Daniel’s World

Veronika Lišková speaks about the circumstances leading to the creation of her new documentary, Daniel’s World, that is to be released in Czech cinemas in autumn 2014

Daniel’s World

Three years ago, I got a phone call from my friend, producer Zdeněk Holý, who suggested a potential subject for a documentary film – paedophilia. He had seen a schematic TV report covering a case of child abuse by a paedophile and he conceived the idea to go and find, as he put it, “a harmless paedophile” and make a film about him. At first, I was not too enthusiastic about his idea. My view of the topic was influenced by the established and simplified media image and stereotypes. In my mind, I drew an equation between paedophilia, child pornography and child abuse. I did not recall theories regarding sexual orientation of Foglar, Carroll or Andersen or anything else that would make the view of the issue seem less black-and-white.

Not before long, Zdeněk called again. In the meantime, he got in contact with a man with a nick Jiří Fx100d, who was willing to meet up. The meeting took place in a slightly bizarre setting of a socialist “culture house”. With the throbbing sound of disco music in the background, we were talking to a quiet man with roving eyes and a little dog on his lap. He was talking about his first love, whom he had picked out at a playground under his window, about how he befriended her and her parents and became a favourite babysitting uncle, and about unsuccessful relationships with women and his future prospects. My meeting with Jirka and his online confessions were enough for me to decide that a film about “harmless paedophiles” is worth shooting. Not that I have been overcome by the messiah complex and wanted to start “advocating” these people. I felt rather compelled to cope with my own stereotypes. To somehow grasp the whole issue and try to understand it.

A number of members of the Czech paedophile community whom I met in the following months were willing to appear in the film, if I granted them anonymity. However, this would limit the shooting potential. I was considering various forms of disguise, but I did not want to portray the protagonists as mysterious phantoms. A paedophile has already become a spectre in the eyes of the society. It took almost a year, before I found Daniel – a student at a literary academy, who decided for a public coming-out by publishing his autobiographical book. Daniel told me that he had not encountered any significant problem with any one of those he came out to, and this was why there was no reason for him to hide his face.

Daniel’s World

We recorded Daniel’s world for a period of one year – from situations that were closely related to his life, through to confessions recorded by himself, even during his meetings with his friends from the paedophile community. The result is his delicate and intimate portrait. Even before its initial official release, we have already been confronted with situations in which we needed to explain ourselves, defending the film and its style as well as the individual scenes. There are people who seem to mind that the film shows paedophiles outside the established stereotypes. There have been worries about the audience’s approach to the film. Daniel and his friends from the community will clearly have to cope with the fears and prejudices of their surroundings also in the film arena. I believe that thanks to their courage and open approach to shooting, their struggle will be crowned with success.


Daniel’s World will be released in Czech cinemas this autumn.


Translated into English by Bára Rozkošná.





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starší články

1.14DOK.REVUE
28. 04. 2014


from current issue:

New releaseShooting About KunderaDocumentarian Miloslav Šmídmajer describes the process of making a documentary about Milan Kundera with the working title “Milan Kundera: From the Joke to Insignificance.” Miloslav ŠmídmajerThemeNest in the bedroomPeter Hames, well-known British film historian and author of the book The Czechoslovak New Wave sent his remembrance to Karel Vachek to our magazine.Peter HamesThemeNever stop laughingPaolo Benzi, the Italian film producer and founder of the independent film production company Okta Film, describes for dok.revue how he met famous Czech documentary filmmaker Karel Vachek, who passed away last year. Paolo Benzi is also the main tutor of the Emerging producers in Ji.hlava IDFF.Paolo BenziThemeBehold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightenedIn this English issue of dok.revue we have collected some remembrances to Karel Vachek, the respected Czech documentarist who died in December 2020 at the age of 80. One of the contributors is Olaf Möller, a well-known film theorist and critic collaborating with many renowned film magazines (Film Comment or Sight & Sound), film museums and festivals (e.g. Il Cinema Ritrovato or International Film Festival Rotterdam).Olaf MöllerThemeEvery human being should get to wear comfy shoesThe Czech documentarist Karel Vachek was a chairperson of the jury at Yamagata international documentary film festival (YIDFF) in 2009. The board member of YIDFF and the former director of this festival, Asako Fujioka, has a remembrance of him smoking his pipe and going to the mountains with Japanese poet and filmmaker Yoshimasu Gozo to recite poetry to the skies.Asako FujiokaThemeLike the dog on the beach...American film historian Alice Lovejoy writes her remembrance of Karel Vachek, the remarkable Czech documentarist to whom we dedicate this English issue of dok.revue.Alice LovejoySportPandemic as an opportunityJi.hlava's Emerging Producers discuss the opportunity that can emerge from crisisSteve RickinsonInterviewThe times of lifelong careers are overAn interview with documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose film A New Shift won the Czech competition section Czech Joy at Ji.hlava IDFF2020.Vojtěch KočárníkInterviewGoing to the Polish Turf with Our Own TeamInterview with documentary filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák about their latest joint film project Once Upon a Time in Poland that shows how religion and faith are misused in contemporary Poland for mass manipulation and political purposes. The film‘s Czech premiere was held as part of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020.Kamila BoháčkováIntroductionDok.revue 1.21This issue is dedicated to the doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel VachekKamila Boháčková