Dead Slow Ahead and Under the Sun triumph at Jihlava
by Vladan Petkovic
- The jury decided not to give out an official award in the main national Czech Joy section
The 19th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (27 October-1 November) ended with the victory of the Spanish-French co-production Dead Slow Ahead [+see also:
interview: Mauro Herce
film profile] by Mauro Herce in the main Opus Bonum section for films from all over the world. The meditative documentary about a sailor on a freighter ship world-premiered at Locarno, where it won the Special Jury Prize in Filmmakers of the Present. The jury was, according to tradition at Jihlava, composed of only one person: legendary Russian filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky.
In the Between the Seas section, focused on films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Award for Best Film went to Vitaly Mansky's documentary on North Korea, Under the Sun [+see also:
interview: Vitaly Mansky
film profile] (Czech Republic-Russia-Germany-North Korea). A Special Mention was given to Abdul & Hamza by Serbia’s Marko Grba Singh, about two Somali refugees spending time in a temporary shelter consisting of an abandoned house near the Serbian-Romanian border. The jury comprised Iraqi director Abbas Fahdel, Bosnian producer Amra Bakšić Čamo, US film critic Daniel Walber, Hungarian cinematographer Fred Kelemen and Slovakian filmmaker Viera Čakányová.
The national Czech Joy section turned out to be somewhat controversial: the jury, made up of translator and playwright Iva Honsova, film historian Jiří Voráč, writer-director Martin Dušek, multi-disciplinary artist Milan Knížák and poet Miloš Doležal, decided not to give out an official Award for Best Film, instead opting for two Honourable Mentions.
“The jury found none of the films nominated for this year’s award worthy of the main prize,” reads the jury statement. “The films lack a clear dramaturgical line, suffer from extensive use of footage, many of them fail to reach beyond the limits of common TV reportage, and the authors’ voices are often incoherent and unconvincing.”
One Special Mention went to Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík by Tomáš Potočný, about the privatisation and bankruptcy of the famous Poldi Kladno steel mill in the 1990s. The other was given to Tomáš Kratochvíl's Czechs Against Czechs [+see also:
film profile], the director's personal exploration of the situation of the Roma minority in the Czech Republic and the right-wing movement against it.
The First Lights Award, for the best film by first- or second-time filmmakers from the three main competition sections, went to Vladimir Tomić's Berlinale title Flotel Europa [+see also:
film profile]. Czech filmmaker Kristýna Bartošová received a Special Mention for The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček, about a Czech doctor who is an enthusiastic defender of Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladić.
The jury was composed of Alberto Lastrucci, the director of Festival dei Popoli, Anna Hoffman, a programmer for the Berlinale Forum, David Wilson, director of the True/False Festival, Korean filmmaker Hyosook Hong and Nuno Sena, programmer of IndieLisboa.
In the Short Joy competition, the jury represented by the Czech-Slovak Surrealist Groupchose New Life by Bolivian director Kiro Russo as Best Short Documentary Film. Vít Klusák's Czech Journal: Matrix AB received the Audience Award.
Quantum by Italian art group Flatform triumphed in the Fascinations section for experimental documentaries, where the jury was made up of multimedia artist Elena Gui, and experimental filmmaker and distributor Emmanuel Lefrant. The same jury decided on the winner in the Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz section for Czech experimental documentaries and opted for Listen to the Horizon by Anna Kryvenko.
The Silver Eye Awards, given out to films submitted to the East Silver Market, went to Snails by Poland's Grzegorz Szczepaniak in the shorts category; in the mid-length category, Casa Blanca by Aleksandra Maciuszek, also from Poland, won Best Film, while Germany’s Jan Soldat received a Special Mention for Prison System 4614 [+see also:
film profile]; and in the feature-length category, Austrian film Over the Years [+see also:
film profile] by Nikolaus Geyrhalter received the Best Film Award, while a Special Mention went to the German-Hungarian co-production Drifter by Gábor Hörcher.
In the Festival Identity competition for Best Festival Poster, the main award went to ZagrebDox, while the Cleveland International Film Festival and the Krakow Film Festival split the Audience Award.