The student jury selected a film that shows several journeys, both geographical and mental, that the protagonist undergoes. The film takes us on a journey using subtle, almost invisible, camerawork, the atmosphere enhanced with incessant voice messages. This is a film that has a journey in its title,” concluded the student jury.

Czech Joy: Brotherhood

The competition sections showcased 120 films, 64 in world premiere, 18 in international and 18 European premieres. Czech Joy showcased nineteen Czech documentary films. The best Czech documentary is Brotherhood by Italian director Francesco Montagner. “The microcosm of a Bosnian pastoral family surprisingly opens up topics that impact all of us.  Without being literal or making the slightest compromises in audiovisual expression,” said the six-member jury including the winner of last year’s Czech Joy section, Jindřich Andrš, and journalist Marie Sýkorová.  The authors of the winning film also receive a financial prize of CZK 200,000.

Two Special Mentions have been awarded in the section. This is a question asked by director Zuzana Piussi in her film Ordeal. “Zuzana Piussi shows us that engaged cinema makes a difference.  The good Darth Vader of Czechoslovak documentary film.  May the Force be with us!” stated the jury.

The second Special Mention was granted to Milan Klepikov for his film Preparations for Film T. “A special mention is given by the jury to the film with the largest number of endings.  The fatality of the future mixes playfully with ease here, letting our imaginations run wild,” said the jury’s statement.

The best editing award went to Jana Vlčková for the film Out in Force directed by Martin Mareček. “A careful composition of contradictory meanings forms a debate that cannot be ignored. May the Force be with documentary editors,” concluded the section’s jury.

The Best Sound Award was received by Viera Marinová for her Love, Dad directed by Diana Can Van Nguyen. “An animated documentary calls for spectacular sound rendering. In a concept by Viera Marinová, fragility, sobriety, and creativity reign supreme.” 

The Best Cinematography award in the Czech Joy section went to cinematographer Prokop Souček for Brotherhood. “Images created by Prokop Souček are proof he's one of the best cinematographers of his generation.  Using a visual intensity not commonly seen in documentary films, he allows us to immerse ourselves in the world of the film's characters,” said the jury.

The Student Award Jury went to Leaving Beginnings Behind by Linda Kallistová Jablonská. “Out of all the films we had the opportunity to see, the documentary Leaving Beginnings Behind appealed to us the most. It's a film that managed to tell with incredible ease an otherwise highly fascinating story of hope and the future. Through the camera lens, we had the chance to witness the world of those who wish to live their dream freely, which we’re often separated from by an extremely difficult  journey,” agreed the student jury members.

Fascinations In and Out a Window

The most remarkable documentary film in the Fascinations section is the Australian film In and Out a Window by duo of creators Richard Tuohy and Dianna Barrie. “Intense light impulses have an immediate effect, inducing an incredible physiological experience. The intoxicating vibrations of the image attack and trigger feelings of anxiety, claustrophobia, vertigo... Even a beautiful view from a window becomes unbearable. Locked in our homes we each wished for it to be over. It's good to know that the film has an end... Let this pandemic time also have an end,” said the family jury composed of filmmaker Daria Kashcheeva and script editor and film editor Alexander Kashcheev.

Exprmntl.cz: Beautiful Solution

The best Czech experimental title in the Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz is the title Beautiful Solution by director and composer Elišká Cílková. “The director poses a burning environmental question: can we achieve climate balance without aggressive practices? Through the composition of gentle terrain sound atmospheres and the poetic visual structure of the work, she offers the possibility of a harmonious return to natural processes,” claimed the jury.  

Testimonies: How to Kill a Cloud

The Testimonies section showed nineteen films. The jury granted the title of best testimony on nature to How to Kill a Cloud by Finnish director Tuija Halttunen. “The film wisely connects all the thematic lines drawn by this year's Testimonies section: nature, politics, and knowledge. Through the story of Finnish meteorologist Hannele Korhonen, we follow efforts to influence natural events as well as the contradictory ethical dimension of political and scientific dilemmas, which often transcend the limits of our own imagination. However, the answers to foreboding questions remain written in the clouds,” says the jury statement.

A Special Mention then went to From the Wild Sea by Danish director Robin Petré.  “In both a receptive and skilfully figurative manner, the film recalls the core values of nature and the importance of caring for it. We follow a series of intense scenes from a rescue station for marine species and are directly confronted by the silent anguish of sea animals, oftentimes a result of human activity,” said the jury.

Best testimony on knowledge appreciated with a Special Mention the Dark Red Forest by Chinese director Jin Huaqing. “This documentary filled with captivating visuals leads viewers to contemplation, all while raising issues following a spiritual path to knowledge. The spiritual imagery presented on film serves as an open invitation for us to visit the intimate setting of these Tibetan nuns and witness their unique experience of sacred service. The film is pervaded by a cyclical motif of transience and demise that leads to a crackdown from Chinese government officials and eventually the forced shutdown of one of the oldest nunneries in Tibet,” explains the jury.

Special Mention for best film about politics went to Gorbachev.Heaven directed by Vitaly Mansky. “The generously calm yet engaging pace of the film allows for an immediate encounter with the protagonist, whom we perceive not only as a political icon but also above all as a real-life aging man whose own notion of power and the meaning of life is both inspiring and piercing,” says the jury statement.

Contrubtion to World Cinema Award this year goes to director Jana Ševčíková who is currently finishing her eighth film. “Jana Ševčíková’s talent was appreciated mainly abroad,” explains Marek Hovorka. Her films were shown at festivals in Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris, Nyon and Leipzig, among others and screened at MOMA or the Harvard University in USA. And she was always present also in Ji.hlava: where she won the Audience Award for her film The Rite of Spring (2002). “Jana Ševčíková has been ahead of her time. She always clung to her own independence and made films exclusively in her own production, even at a time when this was far from common. Her deep empathy, dedication to the film form, liveliness and authentic humanism run through her entire film work and are an adornment not only of Czech and not only of ethnographic film," adds Marek Hovorka.

This year’s audience award went to Heaven directed by the duo Adéla Špaljová and Tomáš Etzler.

The award for the best short doc in the Short Joy section went to director Maria Rojas Arias for her film Open Mountain.

The Silver Eye Award 2021 for the best feature film of the East Silver Market, granted annually by the Institute of Documentary Film at the Ji.hlava IDFF went to director Sasha Kulak for her film Mara. “The jury has unanimously decided to award a film that elaborates Mythology to confront an urgent political context with bravery unifying the fight for freedom and the constitution of beauty,” said the jury composed of Rebecca De Pas (Visions du Réel), Maarten Stoltz (Movies That Matter) and Cintia Gil (Film Curator). Special Mention went to Orpheus by Vadim Kostrov. “For seeing the risk of experiencing with life and filmmaking in modern Russia, the Jury has decided to give the Special mention to Orpheus by Vadim Kostrov,“ concluded the jury.

 Sounds of Weariness by Taymour Boulos is the winner of the short film category. “We’re awarding the film that reminds us of the importance of having public spaces, which serve as a meeting hub for human interaction where you can share your own experiences and ideas with others.   An intimate and personal reflection is told in a subtle way, adding to the contemporary discussion about migration and mental health issues. The winning film's aesthetic of using a floating camera helps to create an overall outstanding audiovisual piece,” stated the jury composed of Marija Milovanović (Vienna Independent Shorts), Lenka Tyrpáková (Pragueshorts Film Festival) and Emilia Mazik (Short Waves Festival).

The Best Documentary Book Award went to Zašlá chuť morušek / Cestovní zpráva čarodějova učně (The Taste of Mulberries / Travel Message of the Wizard’s Apprentice) by Miloslav Nevrlý.The Taste of Mulberries would indeed be very easy to reduce to a book of memories written by a natural scientist. However, that is not true. It represents a distinct piece of documentary literature. What may appear as lyricism or romanticism are, in Nevrlý’s terms, methods by which he mediates essential facts: he documents the process by which animal and plant organisms, landscape morphology and meteorological phenomena co-create humankind.  Naturalistic erudition combined with literary precision and introspection conveys ‘data’ that neither a biological study of local ecosystems nor a sociological analysis of a given area can produce. And that is why this thin but fundamentally ‘strongly rooted’ book deserves to win this year’s award,” emphasised the jury including Apolena Rychlíková, publisher Tereza Horváthová, screenwriter Lukáš Senft and literary critic Radim Kopáč. “Nevrlý is a secret legend. His way of walking through nature has always been closer to literature and poetry, which he inseparably ties to the landscape. His way of walking is the walk of a man uncovering the landscape layer by layer, peering into it, and at the same time ritualizing it. His small texts are a precise document of human relationship to nature, the times in which he lived, and their relationship to himself," the jury added.

Festival Identity Award was this year won by One World Film Festival. The award for the Best Festival Poster went to Istanbul Film Festival.

 

LIST OF AWARD-WINNING FILMS

Films on the Ji.hlava Online programme are underlined.

Czech Joy

WINNER: Brotherhood

SPECIAL MENTION: Ordeal

SPECIAL MENTION: Preparations for Film T.

BEST EDITING: Out in Force

BEST SOUND: Love, Dad

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Brotherhood

STUDENT JURY AWARD: Leaving Beginnings Behind

Opus Bonum

WINNER: Lines

SPECIAL MENTION: When You Are Close To Me

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: You Are Ceaușescu to Me

SPECIAL MENTION FOR A FILM FROM CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: When Flowers Are Not Silent

BEST EDITING: Dark Light Voyage

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: You Are Ceausescu to Me

BEST DOCUMENTARY DEBUT: Lines

AWARD FOR ORIGINAL APPROACH: No Desire to Hide

BEST SOUND DESIGN: Lines

STUDENT JURY AWARD: YOON

 

Fascinations

WINNER: In and Out a Window

Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz

WINNER: Beautiful Solution

Testimonies

WINNER: Testimony on Nature How to Kill a Cloud

SPECIAL MENTION: Best Testimony on Nature: From the Wild Sea

SPECIAL MENTION: Best Testimony on Knowledge: Dark Red Forest

SPECIAL MENTION: Best Testimony on Politics: Gorbachev. Heaven

Audience Award

WINNER: Heaven

Short Joy

WINNER: Open Mountain

Contribution to World Cinema Award: Jana Ševčíková

Best Documentary Book Award Zašlá chuť morušek / Cestovní zpráva čarodějova učně

Silver Eye

Winner: FEATURE FILMS: Mara

Special Mention: FEATURE FILMS: Orpheus

Winner: SHORT FILMS – Sounds Of Weariness

Festival poster

Festival Identity – One World festival

Audience Award: Istanbul Film Festival


The live part of the 25th Ji.hlava IDFF will end on Sunday, October 31. From 6:00 PM the festival will continue as Ji.hlava Online offering over 100 films for all accredited visitors. If you already have a valid festival accreditation, all viewers need to do is log in to your personal profile at the Ji.hlava IDFF website via their Visitor Page account. Those who have not yet bought an accreditation can get their online pass for CZK 400. The films can be streamed until midnight on Sunday Nov 14. The films will be geoblocked for the Czech Republic. All of the films will be available from the start of the programme of Ji.hlava Online until its end. Selected film titles have Czech subtitles.


More information at www.ji-hlava.com and on the festival’s Facebook and Instagram profiles.

 

 

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