One of the largest nonfiction events in Europe, the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, launches its 18th edition tonight, Thursday, October 23. More than 70 documentary features will screen through the end of the festival, next Tuesday, October 28. While I’ve never attended, the event has drawn praise from international fest organizers for its eclectic approach to nonfiction programming. Following are some highlights of new work from this year’s lineup.
Jihlava holds several competitions for both feature-length and short work. The main one, Opus Bonum, includes more than a dozen titles, including: Anna Roussillon’s I AM THE PEOPLE, a look at Egypt’s revolution from the perspective of distant villagers; Pietro Albino Di Pasquale’s IN YOUR EYES, an experiential recreation of visual impairment; Paulo Carneiro’s WATER TO TABATO, a real-time chronicle of a sinking ship off the coast of Guinea-Bissau; Tiago Tambelli’s 20 CENTS (pictured), an immersive experience of last Summer’s mass protests in Brazil; and Juan Camilo Olmos Feris’ CHASING AFTER THE WIND, a nocturnal tour through a once-dangerous Cartagenan neighborhood.
The Between the Seas competition puts the spotlight on Central and Eastern European nonfiction, including: Stanislaw Mucha’s TRISTIA – A BLACK SEA ODYSSEY, a multinational journey along the titular body of water; Marcell Gerő’s CAIN’S CHILDREN, about life after juvenile homicide; Daniel Nicolae Djamo’s A LAST YEAR IN 114 MINUTES, an intimate chronicle of the final year in the life of a loved one; Bartosz Dombrowski’s 6 DEGREES (pictured), an experiment in interpersonal connectedness; and Nino Kirtadze’s DON’T BREATHE, following a man who reckons with an unexpected medical diagnosis.
Czech Joy sees a dozen local films compete for recognition, including: Jiří Stejskal’s MY HOME, an outsider’s look at the encroachment of urban development on a small Kiev farm; Jana Ševčíková’s LEAN A LADDER AGAINST HEAVEN, about a priest whose parish ministers to society’s outcasts; Jakub Zahradníček and David Čálek’s PIRATING PIRATES (pictured), a metafilmmaking chronicle originally meant to explore Somalian piracy; and Veronika Lišková’s DANIEL’S WORLD, a portrait of a gay pedophile university student.
Among the several films screening out of competition are: The Maw Naing’s portrait of a mentor relationship at a beleaguered Burmese monastery, THE MONK; Květoslava Přibylová’s exploration of the unusual relationship between parrots and people, CHITTER CHATTER, THAT’S ALL YOU’RE GOOD AT. SAID VEGETABLE. (pictured); Braňo Špaček’s look at new teachers’ efforts to turn a struggling classroom around, FORM 8.A; and Miroslav Janek’s portrait of the Czech Republic’s former First Lady, OLGA.