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Julian Assange to be a guest speaker at the Jihlava International Documentary Festival


- The founder of WikiLeaks is set to collaborate with documentarians and engage in discussions with festival visitors

Julian Assange to be a guest speaker at the Jihlava International Documentary Festival
Julian Assange (© Allen Clarke)

The upcoming 19th edition of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival will welcome “the dissident of the digital age”, Julian Assange, as a guest. Assange will speak at the fifth edition of the festival’s Inspiration Forum, a platform designed to explore new topics in documentary films “preceding the filmmaker’s decision as to which subject is to be developed”. It will be curated by Czech director and producer Filip Remunda. “We have been trying to get Mr Assange involved in the festival’s programme for over three years, and we highly value his promise to participate, albeit through the mediation of the Ecuadorian Embassy. It is well known that he rarely makes public appearances. Visitors to Jihlava will have a unique chance to ask him various questions,” says the festival’s director, Marek Hovorka. “As part of the Inspiration Forum, Julian Assange will also collaborate with selected documentarians on their work.” The forum has hosted Joseph Yu-Shek Cheng, one of the founders of Occupy Central, writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali, and FEMEN at previous editions.

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“Eternity” was chosen as the central theme of this year’s edition, as the festival director explains: “We search for films whose message will be eternal, just like the paintings in the cave of Altamira. We also aim to change the perspective – from factual everyday life to eternity, to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk’s favourite ‘sub specie aeternitatis’.” The backbone of the festival comprises six competition sections: Opus bonum (world documentaries), Between the Seas (docs from the Central and Eastern European region), Czech Joy (a showcase of domestic documentary production), First Lights (shining the spotlight on debuts), Fascinations (a selection of experimental films) and Short Joy (European documentary shorts). The line-up is yet to be revealed.

The gathering also boasts a wide variety of industry programmes: the fourth edition of the Emerging Producers workshop, aimed at bridging the gap between European producers and film professionals; the Festival Identity networking platform for film-festival representatives; a one-day conference on experimental film distribution, entitled Conference Fascinations; the East Silver Market, which supports distributors and producers from Central and Eastern Europe; the Ex Oriente Film training programme, which supports creative documentary films from Central and Eastern Europe; and Docu Talents from the East, a presentation of new documentary projects in production or post-production.

The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival runs from 27 October to 1 November.

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