The Ji.hlava Academy enrols its first students
by Tina Poglajen
- A platform aiming to inspire, educate and offer networking opportunities brings together experienced talents in the world of contemporary non-fiction cinema
A new addition to the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival’s elaborate Industry Programme, the Ji.hlava Academy runs from 26-29 October at the 21st edition of the Czech gathering. The creative lab has brought together a diverse array of those dedicated to making, reflecting upon or sharing contemporary non-fiction films; among them are film directors, cinematographers, editors, producers and visual artists, who will present their work on films or videos they have been involved in, as well as film and art critics and festival programmers, who will introduce critical or curatorial texts on cinema. Meanwhile, all of the presentations will be followed by moderated discussions.
The programme featuring lectures, talks, discussions and screenings is intended to broaden the audiences’ perceptions and the participants’ observational skills, as well as their visual styles and authorial approaches. While some parts of the programme are open to all participants, others are carefully tailored to each participant or the projects taking part. Among this year’s lecturers and tutors are Italian film critic and former festival director Luciano Barisone, Hungarian film and theatre director, cinematographer and writer Fred Kelemen, and Vienna-based director and screenwriter Anja Salomonowitz.
The first workshop, mentored by Salomonowitz, featured a discussion on how to write a film script and how to cast people in a movie. As a filmmaker who has developed a cinematic language in which documentary, fiction and film essay are intertwined with each other, Salomonowitz focused especially on how to create a cinematic language that transcends the limits of the documentary form, screening her film It Happened Just Before, in addition to excerpts of her other works. In the coming days, Kelemen will hold his lecture together with his student, Israeli director Miki Polonski, who will also screen a selection of his short films, among them Shmama and 1 Building and 40 People Dancing, for which he won multiple awards at international film festivals. Barisone will discuss how the film breathes through its use of frequencies of light and sound, screening The House Is Black, the acclaimed short film by Iranian director Forough Farrokhzad.
“Inspiration cannot be measured in grams, kilograms or any other unit,” said festival director Marek Hovorka in his welcome speech to the first-ever participants of the Ji.hlava Academy, “but we can create a space where a group of people can show their works and discuss them with others.” He also recounted how, despite financial troubles that prevented an extensive promotion of the first edition of the Ji.hlava Academy, it seems that the idea is becoming an immediate success: after publishing the call, some 1,600 people visited the Ji.hlava Academy website, while more than 100 people applied from all over the world. The 37 participants this year hail from the Czech Republic, but also from other countries as diverse as Finland, Egypt, France, the Philippines, the UK, Brazil, Slovenia and others.
Additional information about the 2017 Ji.hlava Academy can be found here.
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