×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ji.hlava Docu Fest: Awards Celebrate Truth and Respect

Although some serious points were made, the mood was light and even jovial at the closing night of the 22nd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. Packed into Kino DKO II, a crowd of filmmakers and producers saw the awards handed out in the presence of a live 15-piece band that blasted out the opening bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” as the winners took to the stage. Handing out the award for Opus Bonum – a prize given, unusually, by a single juror – Poland’s Krzysztof Zanussi, in town for a masterclass, joked that being the lone arbiter “was a special experience – all night I was fighting with myself.”

Many winners – like “Vacancy” director Alexandra Kandy Longuet, who accepted via video – kept their speeches short and thanked the festival, their subject and their colleagues, while Jean-Luc Godard, winner of the Contribution to World Cinema Award, sent over a few baffling seconds of what appeared to be a stretch of sidewalk. It was left to Slovakian co-presenter Tereza Novotna, working alongside Czech director Jan Foukal, to inject an air of solemnity by referring the the deaths of 28 journalists this year. “Truth is really under threat today,” she noted.

This theme of truth and freedom was picked up Ukrainian “Heavy Metal” director Eugene Golovanevsky, who used his platform to raise awareness of fellow Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who is still in jail in Russia, on spurious charges, after a period of hunger strike. “Owner’s Portrait” director Joaquín Maito went further by commenting on the rise of far right-wing parties in Latin America, notably in Brazil, where Jair Bolsonaro was just elected. “The lack of freedom is very bad for art,” he said. “Like all artists, we should be trying to fight for freedom.”

The final award of the night, the Audience Award, went to “Vote for Kibera” by Czech director Martin Páv, a study of life in a giant slum in Nairobi. Acknowledging the rise of fear and intolerance around the world, Páv noted that winning the Audience Award proved to him that there was still a glimmer of hope for humanity. “Our fear is often overblown, baseless,” he said, “and for me this [award] is a show of respect for the people in Nairobi.”

Overall, the awards capped a good year for the festival, which drew a record attendance of more than 40,000 viewers. There were 5,270 accredited guests, including 1,185 film professionals, with a program that consisted of 327 films, 100 world premieres and 161 competition films divided into 11 sections. Festival director Marek Hovorka said: “I am happy that this year’s Ji.hlava has broken all its audience records. However, the energy, shared by both audience and authors, is even more important.”

The prizes went as follows:

Opus Bonum

Best World Documentary Film: “Vacancy” (Alexandra Kandy Longuet, Belgium)

Special mention: “Talks with TGM” (Jakub Červenka, Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Between The Seas

Best Central and East European Documentary Film: “Timebox” (Nora Agapi, Romania)

Special mention: “The Last Self-Portrait” (Marek Kuboš, Slovakia)

Between the Seas Student Film Competition

Winner: “A Well-Kept Secret” (Mihkel Oksmann, Estonia)

Special mention: “Heavy Metal” (Eugene Golovanevsky, Ukraine)

Czech Joy

Best Czech Documentary Film: “Enclosed World” (Karel Žalud, Czech Republic)

Special Mention: “Central Bus Station” (Tomáš Elšík, Czech Republic) and “Solos for Members of Parliament” (Tereza Bernátková, Czech Republic)

Student Jury Award: “Passengers” (Jana Boršková, Czech Republic)

Fascinations

Best Experimental Documentary Film: “Blending and Blinding” (Richard Tuohy, Australia)

Special Mention: “Soar” (Patrick Bokanowski, France)

Fascinations: Exprmntl.Cz

Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film: “Apart” (Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Czech Republic)

Special Mention: “Puddles, I Don’t Know” (Anna Petruželová, Czech Republic)

First Lights

Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film​: “Owner’s Portrait” (Joaquín Maito, Argentina)

Special mention: “Boy of War” (Cyprien Clément-Delmas and Igor Kosenko, Germany/Czech Republic)

Student Jury Award: “Boy of War” (Cyprien Clément-Delmas and Igor Kosenko, Germany/Czech Republic)

A Testimony on Politics

Best Testimony on Politics: “The Silence of Others” (Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, U.S., Spain)

Special mention: “Still Recording” (Ghiath Ayoub, Syria/France/Lebanon/Qatar/Germany)

A Testimony on Knowledge

Best Testimony on Knowledge: “The Truth about Killer Robots” (Maxim Pozdorovkin)

A Testimony on Nature

Best Testimony on Nature: “Welcome to Sodom” (Florian Weigensamer and Christian Krönes, Austria)

Audience Award

“Vote for Kibera” (Martin Páv, Czech Republic)

Contribution to World Cinema Award

Jean-Luc Godard

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

  • Running Against the Wind

    Young Africans' Dreams Are Focus of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda Oscar Picks

    Films about young Africans trying to fulfill their dreams in the face of war, poverty, tradition and other forms of adversity have been submitted for Oscar consideration by three East African nations. The selections by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda to compete in the international feature film category reflect the relative youth of filmmaking in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content