Embassy of the Czech Republic


The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (JIDFF) is a celebration of creative documentary film and the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. The festival pays tribute to courage and risk.

Location: NYU in Washington, DC
1307 L St NW, Washington, DC 20005

RSVP: http://www.nyu.edu/washington-dc/nyu-washington--dc-events/echoes-of-one-world.html
Admission is free but you must register to attend!

All films will be screened with English subtitles.

Monday, March 27
6:00 pm – Spectres Are Haunting Europe
  Šimon Pánek, Cofounder and Director, People in Need

Light refreshments follow the screening.

Thursday, March 30
12 noon – Helena’s Law | Zákon Helena
                   Opening Remarks: Embassy of the Czech Republic
                   Marek Hovorka, director of JIDFF (SKYPE)
                   Possible Q&A with film director Petra Nesvačilová (SKYPE)
2:00 pm - FC Roma
                   David Frous, Head of the Political Section, Embassy of the Czech Republic
                   Q&A with film director Tomáš Bojar (SKYPE)
In between screenings, there will be short breaks for light refreshments.


March 27, 6 pm
Spectres Are Haunting Europe
Directors: Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari, France / Greece, 2016, 99 min.
Award: Best World Documentary Film at JIDFF

The Idomeni refugee camp housed people from the Middle East who were trying to cross the border into Europe. When the Greek police closed the camp, the refugees resisted and blocked a railway line used to deliver goods. Maria Kourkouta’s minimalist documentary not only observes these events but also presents carefully modeled static images that open up the space within and without the frame of view, and in the closing black-and-white sequence offers a poetic commentary. The result is a bleak portrait of a place where endless lines of refugees try to preserve the final remnants of their individual freedoms.           

“This film is a call to welcome the refugees that cross the European borders, as well as the ghosts that return with them.”               

About the Directors: Maria Kourkouta (1982) is a Greek filmmaker and photographer living in France. She has been making short documentaries and experimental films since 2008, including the film collage Prelude 02 – 07 (2010, Jihlava 2011) and Epistrofi stin odo Ailolu (2013). For her feature-film debut Spectres are haunting Europe, she collaborated with Greek author Niki Giannari.     

March 30, 12 noon          
Helena’s Law (Zákon Helena)              
Director: Petra Nesvačilová, Czech Republic, 2016, 80 min.

Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, leading her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.

“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

About the Director: Petra Nesvačilová (1985) first gained attention as an actress in Karin Babinská’s Dolls (2007). In addition to regularly appearing in Czech films and television series, she is currently studying documentary film at FAMU. Past films shown at the Ji.hlava IDFF include Opus No. 50 or the Story of Milada Horáková (2009), Tell Me Where the Germans Are (2011), and an episode of the series Ex-Premiers about Václav Klaus, From Borotín up to the top of Sněžka Mountain (2013).          

March 30, 2 pm  
FC Roma
Directors: Tomáš Bojar and Rozálie Kohoutová, Czech Republic, 2016, 76 min.

A chronicle of the FC Roma football club, whose members have to persuade the other - “gadjo” - teams in the third league to play against them, transforms into an excursion through the various types of everyday Czech xenophobia. The filmmakers’ inconspicuous, observational approach gives a voice to the charismatic coaches, who, with a healthy ironic worldview, comment on a society that gives them virtually no chance. The dialogue of the various protagonists is the most prominent feature of this stirring, yet hopeless sounding documentary. Racism proves to be absurd, often unintentionally comical, but also chilling.      

“Hitler doesn’t belong on the playing field.”

About the Directors: Tomáš Bojar (1981), co-writer of the screenplays for director Pavel Abrahám’s films RAPublic (2008) and Two Nil (2012), filmed his directorial debut in tandem with Rosalie Kohoutová (1985). She is well-known as the filmmaker of Stalin’s Spot from the Gottland anthology (2014) and Jenica & Perla (2015), a portrait of two Roma girls.


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