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3rd Edition of Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF

Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, celebrates creative documentary films of significant topics. Showcase presents a selection of 2019 winning films.


Echoes of Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival Returns to New York for the Third Time

Press Release, Czech Center New York – Feb 13, 2020

The best of Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (IDFF), the largest event in Central and Eastern Europe celebrating creative documentary films, will be presented at the Czech Center New York for the third time. Czech Center New York (CCNY) is showcasing three award-winning and most exciting films from the 23rd edition of Ji.hlava IDFF in three screenings on February 20, 25, and 27.Profu’ (Teach), the winning movie in Best Central and East European Documentary Film category, is the director Alex Brendea’s debut. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director himself. The Czech documentary Postiženi muzikou (Two Roads), directed by Radovan Síbrt, won the Audience Award. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director Radovan Síbrt. The last documentary of this year’s Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF will be the Madagascar-German documentaryFonja, which was created by a crew of young detainees from a Madagascar detention center under the supervision of director Lina Zacher. The movie won in the Best World Documentary Film category and received the Special Mention of the 23rd edition of Ji.hlava IDFF. Fonja will have its US premiere at the screening at the Bohemian National Hall.

MIROSLAV KONVALINA, THE DIRECTOR OF CCNY:
“Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival presents the best documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe and is the biggest event of its kind in the region. I am very excited that we can bring the winning documentaries of the 2019 Ji.hlava IDFF to the US and present them to an American audience at the Czech Center New York. And I am especially looking forward to meeting the Czech director Radovan Síbrt.”

PROFU’ (TEACH)

Director: Alex Brendea, 2019, 82 min, Romania. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.
February 20, 2020 at 7PM in the cinema (Bohemian National Hall)

The winning movie in the Best Central and East European Documentary Film category
The observational portrait documentary presents the personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The movie monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father figure. It describes not only the Romanian school system, but also the society there as a whole.

Profu’ is the director’s debut of Alex Brendea who has been working in Romanian cinematography for 10 years. “I think that if you really want to make something matter 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first,” says Alex Brendea.

POSTIŽENI MUZIKOU (TWO ROADS)

Director: Radovan Síbrt, 2019, 80 min, Czech Republic. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.
February 25, 2020 at 7PM in the cinema (Bohemian National Hall)

The winning movie in the Audience Award category
Over the course of several years, the observing and attentive camera of director Radovan Síbrt captured the evolution of the personalities of musicians gathered in The Jedlička Institute music class, currently known asThe Tap Tap band, that was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with disabilities an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the driving force of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with disabilities in an unorthodox way.

RADOVAN SÍBRT, THE DIRECTOR OF TWO ROADS:
“Even though it was hard for me at first, I tried to make the film in a similar way that the band members are putting up with their destinies: with no sentiment, pointless pity or political correctness involved, yet with a touch of pitch black humor. I have nothing against correctness. It is a way how to communicate without offending each other. The film can arouse a feeling of incorrectness in some people and I think it is because we are simply not ready yet to perceive people with disabilities as equal. My intention was to present the members of the band the way they really are. Without prejudice or labels. It is important for me that they saw the movie and liked it. They didn’t feel offended at all. And I will actually be happy if the movie gets criticized for its incorrectness. Perhaps it will provoke a discussion about how we should communicate about people with disabilities. And how we should perceive them. And that would be great.”

FONJA

Directors: Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, Lina Zacher; 2019, 80 min, Madagascar and Germany.
February 27 at 7PM in the cinema (Bohemian National Hall)

The winning movie in the Best World Documentary Film category and Special Mention
Fonja is a film made by the youngest and possibly most exceptional film crew of Madagascar. Over the course of a four-month film production workshop, ten detainees from the male youth prison of Madagascar’s largest detention center in the capital Antananarivo discover the camera for the first time.

While they learn about the specifications and rules, they also develop their very own approach to use the camera. It becomes a tool to play around and to visualize their own ideas. Fonja takes us on a journey into their daily life in the prison through images independently shot by the young prisoners themselves. We get a glimpse into a world which is shaped by a strong hierarchy and the obedience of internal rules on the one side, and social cohesion and solidarity on the other side. It is a story about struggles and dreams, told by a strong bonded group and their great spirit to invest all of their creativity, energy, and inspiration into making their own film.

“This film is not only an important portrait which is highly relevant for human rights discussions, but also a symbol for the great talent and individual creativity lurking in all of us, even at a place being despised by society like prisons.” explains Lina Zacher, the co-founder of intercultural multimedial association MIO supporting young talents.


The Echoes of Ji.hlava is a project of Czech Center New York in cooperation with Ji.hlava IDFF and the Romanian Cultural Institute. Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, celebrates creative documentary films of significant topics. The Czech Center New York showcase presents a selection of 2019 winning films.

For more information: Marie Tomanova / tomanova@czechcenter.com / 646.422.3395 
CZECH CENTER NEW YORK, 321 E 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021

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