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www.DOKweb.net is a portal dedicated to East European documentary film. The news section provides up-to-date information on upcoming and just completed films, interviews with filmmakers and other documentary professionals, in-depth articles exploring the state of documentary filmmaking in various parts of the region, as well as insightful texts on current trends, funding, etc. The portal also boasts the largest published databases of completed and upcoming documentary films from Eastern Europe, an industry directory, as well as trailers and original video content. www.DOKweb.net is IDF´s key online project that provides comprehensive details on all IDF´s activities and links them with general information service.
Institute of Documentary Film’s Activities
Founded in 2001, the INSTITUTE OF DOCUMENTARY FILM (IDF) is a non-profit training and networking centre based in Prague, Czech Republic, focused on the support of East European documentary films and their wider promotion. Our activities support filmmakers through all stages of completion – development, funding, production, post-production, and distribution. We aim at individual filmmakers (tailored consultations), groups of carefully selected professionals with projects or films (Ex Oriente Film, East European Forum, East Silver, Doc Launch, etc.), broader professional community (East Doc Platform), as well as the general public (portal www.DOKweb.net). We closely work with key int. festivals, broadcasters, distributors, sales agents, markets, or training initiatives and serve as the GATEWAY TO EAST EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY FILM.

East Silver within East Doc Platform with new films

At the beginning of the March, the East Silver will open its videolibrary for industry guests again within the East Doc Platform in Prague organized by the Institute of Documentary Film in association with the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

From March 6 to 11 the professionals will have an opportunity to watch the new documentary films from the region of the Central and Eastern Europe. Not only the films previously included in the 8th edition of the East Silver Market, but also 61 additional titles recently finished will be available in the videolibrary, which will provide its regular services for guests and producers.

The new collection of films will feature films from DOK Leipzig and Krakow Film Foundation selection as well as Eastern European docs from the One World festival programme.

 

DOK Leipzig selection:

Bad Weather

Director: Giommi Giovanni
Producer: Deckert Heino
Production company: ma.ja.de. Filmproduktions GmbH, YLE - Finnish Broadcasting Company, NRK, TG4, ZDF/ARTE

Germany, United Kingdom, 2011, 90 min, HD, Creative, Human Rights, Religion, Social Issues

Bad weather tells the story of Banishanta Island. It is made up of a community of sex workers. Living on a tiny sliver of land 100 meters long and only ten meters wide in the Bay of Bengal, south Bangladesh, this community survives at the frontline of climate change. The rising river, soil erosion and frequent cyclones are slowly destroying what is left of the island. Razia, Khadija and Shefali, three of the last 65 women left living there, are in a battle for their homes, the future of their families, and even their quest for true love. As they strive to hold onto their livelihood, time is running out. Soon the whole of Banishanta will be totally submerged under water, making it one of the first real casualties of the shifting global environment.

 

Becoming German

Director: Beyer Britt
Production company: Oktoberfilm, ZDF - Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen

Werden Sie Deutscher , Germany, 2011, 86 min, HD, Creative, Human Rights, Social Issues, Society

An integration course, its participants and a difficult question: what is “German”, what is “integrated”? Is there such a thing as German humour? Is it permissible to leave one’s shoes outside the door?

 

Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth

Director: Sandig Frauke
Production company: Umbrella Films

Herz des Himmels, Herz der Erde , Germany, USA, 2011, 98 min, HD, Environmental, Human Rights, Religion, Society

The great cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar will end on December 21st, 2012. How does the story end? Do the oceans collapse? Does the sky fall as the last tree is cut? The remote homelands of the present day Maya in Mexico and Guatemala present a perfect microcosm to show how unhindered globalization is already destroying the Earth and indigenous cultures now under attack for their natural resources from all sides. Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth presents another worldview, following six young Maya into their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment. They put forth a wholly indigenous perspective in their own words, without narration. Each touches upon a facet of the current global crisis. The intimate accounts and experiences of the protagonists interweave with images associated with the fragile beauty of nature and the sacred creation myth of the Popol Vuh.

 

Life in Stills

Director: Tal Tamar
Producer: Heymann Barak
Production company: Heymann Brothers Films

Israel, 2011, 58 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait, Social Issues

At the age of 96, Miriam Weissenstein never imagined that she would be facing a new chapter in her life. But when "The Photo House" – her late husband Rudi’s life’s work – was destined for demolition, even this opinionated and uncompromising woman knew she needed help. Under the cloud of a family tragedy, a special relationship is forged between Miriam and her grandson, Ben, as they join forces to save the shop and its nearly one million negatives that document Israel’s defining moments. Despite the generation gap and many conflicts, Ben and Miriam embark on a heart-wrenching journey, comprising many humorous and touching moments – a journey that requires a lot of love, courage, and compassion.

 

Water Children

Production company: Zeppers Film & TV

Netherlands, 2011, 75 min, Beta, Gender, Society

Filmmaker Aliona van der Horst follows the trail of the unconventional Dutch-Japanese pianist and artist Tomoko Mukaiyama who made a huge work of art on the theme of womanhood and fertility. She created a cathedral-like space out of twelve thousand white silk dresses in which visitors, as in a ritual, roamed around and fell silent. And where people confessed intimate details about children who were or were not born, about sexuality and life-choices. In a visual and poetic way, the film penetrates into what is probably still one of the greatest of taboos, menstruation, and, as a consequence, touches upon universal themes around life and death.

 

 

Krakow Film Foundation selection:

Hakawati

Director: Sauter Marcin
Production company: Kalejdoskop Film Studio

Hakawati , Poland, 2011, 40 min, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Human Rights, Social Issues, Travel

Hakawati in the Arab tradition is a master of storytelling, a brilliant raconteur who tells stories to everybody willing to listen. Hakawati played a very important role in the Arab culture: they gathered crowds of people eager to hear new fairy tales and strange stories. And now there are no real Hakawati left. In the contemporary world people have no time to listen to stories. The director sets off to search for true story tellers and finds the remnants of the tradition...

 

Hitting the right keys

Production company: Wir Film Studio

Trzeba uderzac we wlasciwe klawisze , Poland, 2011, 55 min, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Music, Portrait

The documentary offers an opportunity to find out more about the jazzman, pianist and composer of international renown, Adam Makowicz. The protagonist, who went to New York in the late 1970´s and has been travelling between Poland and the USA until today, describes the circumstances of finding himself in the jazz Mecca. The story is supplemented by interviews with such artists as Tomasz Stańko or Ryszard Horowitz who met Makowicz at different stages of his long and successful career.

 

We Will Be Happy One Day

Production company: BMC FILMS

Kiedyś będziemy szczęśliwi , Poland, 2011, 42 min, Digi Beta, Portrait, Social Issues, Society, Youth Documentary

„We will be happy one day“ is a documentary film about Daniel, a young man from Lipiny - the poorest town in the southern Poland. Daniel wants out of the omnipresent misery. With a mobile phone camera in his hand he wanders round his neighbourhood asking kids and grownups questions about their dreams. Are they going to come true, at least, for some? However, in the process of Daniel’s filming there emerges a hidden layer: the love between him and his charismatic grandmother. But will he ever manage to complete his film?

 

 

Films in programme of One World festival:

Al Entisar - The Boat of Hope

Director: Kaboš Ladislav
Producer: Kaboš Michael
Production company: Media Film, STV

Al Entisar - Loď nádeje , Slovak Republic, 2011, 26 min, HD, Current Affairs, Human Rights, Personal View, Politics

We set out to Libya from Slovakia, a country where it is no longer customary to sacrifice one’s life for one’s own land, for freedom; and if so, then only for money. Fighting in Libya was going on for several months. The rebels in Misurata had their own slogan: “We won’t surrender, we’ll either win or die...“ There is only one ship plying between Malta and Libya. A single ship that gives strength to the rebels in a besieged city.

 

Argentinian Lesson

Production company: Staron Film

Argentyńska lekcja , Poland, 2011, 56 min, Digi Beta, Creative, Personal View, Society, Travel

In 1998 Wojciech Staroń made the documentary film "The Siberian Lesson". The film told the story of a young teacher who emigrated to the vicinity of Lake Baikal in order to teach Polish deportees’ descendants their native language. Many years later, as a married couple with two children, the director and his wife are leaving for Argentina. For their little son, this trip will not only be an encounter with an unknown language. Influenced by their Argentinian friend, Janek enters the fascinating world of imagination, and is introduced to the bitterness of childhood prematurely contaminated by the problems of grown-ups.

 

Bakhmaro

Director: Jashi Salome
Producer: Deckert Heino
Production company: Sakdoc Film, ma.ja.de. Filmproduktions GmbH, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, YLE - Finnish Broadcasting Company, Ikon, TVP Kultura, ETV

Bakhmaro , Georgia, Germany, 2011, 58 min, HD, Social Issues, Society

A journey into a lively, yet desolate building in a provincial Georgian town. It once used to be a hotel called ‘Bakhmaro’. At the center of the building there is a restaurant with its walls covered in bright green and orange plastic foam and where the tables are set waiting for customers who rarely come. A Chinese shop, slot machines and a political party office can also be found here. The building is a microcosm sodden with the constant anticipation of change. It is a model of one troubled country with its endless demonstrations and opposition rallies. At the same time the backdrop of political situation only mirrors the life people live here.

 

Barzakh

Production company: Extimacy Films, Sputnik Oy

Finland, Lithuania, 2011, 60 min, DCP, Human Rights, Social Issues

In a Chechen city recovering after the war, a man disappears. The peope, trying to find him, are drawn into a world where they see encounters, diviners and legal advisors, the torturers and the tortured, secret prisons and mythical lakes. When the missing ones appear in those people's dreams, they say, they come from Barzakh - a land between the living and the death.

 

Chernobyl Forever

Production company: Simple Production, Crescendo Films

Belgium, 2011, 56 min, Digi Beta, Current Affairs, Environmental, Health, Reportage

After 25 years of Chernobyl, we have forgotten the danger of nuclear power. The consequences of this disaster are still not controlled. The latest circumstances in Japan show that up till now, we have not learned from our mistakes. Now, how will Japan cope with this major catastrophe? The atom has a long lifetime, whereas mankind has a short memory...

 

Darkhead

Director: T. Riahi Arman
Producer: T. Riahi Arash
Production company: Golden Girls Filmproduktion & Filmservices GmbH

Schwarzkopf , Austria, 2011, 90 min, 35 mm, Music, Portrait, Society

This is the story of two generations of neo-Austrians - „darkheads“, as they call themselves - born and raised in Europe, but misfits nonetheless. Nazar, our 25-year old protagonist, an armed robbery suspect, is released from prison and confronted with his troublesome financial situation. Jobless, he seeks sanctuary in a world where he is respected and well-known - in the world of German rap music. While confronted with this situation, Nazar and his two best friends look back at a life of disruption - shattered families, street life and delinquency. A past connecting them with the present life of a new generation of immigrant descendants...

 

El Medico: The Cubaton Story

Director: Fridell Daniel
Production company: Film Tower Kuubis, Röde Orm Film, Elfvik Film

Cubaton , Estonia, Sweden, 2011, 104 min, DCP, Arts and Culture, Creative, Music, Portrait

Can a capitalist music producer and a communist doctor and artist work together? In Cuba they can! Michel Miglis is a Swedish music producer, known for his provocative ideas and El Medico is a doctor and a singer, born and raised in the midst of the Cuban Revolution, whose values are in total contrast to the cynical, Western music industry.

 

Family Portrait in Black and White

Director: Ivanova Julia
Production company: Interfilm Productions Inc.

Canada, 2011, 99 min, HD, Current Affairs, Human Rights, Social Issues, Society

Olga Nenya, from a small Ukrainian town, is raising sixteen black orphans in a country of Slavic blue-eyed blonds. The reality of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe, a rare and truly visible minority, is not for the faint of heart. While Olga is on a crusade to save her children from the unjust world, she is also determined to shape their future according to her own, sometimes limited vision.

 

From Cherries to Cherries

Director: Boršková Jana
Production company: První veřejnoprávní

Od višní do višní , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, DVD, Portrait, Youth Documentary

The director made the documentary film From Cherries to Cherries about her mother after the death of her father. Against the backdrop of one year in the garden, which the father used to take care of, mother and daughter are looking for emotional attachments to men in the family and their mutual relationship. Although the film's main theme is death of close relatives, the starting points are life itself, understanding and forgiveness.

 

Into Oblivion

Director: Špidla Šimon
Producer: Berčík Pavel
Production company: Evolution Films, s.r.o.

Mrtvá trať , Czech Republic, 52 min, Beta, Creative, Experimental, Personal View, Social Issues

Stalin grasps a pencil in his hand as he prepares to draw a line on a map of the Soviet Union. Where the graphite touches paper, some 80,000 people - almost all of them gulag inmates - will build a railroad in the gruelling conditions of the polar taiga. It is a railway line of almost no strategic importance, built on permafrost and polar marshes, using limited technology and equipment. For four years, they will slave away, succumbing to exhaustion, illness, cruelty, and solitary confinement before, finally, the death of Stalin himself. In just a few weeks, there will be nothing left of their hectic activity except for empty camp barracks, old locomotives, bits of track, embankments, telegraph wires. All left to slowly return to the taiga…

 

Life in Stills

Director: Tal Tamar
Producer: Heymann Barak
Production company: Heymann Brothers Films

Israel, 2011, 58 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait, Social Issues

At the age of 96, Miriam Weissenstein never imagined that she would be facing a new chapter in her life. But when "The Photo House" – her late husband Rudi’s life’s work – was destined for demolition, even this opinionated and uncompromising woman knew she needed help. Under the cloud of a family tragedy, a special relationship is forged between Miriam and her grandson, Ben, as they join forces to save the shop and its nearly one million negatives that document Israel’s defining moments. Despite the generation gap and many conflicts, Ben and Miriam embark on a heart-wrenching journey, comprising many humorous and touching moments – a journey that requires a lot of love, courage, and compassion.

 

Love in the Grave

Production company: Yekot Film s.r.o.

Láska v hrobě , Czech Republic, 2011, 78 min, Digi Beta, Longitudinal, Social Issues, Society

At the beginning of the second millennium, a group of homeless people found refuge at a German protestant graveyard in Prague - Strašnice. Among them, there is a couple of eternal fiancés: thirty-three-year-old Jana and fifty-year-old Jan. As soon as Jana and Jan get settled in a neogothic tomb, the police raid the graveyard...The film has been made as an observational documentary in the years 2007 - 2011.

 

The Magical Journey of the Useless Things

Producer: Schatton Alicja
Production company: LichtFilm, Vidifilm

Die Wundersame Reise Der Unnützen Dinge , Germany, Poland, 2010, 58 min, Digi Beta, HD, Creative, Environmental, Personal View, Social Issues

For some it’s garbage, for others a good gaining worth with every mile driven towards the East: Just before the annual removal of bulky refuse dozens of old Polish vans cue in the streets of the villages around Mainz, Germany. Drivers skim through piles of garbage to find whatever can be sold back home. Piotr and Jan are in this business for 15 years. The film accompanies an old tricycle, a sofa and other items from the streets of the German villages via Piotr’s van to his second hand shop in Poland and to the final new owner. Thereby it tells the stories of the people met on the way and shows a facet of a modern Europe, where prejudices are still common.

 

Mama Illegal

Director: Moschitz Ed
Producer: T. Riahi Arash
Production company: Golden Girls Filmproduktion & Filmservices GmbH, ORF - Österreichischer Rundfunk

Mama Illegal , Austria, 2011, 95 min, HD, Drama doc, Human Rights, Reportage, Social Issues

They gave the smugglers all their money and risk their life on their journey across borders: Three women from a small town in Moldavia, living now in Austria as cleaning women. On top of their hard job they live a life in illegality without documents, far away from their children and family for years.

 

The New World

Director: Tootsen Jaan
Producer: Kilmi Jaak
Production company: Kuukulgur Film

Uus Maailm , Estonia, 2011, 86 min, HD, Creative, Politics, Society

How to create an urban living space? How to change the world/your neighborhood? How to make the revolution? This film is about the New World Society, a citizens’ initiative in Tallinn, Estonia. The New World is an observational documentary. It follows the main characters and the dynamics of their revolution from the very beginning of it - four years ago. We see euphoria, passion, compromises, frustration, hurt feelings and broken hearts. It is the anatomy of one revolution.

 

The Price of Sex

Director: Chakarova Mimi
Producer: Chakarova Mimi
Production company: Center for Investigative Reporting, Mimi Chakarova

USA, 2011, 70 min, HD, Human Rights, Reportage, Social Issues, Society

The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young East European women drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.

 

Punk in Africa

Production company: U.F.O. Pictures, Meerkat Media, Bohemian Lion Productions, Peligroso Production

Punk in Africa , Czech Republic, South Africa, 2011, 82 min, Digi Beta, HD, Arts and Culture, Music

Three chords, three countries, one revolution… Punk in Africa is the story of the multi-racial punk movement within the recent political and social upheavals experienced in three Southern African countries: South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In these societies, the punk subculture represented a genuinely radical political impulse, playing out against a backdrop of intense political struggle, economic hardship and even civil war.

 

Race to the Bottom

Director: Janeček Vít
Producer: Plešák Pavel
Production company: Vít Janeček

Závod ke dnu , Czech Republic, 2011, 82 min, Digi Beta, DV, Creative, Social Issues, Society

Capital mobility vs. people who stay behind. The end of human labour - a flaw in the system, design of the elites, or a new opportunity? Are labour unions a thing of the past? Have the unemployed become heroes of the 21st century? This complex if not exhaustive documentary film captures various aspects of labour in several companies, multinationals and plants that produce various objects ranging from textiles and glass to cars, matches and IT. Why is the gap between work efficiency and wage costs getting bigger? Work, theory and practice within the context of major global trends.

 

Solar Eclipse

Director: Mareček Martin
Producer: Horská Tereza
Production company: Hypermarket Film

Pod sluncem tma , Czech Republic, 2011, 81 min, DV, Creative, Current Affairs, Portrait, Social Issues

In 2006, Milan and Tomas electrified a school campus and a hospital in a detached Zambian village. After four years, they return for the last time to find out about their system's failures, repair it and hand it over at last. The film follows them through chaotic days as well as pitch black nights and provides a fresh insight into the pitfalls of humanitarian development projects. Short circuits of all sorts, blending and dissolving of different worlds, rituals of gratitude and concepts of solutions. With no attempts to declare or evaluate anything, Solar Eclipse becomes a situation probe examining various forms of light and darkness. Will the two Czech linkboys succeed in lighting up the Zambian bushland?

 

Trafačka - Temple of Freedom

Producer: Dlouhý Saša
Production company: freeSaM, Czech TV

Trafačka - Chrám svobody , Czech Republic, 2011, 75 min, DVD, HD, Arts and Culture, Longitudinal, Portrait, Society

Made since 2006 by means of the observational method, the documentary captures the development of a former transformer repair plant in Prague's Vysočany quarter, starting from the moment when a group of artists converted the plant into an alternative art centre. The documentary includes the life stories of tenants of an adjacent gallery house as well as archive material reminiscent of the socialist era and its “five-year plans”.