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Day six: Central and eastern European cinema

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I promised to take you to the world of the central and eastern European cinema yesterday, so here it comes.

Apart from films screened at the East of the West section, the festival brings to you many a jewel this year in the section 20 Years of Freedom. Tributes are being paid to Jan Švankmajer and Peter Solan. Explore how Russian female directors view their country in the section A Female Take on Russia and watch out for Marko Škop’s documentary Osadné competing for the Crystal Globe for the best documentary this year.

Jiří Chlumský’s Nedodržaný sl’ub (A Broken Promise) is screened in the section Another View and three films from the region will compete for the best picture award this year – Vladimír Balko’s Pokoj v Duši (Soul at Peace), Gyorgi Pálfi’s Nem vagyok a barátod (I Am Not Your Friend), Robert Glinski’s Swinki (Piggies), and the last minute add to the section Vassily Sigarev’s Vlčok (Wolfy).

As for more Czech films worth mentioning, a world premiere of Juraj Herz’s horror T.M.A. was screened at the Grand Hall of Hotel Thermal yesterday and Václav Marhoul’s Tobruk was screened a the highest digital quality in the new hall to be officially opened next year. I also can’t forget Mária Procházková’s Kdopak by se vlka bál and Zdeněk Tyč’s El Paso with more to be seen in Czech films of 2008 – 2009 section.

I also promised you a report on the annual Docu Talents from the East presentation which took place today. The presentation is supported by the Doc Alliance project designed to help and promote documentaries on five major documentary festivals in Europe as well as help the best pictures find their audience even long after they were first screened. Today, nine emerging projects were shown to distributors, filmmakers, journalists and other film industry representatives giving them opportunity to find future partners. A list of the presented projects can be found here.

As I have said, helping emerging projects is only one part of what the alliance does. Another is a presentation of selected works on their website where they can find audience they wouldn’t have a chance reaching otherwise. Every documentary can be viewed in three different qualities, price depends both on quality of the screening and length, 60% of which goes to the holder of the right to the piece. The alliance is open to all projects that bring a new point of view, and while the payment can now only be done via credit card, there are plans to launch PayPal and text message payments as well. I really found this new way of helping documentaries fantastic as I feel films from this genre have a harder time to reach their audience compared to feature films.

And to conclude, I have a tip for you. Friends have been asking me whether I already have a tip for a winner of the Grand Prix – Crystal Globe award and all I could do until yesterday was just shrug my shoulders. All changed after I saw a premiere of Frédéric Dumont’s directorial debut, Un ange a la mer (Angel at Sea). The film is a breathtaking study of a 12-year old boy trying to find a way to connect with his disturbed father. Apart from the brilliant acting of all actors, the film flows almost flawlessly, grips your emotions, and takes you through the story with such amazing photography and scenography so pure I was just stunned. Since I haven’t seen all of the films in the main competition yet I won’t have a final say yet, but indeed, this film will be one of those in the first line when the decision is to be made.

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