The East Doc Platform is a Czech-based event organized by the Institute of Documentary Film in partnership with the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, featuring events like East Doc Forum for projects in the early production stage or East Doc Market focused on almost finished projects soon ready to enter the distribution. Its main focus is clear: to provide a meeting point for filmmakers, producers and distributors of Central and Eastern Europe where they can pitch, discuss and trade their projects. But what does the Platform mean for Czech cinema?
The existence of the East Doc Platform itself shows that there are people actively pushing Czech environment to become relevant, to outgrow its national borders. There is a hope that the defining problem of current Czech documentary scene, its unreserved focus on domestic market, is finally going away. Surely, it isn’t a new phenomenon but the result of long effort, which is finally starting to pay off.
The Platform has no meaning for those who can’t use it. Czech filmmakers are often trapped inside the national borders not only physically, but also intellectually and stylistically. Fortunately, from the past months we know that some of them are capable of moving outside the box. Films such as Nothing Like Before (Nic jako dřív, 2017), The Russian Job (Švéd v žigulíku, 2017) or When the War Comes (Až přijde válka, 2018) managed to attract considerable international attention.
Hopefully, some of the participating projects at Czech Docs… Coming Soon, the East Doc Platform's section for Czech films, will join them soon enough. Jana Andert's spent half a year in Iraq's war zone for her documentary In Mosul (Mosul, expected release March 2018). My Unknown Soldier (Můj neznámý vojín, expected release August 2018) by Prague-based Ukrainian director Anna Kryvenko also cannot deny its international potential. Invasion of the Warsaw Part forces in 1968 is a tragic and much discussed part of Czech history but Kryvenko's point of view should be able to shake things up – she will try to give a voice not to the Czech victims but to the young soldiers unwillingly invading a foreign country. Another movie, In the Name of Allah, (Ve jménu Alláha, expected release 2020) shows the diversity in every possible way – Italian director Francesco Montagner made this Czech production in Bosnia. The Prague based French native producer Artemio Benki is working on his directorial debut, Czech-French-Austrian- Argentinian coproduction documentary feature Fugue (Fuga, expected release October 2018) in Buenos Aires. This is just the approach local cinema needs and the East Doc Platform is here to create more opportunities for projects like those listed above.
To host the East Doc Platform in Prague can be beneficial for Czech-based filmmakers, helping them to access the neighboring countries, then Europe and lastly, who knows, the world. Of course, the Platform cannot become a promotional campaign for Czech films, otherwise it would negate its purpose, but any such international event can and should highlight local productions – even IDFA is not shy to cast light on Dutch documentary cinema. All that is needed is the right balance. Once achieved, the East Doc Platform can prove itself to be the meeting point for Central and Eastern European documentary filmmakers, as well as an important gateway for Czech filmmakers.
Learn more about all Czech projects presented at the East Doc Platform 2018 in our article A record number of Czech filmmakers at the East Doc Platform