The Institute of Documentary Film co-organizes the industry section at the Ji.hlava IDFF. For the ninth time, the Silver Eye Awards were presented in three categories to the best documentary films in the East Silver Market. Film professionals attended the Ex Oriente Film workshop, while audiences enjoyed a unique screening and discussion in a Jihlava church as part of KineDok.
East Silver Market
The Institute of Documentary Film regularly hosts the East Silver Market at the Ji.hlava IDFF to present a selection of the latest documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe. A record number of 700 films were submitted to its 14th edition and festival industry guests, especially festival programmers, had the opportunity to visit its video library and stream a total of 317 films. Thanks to the support from MEDIA/Creative Europe, Silver Eye Awards were presented with the goal of helping films to improve promotion, secure a distributor or a screening at international festivals and in TV networks. The awards, along with EUR 1500 and year-long festival support in the East Silver Caravan, went to the best films in three categories – Best Short, Mid-length and Feature Documentary. In the short category, the award was presented to the Polish film Dust by Jakub Radej. The Russian filmmaker Inna Omelchenko received won in the mid-length category for her film Paper Stars and the Austrian documentary Sand and Blood by Matthias Krepp was announced the winner in the feature category.
Best Short Documentary / In this category, the jury awarded the Polish film Dust by Jakub Radej that follows the path of a human body from death to burial. The jury commented on the film: “While there was a fine selection of films in the competition, Dust stood out as a careful and considered documentary. We admired Dust for its detachment of emotion, its conceptual approach to the subject of death, and for its beautiful cinematography and polished editing.“
Best Mid-length Documentary / The international jury decided to award Paper Stars by the Russian filmmaker Inna Omelchenko and explained its choice as follows: “The film deals with its subject in a focused yet poetical form and treats its protagonists gently and respectfully. The smooth camera immerses in the life of 13-year old girls and captures this beautiful, yet very fragile and vulnerable coming-of-age process. A reflection on the relation between the individual and the group, the film in the same time witnesses the political dimension of education and traditional summer camping of teenagers.“
Best Feature Documentary / Out of a slate of outstanding films from Central and Eastern Europe, the jury awarded the Silver Eye Award for Best Feature to the Austrian documentary Sand and Blood. During the festival closing ceremony, the award was presented to director Matthias Krepp and producer Leni Gruber. Members of this year’s jury made up of festival representatives commented on the winner: “The film presents a story about Iraqi and Syrian war conflicts and its refugees by using self-shot images and home videos, and it finds a brave conceptual solution to the necessary anonymity of the characters that holds the viewers’ attention from the beginning to the end. It is a heart-wrenching, raw and tough film, but highly necessary to understand the complexity of humankind when put under extreme conflict and confrontation.” Attesting to its quality, Sand and Blood is in this year’s line-up of the prestigious IDFA Competition for Student Documentary.
Silver Eye nominees included Opera about Poland (dir. Piotr Stasik), this year’s winner of the Between the Seas festival competition. Along with two other documentaries – The Road Movie (dir. Dmitrii Kalashnikov) and The Wall (dir. Dmitry Bogolubov) – Stasik’s film was among the top most-viewed films in the East Silver Market. Figures show that East Silver is in high demand among festival guests. “This year we had 1450 views of the films in our selection. The visitors of the video library included mostly festival programmers, distributors, sales agents, TV representatives as well as producers and filmmakers,” adds Zdeněk Blaha, East Silver Market Manager. The selection also included more than 180 festival films. The most popular were Milda (dir. Pavel Křemen) and Skokan (dir. Petr Václav), both from the Czech Republic, and In Praise of Nothing (dir. Boris Mitić; Serbia, Croatia, France).
A list of all nominees and details on the jury here.
A full list of films in this year’s East Silver Market is available in the online database, here.
Ex Oriente Film
Over the course of 6 days, 15 renowned tutors helped filmmakers and producers to develop and secure funding for their projects. The Ex Oriente Film was attended by leading film professionals who offered festival visitors an array of talks and debates. In two of the most captivating masterclasses, the Austrian filmmaker Andreas Horvath presented his latest controversial documentary Helmut Berger, Actor and the young Russian filmmaker Dmitrii Kalashnikov with his feature documentary The Road Movie, compiled of found dashcam footage shot by Russians. More details on other filmmakers at this year’s workshop here.
One of the workshop´s participant Hana Šilarová (Frame Films) sums up the potential of the event: “The Ex Oriente Film workshop has been beneficial for our project – Never Happened (Skutok sa nestal) directed by Barbora Bereznaková – on multiple levels. It gives us the opportunity to fully focus on our film for 3 weeks and get valuable feedback and advice from experienced film professionals. Moreover, sharing our ideas with other filmmakers at such an early, fragile stage, has been even more meaningful.”
The pinnacle will be a central pitch featuring all 12 participating projects and an additional 9 projects, that takes place at the international event East Doc Forum (March 3 - 9, 2018). “The East Doc Forum raises the visibility of these projects and allows the filmmakers and producers to establish important contacts with other professionals. One-on-one meetings are an important part of the event and these can be requested by guests interested in a specific project. Filmmakers also participate in round-table sessions and get feedback from guests they might not otherwise meet. The Forum provides a unique platform to test out the international response and potential of the attending projects,” says Tereza Šimíková, East Doc Platform Manager.
KineDok is a unique project focused on alternative distribution of creative documentaries and screenings at unconventional venues. In Jihlava, KineDok visited the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to screen the Croatian film Tourism! followed by the discussion with the director Tonći Gaćina about the relationship of Croats to tourists. Throughout the year, KineDok is active in eight European countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Poland, Norway and Bulgaria). Representatives from each country met at Ji.hlava IDFF and after the evaluation of this year´s collaboration, they discussed a strategy for 2018. “One of the main items on our agenda was the selection of documentary films for the upcoming year. Each partner presented the best 6 new films from their region and then, we will carefully choose the catalogue for 2018. This year's preselection consists of exceptionally high-quality documentaries. I can´t wait to offer our audience the final selection that will be ready for the year-round launch at the beginning of the next year,” says Kristýna Genttnerová, KineDok Coordinator.
For details on IDF’s activities and more, please visit dokweb.net.
Photo: © MFDF Ji.hlava