Jan Gogola

Czech Republic

Jan Gogola

director, dramaturgy

Do You Love Each Other?

It is not easy for the present thirty-somethings. They are still licking wounds from the crazy ride on a roller coaster in the nineties and are right at the beginning of the middle age crisis. The society also trashes around in the hard transition. Continuous motion is the only certainty. The only certainty of individuals, funds and relationships. The film tries to define a new meaning of the word family and a whole generation. It tells the stories of three couples in two countries. All of them were brought up in Czechoslovakia during the socialist normalisation. What do all those people have in common? The marriage of a Slovak couple is a mixture of holy pictures and washing powder advertisements. The Bohemian artists Petra and Tomáš are in a constant fight with each other and with their previous engagements. Is the coexistence of René and Radana a real family when they don't want to have children? A lot of questions and a lot of answers create the mosaic of the Generation X. A Generation which has (hopefully) grown up, building its own nests.

Toytravel story

Mr. Marek appears before a committee of successful entrepreneurs. During the televised presentation he is overcome by stage-fright and can only muster a few incoherent sentences. He is trying to convince the committee to invest into a travel agency for toys. Most viewers following his performance on their TV screens as well as the studio audience think that he has gone made or is simply trying to attract media attention. Their shock is all that much greater when Mr. Marek actually finds some investors. Tomio Okamura, owner of a successful travel agency, sensed the hidden potential of this business proposal. And this is how a travel agency for toys was born. A film about the search for certainty, about escaping from the world surrounding us, about why we want to stay children. A film about toys travelling. A film about mass media reality and how it's created. And a film about one dream that came true.

Epic's Ways

Is The Slav Epic truly "a child who died at birth?" On the background of a journey of the twenty magnificent paintings film investigates in several thematic lines phenomena associated with a perception of the majestic legacy of Alphonse Mucha and his own - in many ways contradictory - personality. Art historians, philosophers, politicians, heirs, Japanese visitors, Czech parvenus and American philanthropists dispute and complement each other on various tableaux vivants, weaving a tissue of reflection which - although not easily fathomable - soundly proves The Slav Epic to be a baby still bloody alive.

Wlaldli: Our Own Island

Waladli, Our Own Island is an anthropological essay about the refugees of the modern western society: People who leave everything behind; their well paid steady jobs and long term commitments to travel the world in search of “identity”, the meaning of life, themselves. They come to look for this in the most unlikely places; places that in principal lost its identity as the result of european colonialism, the countries of the so called third world. One of these place is a small island in the Caribbean called Antigua. It has been driven out of its own roots by the indirect ancestors of the same people, who now come here expecting a certain therapy from the space itself. Our western refugees come over here equipped with self-help books and meditation apps, they have ideas on how to learn self-love and confidence. These ideas come in contrast with the reality of the life of the island's locals. This conflict offers often absurd and comic situations, portraying the lost in itself face of the post colonialist world.

Tomáš Halík - Paths and Memory (working title)

The documentary film is portraying Tomáš Halík as a citizen, while it is also concentrating on the present spiritual state of the Czech society. In other words, the story of Tomáš Halík, his life now and in the past, his memories and the values important for him and for the people around him, are presented in a historical, psychological, social and political context. Our aim is to create a complex portrait of Tomáš Halík´s personality far away from his current media picture. It is important for us to see the personality of Tomáš Halík in a broader context and to look for his concrete influence in the people who surround him.

Slav Epic Complex

Do we have an "epic" complex in a sense that we see “all too epic” as a relict of intentions that wanted to include everything in certain sphere? Does the Slav Epic has a complex of us who have not been able to agree for more than a hundred years, where is her place - permanent residence and sense? What happens when - in the midst of this obscurity - Alphonse Mucha's Slav Epic all of the sudden visits Japan?

Truthvision

A pensioner from a czech borderlines, Petr Richard Ortek, provides in his office his own youtube television and he mostly broadcasts a antiimigrant and antiislamophobic news three times per week. He lives together with his wife and his opinion mate Petr Weidenmann: 30 years old, cured alcoholic. Petr moved in also with his old and sick to death dad, that needs everyday care. All of them are connected by esoteric faith in supernatural creatures, space energies and extraterrestrial civilizations. Petr Richard Ortek himself visited civilization on Venus planet and other constellations. Who is Petr Richard Ortek and where his distrust to the outside world comes from? Is it possible to highlight people from the edge of the world and even the space, that they will not look like fools?

Human Beeing

The relationship between people and bees is one of the best mapped phenomena in human history. In most cultures, the honey bee used to be considered a sacred animal and enjoyed great respect. Today, due to our irresponsible interventions in nature, it is facing extinction. Together with Honeymen, two amateur beekeepers from Brno, we set out to search for an answer to how to save the bees. However, it soon becomes clear that it is not only the bees that are dying; it is also something in us. Human Beeing is a reflection upon modern humans losing their relationship both to nature and to themselves. It is not a film about the bees but with the bees. It is about humility, faith and dying humanity at a time of increasing dominance of technology.

Dunaj of Consciousness

Music as the search of the universe in itself.
Wandering in the footsteps of DUNAJ band, guided by its former member Vladimír Václavek as a shaman of everydayness. With Vladimír we are visiting former band members and other related figures. We are following the story of the band that played myths and eventually became a myth itself.
Through music and its perception, film deals with the general human issues: (sub)consciousness, dream, death, energy, trans, faith and even family, marriage, children and work.
Music as a part of life and not just something, what is “art for art's sake” or a pose on stage.

Czechoslovak Electronic Image

The film happens to be directed by the granddaughter of Radek Pilař, wellknown creator of several beloved Czech children animated series such as Rumcajs, Manka a Cipísek, and somewhat less known as a pioneer of video art in Czechoslovakia. The documentary brushes the dust off of those old VHS cassettes to get a glimpse of early electronic images in our country and uncover the yet unmapped history of pre-revolution Czech video art. Petr Skala, Woody Vasulka, Jaroslav Vančát, Tomáš Kepka, Lucie Svobodová, Pavel Scheufler, Ivan Tatíček, Věra Geislerová, Roman Milerský – decades later they all still share their enthusiasm, obsessive curiosity, and futuristic visions about the use of new technologies for artistic expression.

Jan Kapr's Ciphers

The film discovers almost unknown genius, music composer, innovator and experimenter Jan Kapr (1914-1988).
In the 1950s, he became so famous for his songs that he was awarded directly by Stalin. After the arrival of Russian tanks in 1968, he returned the Stalin Prize and wrote to his friend Shostakovich an open letter of disappointment from the Soviet Union. There follows an immediate and lifelong ban on composing music. Kapr shoots his life and himself in the form of short scenes on 8mm films. These never-published materials come to life in a fascinating reconstruction of life after death, in which the memory of the film, the time of Kapr's music, with a story of mythological proportions, intertwines. The narrative frames the birth of the world premiere of Kapr's composition from 1968.

Elephant Wars

Africa. We dream about it as kids, as adults we see it in the TV as something exotic and dangerous. Some of us are not afraid to make our dreams come true, some of us are not afraid to leave safe old Europe and to seek an adventure in the lands, that are for common Europeans still new and mysterious. And sometimes our goals are more noble. "I go there to help, to save the elephants, people, planet! It´s something I have to do," we say. But is it about helping Africa?

Forgotten War

Nazar works in Kiev, Ukraine, as a screenwriter. Together with his wife and small son, they live peacefully and nothing indicates that this is about to change. Towards the end of 2013, however, the Maidan square in central Kiev sees masses of protesters who oppose the decision of president Viktor Yanukovych who refused to sign the pending association agreement with the EU. Foreign journalists flock to Kyiv to report from the mass protests and Nazar is one of those who provide them with intel. He becomes a fixer – a translator and a guide for teams of journalists. Soon he realizes that he likes to work in extreme conditions. When, two months later, an open war breaks out in the East, he guides the journalists through the key events of the conflict. He sees the development first-hand and together with the journalists, he creates the testimony that then travels the globe. Soon, however, the war is forgotten. The web documentary The Forgotten war provides a testimony about a conflict that had raged in the Eastern Ukraine for almost four years now. As a guide, Nazar tries to give objective causes of the war, he leads the viewer through the Donbass area, hinting at the complicated local history and the pride of the local miners. Apart from the historic context, however, he shows the viewers the everyday reality of life in the so-called grey zone, the strip of land directly touching the frontlines. The documentary permits us to view the military conflict from the perspective of the locals and witness the everyday situations experienced by the locals in the unstable region. Through Nazar, the viewer gets a chance to learn about the everyday lives of four different people – a small school girl, a humanitarian aid worker, a female doctor and a senior citizen. In the state of war, their everyday rituals often become absurd.

Caught in the Net

The film opens the hitherto taboo topic of online child abuse. Statistics show that the problem is becoming bigger with each passing day. Unfortunately, awareness remains very low. The main narrative line of the film follows a radical psychosocial experiment, through which we show what the children aged 10-14 years face in the virtual space. The experiment comes out of reality and several months of research.

A New Shift

Thomas is almost fifty, he is radical football fan of his club Baník and for the past 25 years he has worked in the Paskov mine. Demand for coal has been falling and the mine was closed. Tomas and his dismissed colleagues were offered to try to retrain in new profession, which is now in the highest demand - the programmer. Tomas accepted the life challenge and we follow his story of this radical change in an intimate time-lapse portrait. Can he succeed in such a different profession? How does a radical Baník fan with a mining slang fit into a group of young programmers? And what about the rest of us - will we soon be forced to face a similar challenge as a result of the ongoing automation of work?
A hundred years of work development and its culture depicted on the story of one person.

How I Became a Partisan

The Second World War still hides numerous stories, some of which will clearly remain a secret forever. One such mosaic of memories are the fates of the Roma partisans in the former Czechoslovakia. Film director Vera Lacková, who is also the great-grandchild of one of these forgotten fighters, learnt about her great-grandfather’s deeds when she was a small child and her grandmother would tell her fairy tales about his adventures.
While uncovering her family’s history, Vera finds other Roma partisans. In addition to her great-grandfather Ján, the film tells the stories of four other people. Their dramatic stories are far from the sort one tells to small children. Imprisonment in concentration camps, the murder of family members, bloody battles during the liberation of Slovakia, partisan activity, cooperation with the American secret service, as well as what happened after the war – all this we follow through interviews with their descendants and those who remember, or with the help of documents from the archives. Vera moves from the archives to Slovak villages and mountains and to the Czech Republic, where some descendants live. Then she returns to the archives to confirm their testimony.
During her search she comes up against deep-rooted prejudice, indifference and hatred towards the Roma community, both in the memories of those she interviews and during her search in the present. This fact is reflected in the sad finding that most of the partisans mentioned do not even have a gravestone with their name. Vera decides to confront these wrongs, and to erect a monument to her murdered family in front of the forest where they were executed. Will she find understanding among the local villagers, or will indifference reign yet again?
The author’s motivation is to demolish the long-held stereotype of Roma as mere victims of Nazism. We are shown Roma whose deeds go beyond the history of a minority ethnic group and deservedly form part of European history.
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