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"L'empatia creata dalla narrazione può essere un potente carburante per agire"

Rapporto industria: Documentario

Veronika Janatková • Produttrice, Pandistan

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La produttrice ceca spiega il suo approccio al documentario come strumento di attivismo

Veronika Janatková  • Produttrice, Pandistan

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

An interview with Veronika Janatková, producer for Czech company Pandistan, now selected for the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Veronika Janatková: 
I have been involved with films for quite many years. Over this time, I have developed a deep appreciation for the power of film to make us question, provoke, and hopefully inspire or maybe even change how we think about the world. I am passionate about filmmaking, telling stories through the audiovisual language.
I find the language of film to be a powerful tool for facilitating social dialogue. When watching a movie we can exercise critical thinking, it can become a springboard for discussion and reflection, be it the about situation in society, our political choices, or an alternative to the reality presented by the corporate media.

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Projects with socio-political themes are a constant in my work and by this I hope to contribute to this dialogue. And yes, I regard it as a tool for activism. Empathy created by storytelling can be a powerful fuel for action.

How do you achieve and maintain work-life balance and foster overall well-being?
It is easy. I don't. Documentary filmmaking can be very fulfilling and I am grateful I found my passion. It can also be a long and very bumpy road. One can feel exhausted, alone, stuck or even stranded. It is crucial to have a supportive community around. I am lucky to live and navigate in a very caring environment of family and friends. And that is the most important thing for my well-being.

Where do you find audiences for your films?
The hard realisation has been – there is no automatic interest and no automatic audiences. It the current environment of the influx of films, it is very hard to get attention. So when working on the distribution of a film, I try to be very precise in targeting the potential groups that might be interested. It is not enough to think that documentary goers will be interested, one has to go beyond and dig deeper. Also I have to admit that I always look for a distribution partner to bring out a film.

What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
I focus on films on social-political topics, often about human rights in a totalitarian context. The documentaries I have worked on have taken years, the longest so far was 9 years in production and the shortest was done in the high speed of 4 years. Long term processes and research is important for me. One has to understand the setting, the people and the context, one has to gain trust.

Currently I have two films in production. The Kyrgyz-Czech coproduction Panic Button by Samara Sagynbaeva that we hope to release in 2024. It discusses the value of free speech and media in a post-Soviet context. And a punk film-essay shot in Cuba Música o muerte (Music or Death) by Hana Jakrlová. Following Gorki, a frontman of a punk band Porno Para Ricardo, the film questions how long a person can sustain protest and resistance against an authoritarian regime. And a few more are there taking shape, in the research stage.

I have directed a couple of films too. A few years ago I made my first feature Ticket to the Moon on the utopias connected to space explorations. And now I feel the aching to go back to directing. Also I am back to school – I have decided to go back to the academic ground to anchor the work I do and the topics I work on with more theory, I am in the midst of the master’s programme in social-cultural anthropology, and I enjoy it very much.

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EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2025 edition is 31st March 2024.

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