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JIHLAVA 2020

The 24th edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF to go virtual

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- The largest Czech documentary film festival is readying 59 world and 26 international premieres, while the full line-up of this extraordinary online edition comprises 220 titles

The 24th edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF to go virtual
White on White by Viera Čakányová

While the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival had been ready to unfurl as an on-site, physical event (see the news), the current situation in the Czech Republic and pandemic-related measures now in force have thwarted that plan. From 27 October-8 November, the festival will thus screen the line-up of over 220 films programmed for its 24th edition fully online, via the DAFilms platform. “Fifteen years ago, the same year when YouTube was launched, Ji.hlava IDFF founded the first VoD portal dedicated to documentaries. Today, DAFilms.com is one of the leading European VoD platforms,” says festival director Marek Hovorka about this year’s partnership with DAFilms.

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“The uniqueness of this programme lies in the fact that apart from the over 220 films available to Czech viewers, we will offer more than 80 movies from Ji.hlava’s competitions to audiences worldwide, released as world, international or European premieres,” says Diana Tabakov, executive director of DAFilms.

In terms of the practicalities of the virtual festival, the entire programme will be available online, geo-blocked to the territory of the Czech Republic. Viewers from outside the Czech Republic will have the chance to watch over 80 selected titles from the festival’s competition sections via DAFilms.com, for a fee of €2 to €4 per stream, between 27 October and 8 November.

In addition to the previously announced titles (see the news), the Opus Bonum competition section will host the latest work by Slovakian director Viera Čakányová, White on White [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, as a world premiere. White on White is a video diary that the director kept while working on her film FREM [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Viera Čakányová
film profile
]
. The section will also screen Chloé Galibert-Laîné’s Forensickness, a video essay about amateur social detectives on Reddit; Rift Finfinnee, in which director Daniel Kötter explores the landscape east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa; and Liryc Dela Cruz’s On Endings.

Promising works by emerging documentary makers are rounded up in the First Lights section, including Gabriel Babsi’s Motherlands, looking at the refugee crisis through the eyes of a smuggler; the observational documentary A House, revolving around an initiative helping young people with autism by director Judith Auffray; and film collage Interregnum, by César Souto Vilanova and Fernando Gómez-Luna. Central and Eastern European documentaries constitute the centrepiece of the Between the Seas section, with the Czech title Between Us by Dorota Proba, a comprehensive picture of contemporary love life; Landscape Zero by Bruno Pavić; Jani Sever’s Antigone – How Dare We!; and Andra Tarara’s Us Against Us.

The competition section for domestic films, Czech Joy, will introduce a non-traditional documentary portrait of a Slovakian singer in Jan Gogola’s Eternal Jožo [+see also:
interview: Jan Gogola Jr
film profile
]
, notorious duo of Czech documentarians Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda will unveil their road documentary comedy Once Upon a Time in Poland [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Ondřej Vavrečka will bring along his atypical philosophical essay Personal Life of a Hole, and the behind-the-scenes documentary on Jan Švankmajer’s last feature by Jan Daňhel and Adam Oľha, Athanor – The Alchemical Furnace [+see also:
trailer
interview: Adam Oľha
film profile
]
, will get an airing, among others.

This year’s retrospective will be dedicated to 100 years of South Korean documentary, the special Black Cinema Matters section will “introduce a radical change in the perspective of the Afro-American narrative, which has not only long been dividing the American public, but is also bogged down with a lot of prejudice, ignorance and lack of empathy”, notes Marek Hovorka. The festival’s industry programme will be held virtually as well, and will include the Emerging Producers workshop, Conference Fascinations on the distribution of experimental works, a presentation of new Czech documentaries, educational seminars, and the Ji.hlava Academy.

The full line-up is available here.

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