On the Road: From Jihlava to Prague

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Andrew CatauroPOV Coordinating Producer Andrew Catauro reports on events presented by the Institute of Documentary Film in Jihlava, Czech Republic.

Doc Launch Presentation

Doc Launch Presentation of films in the post-production stage;  Credit: Štefan Berec

Last month, for the fifteenth year in a row, huge numbers of documentary professionals descended on the town of Jihlava, Czech Republic, about 80 miles southeast of Prague. A number of activities were scheduled by the Czech Institute of Documentary Film alongside the annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, bringing together filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world to meet, develop, pitch and sell projects.

I made this trip for the second time, representing POV, and was again impressed by the thoughtfulness, humor and sophistication of the films that were selected — as well as the design of IDF’s program. Fourteen projects in pre-production were refined through IDF’s year-long Ex Oriente Film workshop, and pitched alongside eight other films in the East European Forum. Nine rough cuts were showcased in the Doc Launch presentation. Finally the East Silver documentary market made hundreds of films from Central and Eastern Europe available to industry for potential acquisition. The best films in the East Silver market were also awarded the Silver Eye prize, and I served on the short film jury with Elizabeth Marschan of DocPoint.

The IDF team works hard to develop a unifying theme for these events, which feature films at all stages of development, from pre-production to distribution. Every item of printed materials associated with IDF has a smart graphic identity that extends to the decoration of their facilities around town, as well as the awards for filmmakers and tote bags for industry. This year’s staff made a group camping trip from Jihlava to Prague in order to collect found objects along the Bohemian backroads, packaging them as gifts for each forum pitching participant. They gave industry members a lapel-pinnable hiker’s multitool, to identify us as the experts in the East European forum. In homage to the IDF’s staff camping trip, the lovely and talented moderators, Marijke Rawie from ExpertDocs in the Netherlands and Mikael Opstrup from EDN in Denmark, arrived to kick off the Pitching forum dressed as backpackers from their respective countries.

Marijke Rawie and Mikael Opstrup at the IDF Pitching Forum

Marijke Rawie and Mikael Opstrup “arriving” at the East European Forum 2011; Credit: Štefan Berec

IDF titled this year’s theme “On the Road: from Jihlava to Prague”, and also used it to announce big changes to their program for next year (Central and Eastern European filmmakers take note!). They are rebranding, rescheduling AND relocating. The next round of events will take place March 2012 in Prague, coinciding with the One World Human Rights Film Festival. Also, they have decided to gather all IDF events under one umbrella name: the East Doc platform.

On behalf of POV, I’d like to thank everyone at IDF for another warm reception and valuable week in Jihlava, and wish them luck with preparations for the new edition in Prague. More information on submitting to East Doc is available on their website. For updates on the 2012 program, you can also connect with IDF on Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure to take note of their upcoming deadlines:

December 20, 2011
East European Forum
Doc Launch Presentation
Project Market

January 10, 2012
East Silver Video Library

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Andrew Catauro
Andrew Catauro
Andrew Catauro is a former Series Producer at POV. While at POV, he served on editorial panels and presented at festivals and conferences including the Sundance Film Festival, Doc/It in Trento, Italy, and the Asian Documentary Forum in Kolkata, India; as well as juries for the Brooklyn Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and East Silver Market in Jihlava, Czech Republic. His studies in Italian Cinema earned him the Immersion Award from the Milan International Film Festival. Andrew previously worked for the New York AIDS Film Festival and assisted Alexandra Kerry on documentary films in development. He holds a dual bachelor's degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. Andrew's favorite documentaries are: Dark Days - Marc Singer The Gleaners & I - Agnès Varda Silverlake Life: The View from Here - Peter Friedman & Tom Joslin Manufacturing Consent - Mark Achbar & Peter Wintonick Tongues Untied - Marlon Riggs American Dream - Barbara Kopple Family Portrait Sittings - Alfred Guzzetti In Search of Our Fathers - Marco Williams The Education of Shelby Knox - Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt Nobody's Business - Alan Berliner