Leading international festival of documentary film at Jihlava celebrates 11th anniversairy
This Tuesday sees the opening of the 11th Jihlava film festival. The festival in the small town where Bohemia meets Moravia is one of the biggest of its kind in central and eastern Europe. Dedicated to screening fresh new documentary films, it aims to provide an alternative outlet to more popular cinemas and to Czech television, where such films are rarely shown.
This year's festival will have three competitive sections: Opus Bonum, for the best in international documentary cinema from 2006 and 2007; Mezi Mori or 'Between the Seas' for the best films from central and eastern Europe, and finally a category known as 'Ceska Radost', 'Czech Joy', reserved exclusively for films by Czech directors. Many of the films in the international competition have had controversial receptions at other international film festivals, such as Locarno, Venice and Cannes.
Marek Hovorka is the festival's founder and producer. I asked him which films he was particularly looking forward to this year.
This will be the second year that the winners of the competition will be decided by a single juror. In previous years, the winner has been the result of compromise between up to five panelists. The organisers insist that such compromise is not something they want: the winner in each category must be the best and the award a personal one. In addition, this is the first year that the 'Between the Seas' competition will be open to films from eastern Europe. So where did it all begin? Marek Hovorka: