Spring with Czech Documentaries

5. 4. 2018

Author: Veronika Zýková

Within three weeks, an unusually high number of Czech documentaries made it to the cinema distribution. These six films, previously showed with success at festivals, offer both contemporary themes and looking into the past.

Photographer, director and producer of independent documentaries Jan Svatoš based his feature length debut The Ark of Lights and Shadows on his long-time interest in Africa which was alos the theme of his previous awarded documentaries Africa Obscura (2011) and wildWORKS (2013). The film uncovers a long forgotten story of an American pair of adventurers and film pioneers Martin and Osa Johnson. Their work was appreciated by experts and it also fascinated Charlie Chaplin and Ernest Hemingway among other famous artists. The use of unique footage and detailed research got the interest of the Prague's FEBIOFEST IFF audience where the film was premiered.

The first feature length documentary about the Czech natur Wilder than Wilderness captures animals and nature flowers around us in detail. The director Marián Polák, who focuses in his latest works on the nature, worked on Wilder than Wilderness also as a cinematographer. Besides, he added to the film his personal lines in the form of a voice-over by popular Czech actor Kryštof Hádek and Polák is also seen in front of the camera, talking directly to viewers. The film was presented to the audience for the first time at IDFF Ji.hlava and now it is screened in one hall movie theatres and multiplexes around the country.

Five years after their full-length doumentary debut Fortress, in which Lukáš Kokeš and Klára Tasovská skillfully captured the feeling of isolation in Transnistria, the creative duo set their next documentary, Nothing Like Before, in a small Czech border town. The film follows four 19 years old people who are forced to make decisions and face challenges for which they are not prepared yet. The film was screened at IDFA and One World IHRDFF, where it got Special Mention from the Czech Competition Jury. During April and May, Nothing Like Before is screened at smaller venues accross the country where the audience can discuss with creators of the film. In the second half of the year, Nothing Like Before will become part of the KineDok project.

The film debut by journalist Petr Horký, called The Russian Job, follows the Swedish manager Bo Andersson who comes to the Russian city Toyatti to save a dying automaker factory and is hit hard by a reality he did not see coming. The documentary was premiered at IDFA in Mid-Length Documentary section. It will be screened on April 30 and May 2 at the most prestigious North American documentary festival HOT DOCS, in the new section The Changing Face of Europe, which is held in cooperation with European Film Promotion (EFP). You can read the interview with Petr Horký on our website.

Multimedia artist Filip Záruba tried to capture the experience with the most powerful natural psychedelics, which is produced by a toad living in the Sonora desert in Mexico, in his film Bufo Alvarius. For that purpose he used 3D animation and intense soundtrack. These significant audiovisual elements are blending into the testimonies of interviewed people, among them are the founder of transpersonal psychology Stanislav Grof and a doctor & neo shaman Octavio Rettig. Besides screenings in the Czech Republic, the film can be seen on April 28 in Dublin.

Young director Karolína Zalabáková and her colleague from Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Petr Babinec, visited in their documentary Batalives five cities on three continents. The duo tried to find what connects people in these places and to what extent they are aware of the past of their satellite cities that were built in the 30s oll over the world as famous copies of Zlín. The film was part of Czech Joy competition section at IDFF Ji.hlava and at IDFA Batalives were part of the world's premiere market for creative documentary cinema Docs for Sale.

Czech documentaries in the cinema distribution – March 19 to April 5, 4. 2018
March 19, 2018 The Ark of Lights and Shadows (dir. Jan Svatoš)
March 22, 2018 Wilder than WIlderness (dir. Marián Polák)
March 22, 2018 The Russian Job (dir. Petr Horký)
March 22, 2018 Nothing Like Before (dir. Klára Tasovská, Lukáš Kokeš)
April 5, 2018 Batalives (dir. Karolína Zalabáková, Petr Babinec)
April 5, 2018 Bufo Alvarius (dir. Filip Záruba)

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