Marina Ustyushkina

The Documentaries Autumn: Ukrainian adventures in Jihlava

I always expect some special experiences from trips to the Czech Republic, because any tourist find everything for the happiness in this country: cozy streets, majestic Gothic castles and churches, friendly people. But this time, the trip to the Czech Republic was not just special, but really impressive for me. Because I went to the town Jihlava to participate in the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFF). The Ukrainian delegation consisted of 15 people: the students the University of Karpenko-Kary, the graduates of "Interschool" and the members of the Czech center (the Czech center was organizer this trip).

Our expectations were different: we wanted to learn, to meet European documentaries, and particularly with Czech documentary films, to learn more about the production of documentary projects in the Czech Republic, to meet new people, to get useful advices for our own projects.

Four days that goes by like one.

About the organization of the festival

The first day - the day of opening the festival - left a bunch of impressions. Pleasant fuss of organizers and guests of the festival: solving the issues of settlement with accreditation, receiving invitations to various events of the festival ...

Settlement: four days we lived in a hostel or something, whether dormitory. Nobody expected on comfort: everyone understood the festival gathers many exhibitors and visitors, so expect to place in comfortable hotels are not worth it. But our hostel was like a decent hotel. This details is unnecessary, but it represent the quality and organization of the festival. I want to make another one compliment to the organizers: they cared about all the events at the festival (the workshops, film screenings and etc.) started almost on time. It is a very great achievement for so many events in one festival.

We learned a lot at the festival

About festival program. To say that it was a surprisingly rich - not enough. All events passed in the six festival venues from morning to late night. There was everything: documentary films that were part of the competition program of the festival, visitors IDFF, workshops with directors and other professionals, meetings with interesting people, meeting with organizers cinematic festivals around the world, informal evening with representatives of FAMU (Czech Film School), Czech Television, Czech Cinema Center and others.

I am impressed the several events. The workshop with Helena Trestikova, Czech director, was most amazing for me. Helena is incredible person who makes films about different people. And unlike many directors, Helena lives life of her characters. She doesn’t restore their stories. The director can shoot her picture several years! And, believe me, this time expended not in vain.

Another impressive discovery for me - the number of films in the competition program that was filming the teachers FAMU. Not the students, such as teachers. As for me, it is the best example: only removing directors, cameramen, producers can teach others to make a documentary film. How many teachers of the Ukrainian universities have the opportunity to shoot his films?

Watching movies: most vivid impressions

The film Vitaly Manskys (Russian director) Under the Sun left most impressions. This film tells about life in North Korea. Vitaly was able to show the audience his real life in North Korea. He made this despite all the efforts of the authorities of the country – they made him draw a bright socialist world.

Another one film did not leave indifferent delegation from Ukraine - Czech Journal: Near Far East by director Filip Remunda. This film is European view on the war in Ukraine.

And also I really wanted to say about American film (T)error by directors Lyric R. Cabral and David Sutcliffe Felix. This film is an example of a mastery directors, screenwriter  and cameramen.  It's worth it to see it.

We looked at a lot of other films, each of which was interesting.

French-Ukrainian historian and Ukrainian delegation

We would like to say about the surprise, which was expecting a delegation from Ukraine. We were pleasantly surprised by personal invitation from Lubomir Hosejko, historian who studies French and Ukrainian cinema. Lubomir brought the shot films from the 20s-30s of last century at the festival in Jihlava. Among them the special place occupied movies Deslava Eugene - French director of Ukrainian origin. This retrospective of Lubomir Hosejko was interesting excursions into the history of cinema.


Well, I can describe the impression a very long time, but the main thing that this festival gave us its self-confidence and inspiration for the implementation of our projects.