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Institute of Documentary Film’s Activities

Founded in 2001, INSTITUTE OF DOCUMENTARY FILM (IDF) is a non-profit training and networking centre based in Prague, Czech Republic, focused on the support of Central and East European creative documentary film and its wider promotion.

We work closely with Central and East European film directors and producers and provide in-depth development support for their projects as well as international promotion.

We also work with key international festivals, broadcasters, distributors, sales agents, markets, film institutions, film schools, MEDIA Desks, training programmes, national film centres and various film portals, and serve as the GATEWAY TO EAST EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY FILM – an indispensable source of documentary projects and films from Central and Eastern Europe.

Over and Out in Competition at Visions du réel

East Silver Caravan’s short documentary Over and Our by Toomas Järvet is included in the short film competition at the upcoming Visions du réel (April 20 - 27) in Nyon. An additional eleven documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe will be featured at the Doc Outlook Market under the East Silver selection.


Over and Out, Estonian short documentary by Toomas Järvet is a unique, almost contemplative insight in the last day of the rescuer Martin at Kolga-Jaani Command Unit, which is closed down. Over and Out was among the nine nominees in the short doc category for our Silver Eye Award in 2011.

The festival programme will feature another three documentaries, which may be found in the East Silver catalogue, the Low Definition Control – Malfunctions #0 (dir. Michael Palm) and two recently included titles, Bad Weather (dir. Giovanni Giommi) and The Tundra Book. A Tale of Vukvukai, the Little Rock (dir. Aleksei Vakhrushev) – both selected for the new East Silver edition in 2012.

Apart from the presentation of newest Swiss documentaries, the festival will dedicate special attention to the documentary cinema in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Village Without Women by Srdjan Sarenac (Ex Oriente Film, East European Forum 2008, Doc Launch 2009, East Silver Caravan 2010) and many others.

Visions du réel, Switzerland
April 20 – 27, 2012

East Silver Caravan:

Over and Out

Director: Järvet Toomas
Producer: Talvistu Eero
Production company: Lugukala Film/Waltma

Side Lõpp , Estonia, 2011, 15 min, DVD, Creative, Social Issues

Today the rescue worker Martin goes to work just like he did for the last six years. But this is not a normal day for him. It is his last day at Kolga-Jaani Command Unit. Martin and his six colleagues will lose their jobs due to a national cost-savings programme when their Command Unit in a remote Estonian settlement is closed down for good.



East Silver selection at Doc Outlook International Market:


Director: Fabri Irena
Producer: Tomic Mirjana
Production company: Filmme Fatale

Budjenje , Serbia, 2011, 85 min, DVD, HD, Current Affairs, Personal View, Politics, Social Issues

Ten years after Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown and the democracy officially came to Serbia, the society is still in chaos, burdened with corruption, violence towards minorities, strikes… The movie portrays this transitional chaos from a generational and personal perspective. Three young people keep their video diaries. Vladimir (26) is an art historian, a dandy who occasionally works in a factory in order to help his single mother and younger brother. Marija (20) is a student of Faculty of Dramatic Arts who recently stayed without parents. Branislav (23) - is trying to finish his studies facing the difficulties of life of a guy from Kosovo, living in the capital.



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...


Generation Singles

Director: Počtová Jana
Production company: HBO Czech Republic, Mimoid Pictures

Generace Singles , Czech Republic, 2011, 77 min, HD, Current Affairs, Social Issues, Society

The documentary about people without partners is a probe into human relations in present-day Czech Republic, a contemplation of diverse forms of hope and disillusion. It deals with sexuality, causes of infidelity, reasons for divorces, and transformations of traditional partnership and family models. The life of one of the female protagonists has a surprising denouement in the epilogue and the destinies of the protagonists after the documentary was made are described in the final credits. “On the basis of the portraits of several people I would like to open up the singles theme. I would like to create a platform for discussion, I would like to stop and try to understand at least a little what is happening around us,” says director Jana Počtová.


On the Outside

Production company: HBO Czech Republic

Venku , Czech Republic, 79 min, Digi Beta, Human Rights, Longitudinal, Social Issues, Society

This long-term observational film compares the situation of prisoners sentenced for life with the situation of those who leave their prison cells after several years. What does a man who has been looking forward to the day he would leave the prison gate for such a long time do? How does he cope with the fact that everything is different from what he imagined? What choices will he make? Will the situation be at least a little similar to what he expected? And what are the decisions and thoughts of a person who apparently has no choice - a person sentenced for life? The director's aim is to depict the moments where twists and important changes take place in the lives of these people. Based on the prisoners' stories, the film also intends to put forward the more general question of managing one's own time and freedom.


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?


Strong - A Recovery Story

Producer: Tősér Ádám
Production company: Borbálafilm Kft.

Eross , Hungary, 2011, 85 min, HD, Adventure and Sports, Health, Portrait

Zsolt Eross is the most successful Hungarian mountaineer. So far he has climbed 8 of the highest peeks in the world, Mount Everest among others. On 2nd of January 2010 he suffered an avalanche accident in the High Tatras breaking both his legs. Because of the unexpected complications of the open, splintered fracture and for the possibility of the early rehabilitation – as his own decision – his right leg was amputated from knee downwards. The movie illustrates a moving, human story of an injured person rising back to his feet, far overwhelming his character. He tells a universal story which can happen to anyone. Zsolt Eross - whose family name means strong in Hungarian - shows his strengths in this situation. He wants to return to the moutains as soon as possible. Few months after the accident he returns to the Himalayas to attempt Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak in the world, but he had to realize that the accident weakened him more than he had thought.



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.

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.


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”.


On the Way Home

Director: Kachkin Sergey
Producer: Kachkin Sergey
Production company: April FilmLab, Andra Maria Matresu

Po doroge domoi , Germany, Russia, 2011, 56 min, DVD, HD, Creative, Personal View, Portrait, Society

This story is about a journey, a relationship and returning home. He’s already been driving his truck for twenty years throughout Russia while she waits for him at home. He is alone on the road. She’s together with her beloved pet, faithful friend and protector Irbis. This could continue for longer if he wasn’t terminally ill.



Eastern European films in programme:

The Tundra Book. A Tale of Vukvukai, the Little Rock

Production company: High Latitudes ltd

Kniga Tundry. Povest o Vukvukaye - Malenkom Kamne. , Russia, 2011, 105 min, HD, Adventure and Sports, Anthropology, Society

72 years have passed as deer herder Vukvukai lives in the depths of Chukotka. He is an old man full of energy and wisdom - The Real Man of Tundra whose life can not be seen apart from the deer. His people take care of a huge herd - over 14,000 deer. Their life is a non-stop struggle for survival and well-being in the most harsh weather conditions of Chaun-Chukotka. They deeply believe in the strength of tradition and so succeed in their struggle. The ancient culture of Nomadic Chukchi takes care of them, so they preserve and follow it. As far as it is now - their realm remains stabile. This is the Truth of Vukvukai.


Low Definition Control – Malfunctions #0

Director: Palm Michael
Production company: Hammelfilm

Austria, 2011, 95 min, 35 mm, Creative, Experimental

Regardless of where we walk or where we stand, we’re being watched: In a society in which the public space is primarily regarded a source of risks, nearly everything depends on constant surveillance. And so the most banal of activities (such as eating a sandwich or carrying a suitcase), when performed in inner cities of the developed world, are filmed and decoded by grid programs. The fact that security and risk prevention now represent “political superglue” prompted Michael Palm to reflect on the implications of the growing mechanization of perception, in both the public space and the field of medicine. The method Palm chose for his film "Low Definition Control" is repeatedly expanding upon a theory in fragments by means of unreal, grainy images of everyday scenes.


Bad Weather

Director: Giommi Giovanni
Producer: Deckert Heino
Production company: 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.