email print share on facebook share on twitter share on google+

JIHLAVA 2017 Awards

Documentaries on contemporary European politics shine at Ji.hlava


- At the 21st edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF, the top prizes went to works from Eastern Europe examining and resisting the dominant public mindsets of their countries

Documentaries on contemporary European politics shine at Ji.hlava
Director Piotr Stasik with his Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film Award for Opera About Poland (© JIDFF)

Focusing on Czech, Eastern European and world documentaries, the Ji.hlava IDFF came to a close on Sunday 29 October after a ceremony held at the DKO Cinema on Saturday, where the jurors gave out as many as 21 awards, most of which went to European films.

Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina, who gave out the award in the most prestigious section of the Ji.hlava Film Festival, Opus Bonum, awarded Best World Documentary Film 2017 to The Wall by Russian director Dmitry Bogolubov, a documentary examination of the cult of Joseph Stalin that still exists in Russia. Pakalnina praised The Wall “for using the film language to express the inexpressible”. Bogolubov, who couldn’t attend the ceremony in person, stated that it is important for him as a Russian to share his thoughts with European people and the people of the Czech Republic: “The more people do it, the fewer walls there will be in the world.” 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The Between the Seas competition section was established at Ji.hlava in order to focus on films made in countries “from the Baltic to the Adriatic Sea”, which rarely get any attention at major film festivals elsewhere in Europe and around the world, according to festival director Marek Hovorka. The members of the international jury, composed of Illia GladshteinNicole BrenezRobert KirchhoffThomas A Østbye and Tiffany Pritchard, awarded Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film 2017 to Opera About Poland by Piotr Stasik. For the first time this year, the winner received a $10,000 award provided by the festival's new partner, Current Time TV. The experimental documentary about the mindset of Polish people dominated by right-wing extremism, based on Catholic nationalism, was made “because the situation in Poland is closer to the communist times every day”, according to Stasik. The Special Mention in the section went to People Pebble by Jivko Darakchiev and Perrine Gamot, which impressed the jury with its visual experimentation.

The big winner in the Czech Joy programme section – a selection of Czech documentaries – was the documentary Czech Journal: The Limits of Work by Apolena Rychlíková, which also won the Audience Award at the Ji.hlava IDFF. The jurors, Alice KrajčírováAndrea HanáčkováKrištof KinteraMiroslav JanekRozálie Kohoutová and Tomáš Bojar, applauded Saša Uhlová, a Czech journalist who spent six months exploring working conditions in the worst-paid jobs in the country and who then wrote a personal series of reports, which later formed the basis of the film. In the jurors’ opinion, she “managed to look at the everyday reality of exploited people through honest, focused and empathic eyes, free of ideological bias”. Rychlíková stated that the award went to “all of the heroes of the capitalist world”. 

Here is the complete list of award winners at the 21st Ji.hlava IDFF:

Opus Bonum

Best World Documentary Film
The Wall – Dmitry Bogolubov (Russia) (medium-length film)

Between the Seas

Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film
Opera About Poland – Piotr Stasik (Poland) (medium-length film)
Special Mention
People Pebble – Jivko Darakchiev, Perrine Gamot (UK/France) (short film)

Czech Joy

Best Czech Documentary Film
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work Apolena Rychlíková (Czech Republic)
Special Mention
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem – Jindřich Andrš (Czech Republic) (short film)
Everything Has Its Own Time – Viola Ježková (Czech Republic) (short film)

Student Jury Award
Milda [+see also:
film profile
 – Pavel Křemen (Czech Republic)


Best Experimental Documentary Film
Boat People – Sarah Wood (UK) (short film)
Special Mention
The End of Time – Milcho Manchevski (Cuba/USA) (short film)


Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film
Can – Lucie Navrátilová (Czech Republic) (short film)
Special Mention
Tradition – Kateřina Turečková (Czech Republic) (short film)

First Lights

Best Documentary Debut Film
Meteors [+see also:
film review
interview: Gürcan Keltek
film profile
 – Gürcan Keltek (Turkey/Netherlands)
Panoptic – Rana Eid (Lebanon/United Arab Emirates)

Student Jury Award
The Making of Justice Sarah Vanhee (Belgium)

Short Joy - Best Short Documentary Film
Interiors & Exteriors – Ashique Mostafa (Bangladesh)

Best Testimony on Politics
Last Men in Aleppo [+see also:
film review
film profile
 – Feras Fayyad (Denmark/Syria/Germany)

Best Testimony on Knowledge
Panic Attack – Ernesto Ardito (Argentina)

Best Testimony on Nature
Nature: All Rights Reserved – Sebastian Mulder (Netherlands) (short film)

Audience Award
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work – Apolena Rychlíková 

Contribution to World Cinema Award
Marcel Ophuls

Respekt Award for Best Czech Television, Video and Online Report of the Past Year
Ruličkáři – Janek Rubeš 

Silver Eye Award
Sand and Blood [+see also:
film review
film profile
 – Matthias Krepp (Austria)

Best Festival Poster/Festival Identity + Audience Award
Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.