Television, Commission Work and Creative Freedom

Illustration: Míša Kukovičová

Several related topics are woven throughout almost all the rubrics of this year's first dok.revue. The centre of their attention revolves around public television and various forms of custom work. In an interview with Apollonia Rychlíková we discuss not only what it is like filming for television, but also why it is an important medium which we shouldn‘t look down upon. The situational review is dedicated to the widely discussed documentary cycles of Czech television Kmeny (Tribes) and Příběhy neobyčejné energie (Stories of Unusual Energy) in whose financing the private sector was also involved. This time we asked four filmmakers to analyze the issue of financing documentary work based on their experience, and also on the related issue of the independence of creative documentaries.

Director Filip Remunda decided to portray his Ukrainian episode of another television series, Český žurnál (Czech Journal), which is being produced, in a rather unconventional fashion. Instead of relaying circumstances of the explored themes or unveiling creative methods, he wrote a series of short stories about what he did not manage to film in Ukraine. For example, about Hitler and Švejk in the same bar, where the guest from last year’s Jihlava IDFF Inspiration Forum, Petr Pavlensky, also went for a drink.

The pressing issue of financing public documentary film raises a lot of questions, among others, those concerning the boundaries between commission work and art. The book review of Atomy věčnosti (Atoms of Eternity) by Lucie Česálková touches upon a similar subject from a historical perspective. Pavlína Vogelová takes a look at the author's detailed exploration of Czechoslovak short film of the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Apart from a great amount of fascinating information, you’ll find proof that even commission work can have a beneficial influence on the development of film language.

Finally, we wish all the authors free and dignified conditions for their work whether it be of a creative or commission nature.

Translated by Floriana Skorulska

07. 04. 2015

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