A Russian top politician turned opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in central Moscow in 2015. Following his murder his daughter Zhanna Nemtsova moved to Germany, where she works as a journalist and runs a foundation named after her father. At the weekend Nemtsova appeared at a packed theatre at the Jihlava documentary festival as part of its Inspiration Forum talks series. Afterwards, she shared her own sources of inspiration.
The 21st edition of the annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has got underway. The festival opened with a film by Tereza Nvotová called The Lust for Power about the controversial Slovak politician Vladimir Mečiar. The former Slovak prime minister is not the only politician focused on by documentary film makers this year.
This year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, which came to a close on Sunday, was the 20th edition of an event that brings almost the entire Czech documentary community – and a host of noteworthy international guests – to the Vysočina town. In this roundup of Jihlava 2016, we meet a main prize winner, the head of the festival, leading US experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison, and Rebecca O’Brien, who has worked closely with Ken Loach for almost 30 years.
The 20th edition of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has got underway in the Vysočina town. Among the guests this year at the country’s most important documentary event will be US experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison and Mike Bonanno of activist duo the Yes Men. American psychologist Philip Zimbardo, well-known for a 1970s “prison experiment”, will appear at Jihlava’s Inspiration Forum. The festival runs until Monday.
A new documentary film called RINO, a portrait of Karel Köcher, most successful Czechoslovak spy of the Cold War, who infiltrated CIA during the 1970s, has entered cinema distribution s on Thursday. The documentary, which premiered at last year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, was directed by Jakub Wagner, who interviewed numerous former US agents and other officials for the film.
Among the most important guests at this year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was Laurent Becue-Renard, who shared his expertise with local documentarians at an Ex Oriente Film workshop. Becue-Renard’s first film War-Wearied, about Bosnian women coping with the aftermath of conflict, was screened before the masterclass. But when we met, I wanted to discuss his most recent work, Of Men and War.
The plight of refugees was among the key themes at this year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, with films such as Sean McAllister’s heartrending A Syrian Love Story helping bring the real lives of the hundreds of thousands of stateless persons in Europe home to audiences at the biggest event in Czech documentaries.
The jury at the International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava decided not to pick out a best Czech documentary this year in spite of the 16 entries for their consideration. The jury said on Saturday night that many of the entries did not go beyond works for television and the maker’s statement was not convincing. Two special mentions were made in the section. The best documentary award for Central and Eastern Europe was awarded to Vialy Mansky’s Under the Sun, which tracked the lives of a North Korean family for a year. The world documentary award went to Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, which follows a freighter travelling through a barren landscape. The audience award went to Matrix AB, a documentary looking at Czech politician and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, by Vít Klusák.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has defended the whistle blowing site in a video conference appearance at Jihlava’s documentary film festival on Thursday night. Assange, currently a virtual prisoner in the Ecuador embassy in London, brushed off charges that WikiLeaks concentrated solely on US and Western secrets. He told his Czech audience that US authorities were the biggest generator of secrets in the world. WikiLeaks had revealed secrets from Russia, China, Peru, and Kenya as well, he said, admitting thought that the site’s main language is English. Russian member of the punk band Pussy Riot, Maria Aljochina, also took part in the debate saying she hoped Assange would be released soon from his three years in the embassy evading an extradition order to Sweden.