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PRODUCTION Czech Republic / Slovakia

The State Capture reveals the mechanisms involved in pushing narratives


- Slovakian documentarian Zuzana Piussi maps out the mercurial media landscape and the struggle undertaken by special interest groups in her latest project

The State Capture reveals the mechanisms involved in pushing narratives
The State Capture by Zuzana Piussi

Slovakian independent documentarian Zuzana Piussi went on trial for using an unauthorised segment in her exposé on the domestic judiciary system Disease of the Third Power back in 2012 (see the news). However, this did not stop her from pursuing and lifting the lid on controversial political topics in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Last year, on Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day, she made all of her documentaries available on her YouTube channel.

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Piussi is currently working on a new project under the title The State Capture, which revolves around the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová last year – a crime that shocked the world. The documentary will also map out the dynamic shift taking place in the media landscape and the spy games that seek to shape and polarise public opinion. In the trailer for her upcoming film, Piussi talks to former intelligence agents, along with lawyers, journalists and bloggers, offering a “peek behind the curtain” following the surge in all kinds of information pointing to the struggle between different special interest groups. Leaks, kompromat and conspiracy theories are all tools that Piussi homes in on in her attempt to uncover the mechanisms involved in pushing narratives.

The filmmaker has just wrapped a successful crowdfunding campaign in order to secure funds for editing, part of the post-production work – including animations – and distribution. The domestic premiere is set for 9 October, as The State Capture will open the 19th International Documentary Film Festival One World. “We are in talks with film festivals,” Vít Janeček, one of the producers, confirmed to Cineuropa.

Earlier this year, the documentary The Siege, directed by Zuzana Piussi and Vít Janeček, was released, in which they follow citizens and activists as they fight back against mining companies. Their other project University and Freedom [+see also:
film profile
, about the massification and commercialisation of education, will enter domestic distribution on 16 May. The filmmakers are also seeking festival opportunities for this movie.

Besides their finished projects and soon-to-be-completed film, Piussi and Janeček already have a jam-packed slate, with Cesspool, Indifferent Thirst and Life in Hell being shot, while Customer Center and Buddhist Assassin have wrapped development and are starting pre-production.

The State Capture is being produced by Maroš Berák, of Ultrafilm (Slovakia), and D1film’s Vít Janeček (Czech Republic), with the support of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and a crowdfunding campaign. Bontonfilm is handling the domestic distribution in conjunction with VIRUSfilm, which is overseeing site-specific distribution and film clubs.

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