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Ji.hlava IDFF announces opening film, masterclasses

Organizers of the 25th annual Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival have announced the opening film of this year’s event, as well as details for the event’s masterclasses and juries. Ji.hlava 2021 ...
October 22, 2021

Organizers of the 25th annual Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival have announced the opening film of this year’s event, as well as details for the event’s masterclasses and juries.

Ji.hlava 2021 will open with the film When Flowers Are Not Silent by Belarusian director Andrei Kutsila, about his native country following last year’s presidential election, which saw more than 80% of the votes gained by current president, Alexander Lukashenko, a result disputed by the European Union and much of the population, and the ensuing peaceful demonstrations were violently suppressed. The film will also be included in the festival’s Opus Bonum international competition.

“The documentary is a brave testimony of the state’s violent repression against peaceful protests. It shows how brutally this last European dictatorship resists the transformation of Belarus into a freer society. With this special screening, we want to support the Belarusian opposition and all of the country’s citizens who want to live in a free world, just as various initiatives in Western European countries supported the Czechoslovak opposition in the 1980s,” said Ji.hlava festival director Marek Hovorka of the film.

The Contribution to World Cinema Award will be presented to Czech filmmaker Jana Ševčíková, who is currently finishing her eighth film. Her films have screened at festivals in Berlin, Rotterdam, Paris, Nyon and Leipzig, among others, as well as at MOMA and Harvard University. She’s been a consistent presence at Ji.hlava, winning the Audience Award for The Rite of Spring (2002). Her 2001 film Old Believers will be shown at Ji.hlava this year.

A masterclass from Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone will also be featured at Ji.hlava this year, who presented his new film JFK Revisited at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Among other things, he will talk about his new film, in which he goes back not only to the assassination of President Kennedy but also to his feature film JFK (1991). “Kennedy’s murder was motivated by change: Kennedy was changing things. If he had succeeded, we would have been in a very different place today,” Stone said in Cannes.

Russian documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky will also host a masterclass. His new film Gorbachev. Heaven will be presented by Ji.hlava in the Testimonies competition section.

Other masterclasses featured at the event will include artist collective Flatform, whose works can be seen at the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Czech documentary filmmaker and script editor Jan Gogola Jr.; and creative duo Ivo Bystřičan (Czech Republic) and Sara Pinheiro (Portugal), who will discuss their new project Future Landscapes: Expedition into Sound.

Organizers also revealed details on the juries for Ji.lhava, with the Opus Bonum winner selected by six-member jury composed of Syrian writer and filmmaker Orwa Al Mokdad, Romanian producer Anamaria Antoci, Czech-Japanese documentary filmmaker Haruna Honcoop, Dutch film critic Sofie Cato Maas, Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu and Mexican festival programmer and distributor Pedro Emilio Segura Bernal.

The Czech Joy awards will be decided by last year’s winner, documentarian Jindřich Andrš, together with director and cinematographer Tomáš Klein, film and theatre music composer Jakub Kudláč, Slovak editor and musician Monika Omerzu Midriaková, Czech art theorist Tomáš Pospiszyl and Jihlava native and collaborator of the Czech Centre in Paris Marie Sýkorová.

The winners of the awards for the best experimental film in the Facinations and Exprmntl.cz sections will be determined by a family jury of Daria Kashcheeva, a filmmaker who won a student Oscar for her short film, and script editor and film editor Alexander Kashcheev.

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