REPORT: Czech Docs… Coming Soon
by Vladan Petkovic
Cineuropa profiles the new Czech documentary projects from East Doc Platform's Czech Docs… Coming Soon event, including the winner, In the Name of Allah
One of the most attractive events at Prague's East Doc Platform, Czech Docs… Coming Soon, last week showcased five upcoming Czech documentaries, in collaboration with the Czech Audiovisual Producers' Association. The projects, which are at various stages of production, were presented to representatives of prestigious film festivals, sales agents, distributors and the public.
There is also an award given out to the most promising project, a full pass for Sheffield Doc/Fest, which festival director Elizabeth McIntyre handed to In the Name of Allah by Italian-born director Francesco Montagner, known for 2014's Animata Resistenza, which won the Venice Classics Award for the Best Documentary on Cinema.
In the Name of Allah by Francesca Montagner
In the Name of Allah is set in a Bosnian village, where the protagonist, shepherd Ibrahim Delić, preaches to Balkan and European Muslims to join ISIS. Bosnian rural areas are known for being one of the main hotspots for the recruitment of radicalised youth, including Delić's own children. The project is in development, and is being produced by Pavla Janoušková Kubečková of nutprodukce, known for her work on FC Roma and Spoor, Ondřej Šejnoha of FAMU and Nadia Trevisan of Italy's Nefertiti.
Another project thematically connected to the above is In Mosul by director Jana Andert, who spent eight months in Iraq in 2016, filming on the front line of the Battle of Mosul with the Golden Division, an elite Iraqi Army squad. She did so without the support of the TV stations she usually worked for, which enabled her to be completely independent in her work. However, Czech Television subsequently picked up the project, which is now in post-production, with Jan Macola (We Are Never Alone) of Prague-based Mimesis Film on board as producer.
Kibera Stories by Martin Páv
Another project in post-production, and also with Czech Television on board, is Kibera Stories (working title), the first feature-length documentary by director Martin Páv, set in the titular Nairobi slum, the largest in Africa. It follows various local protagonists connected through a young photographer who is trying to depict Kibera in another way, against the backdrop of the 2017 Kenyan elections. Zuzana Kučerová of Frame Films is producing.
The new project by one of the Czech Republic's most prominent producers, Paris-born Artemio Benki, now making his debut as a feature-length documentary director, is Fugue, and unsurprisingly, there is a strong line-up of co-production companies on board, in addition to his own Artcam Films: France's Petit à Petit Production, Argentina's Lomo Cine and Austria's Golden Girls Filmproduktion. The film follows Argentinian virtuoso pianist and composer Martin P, who, since his breakdown four years ago, has been a patient of El Borda, the largest, most notable but also most controversial psychiatric hospital in Latin America. The project is in production.
My Unknown Soldier by Anna Kryvenko
Finally, the project My Unknown Soldier, currently in post-production and directed by Anna Kryvenko, has already been described on Cineuropa (see the report) when it won an award at Trieste's When East Meets West. Now, the national broadcasters in all three co-production countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Latvia, have got on board.