10 Years of Discovering the Best Documentaries for You

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Miroslav Janek

Miroslav Janek

Czech Republic


Miroslav Janek (born 1954) made photographs from the age of ten; from the age of fifteen, he made short films, a great number of which were awarded at numerous festivals of amateur film. From 1973 to 1976, he failed to be submitted to the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) three times. In 1979, he emigrated to Germany and went on to live in Minneapolis, USA; there he worked as film editor and cameraman, making a whole range of creative films. In 1978, the legend of Czech interwar avant-garde Alexander Hammid (formerly Hackenschmied) introduced him to director Godfrey Reggio with whom he cooperated as editor on the films of the famous Quatsi trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi, Naqoyqatsi) and further on the short film Anima Mundi and the multimedia project FABRICA based in Treviso, Italy. He returned to the Czech Republic in 1995. He worked for the Czech Television making sixty-minute documentary films winning multiple awards at international festivals (Kha-Chee-Pae, The Unseen, Purple Sails and others). From 1998, he works as a lecturer at FAMU on permanent basis. In 2007, he finished the film Citizen Havel using the material made by director Pavel Koutecký who had suffered a tragic death. His wife Tonička Janková is a film editor as well.


Bratrovražda (14´, Czechoslovakia, 1977)
Heroes (USA, 1983)
Little City in Space (60´, USA, 1984)
Visitor (23´, USA, 1984)
Now I Lay Me... (USA, 1987)
Sedum deset Nečtiny (59´, CZ, 1994)
O Králíkovi a hostech (CZ, 1995)
The Unseen (59´, CZ, 1996)
Poslední Slovan (23´, CZ, 1997)
Kdo je... Jiří Králík (CZ, 1997)
Barokní opera (59´, CZ, 1997)
Hamsa, já jsem (58´, CZ, 1998)
Previanti, výjevy ze života vesnických muzikantů (58´, CZ, 1999)
Člověk a jeho pán (CZ, 2000)
Bitva o život/ Battle for Life (88´, CZ, 2000) – episode director
Chaos (59´, CZ, 2001)
Purple Sails (78´, CZ, 2001)
Kha-Chii-Pae (58´, CZ, 2005)
Vierka aneb záhada zmizení rodiny B. (76´, CZ, 2005)
Citizen Havel – together with Pavel Koutecký (119´, CZ, 2007)
Zpověď Kateryny K. (56´, CZ, 2008)
For Semafor (73', Czech Republic, 2010)
Burning (58', Czech Republic, 2012)
Olga (87', Czech Republic, 2014)
The Gospel According to Brabenec (90', Czech Republic, 2014)
Film Spa (70', Czech Republic, 2015)



Umanutá (Orig.) / 2012 / Czech Republic / 60 min

An intimate portrait of a director who almost involuntarily devoted her life to film, and who was willing to sacrifice three marriages and motherhood to the cult filmmaking. The film portrays Drahomíra Vihanová as a hard-headed shaman of images who shares her religion from its early days of being damned by the regime for Zabitá neděle (Squandered Sunday, 1969) to the public execution of Zpráva o putování studentů Petra a Jakuba (The Pilgrimage of Students Peter and Jacob, 2002)...



Citizen Havel

Občan Havel (Orig.) / 2007 / Czech Republic / 120 min

Begun in 1992 and stemming from a chain of historical events all wedded to the person of Václav Havel, director Pavel Koutecký set out to render a portrait of the first president of Czech Republic.



For Semafor

For Semafor (Orig.) / 2010 / Czech Republic / 73 min

Musical road movie with twenty stops shows a unique project For Semafor. The film was shot in the Autumn of 2009. 23 musicians and bands participated in For Semafor...




Chačipe (Orig.) / 2005 / Czech Republic / 57 min

Miroslav Janek observes life in a children’s home through games. He chooses the children like partners for filming, teaches them to handle the camera, and leaves them to film their environment themselves...


Little City in Space0

Little City in Space

Little City in Space (Orig.) / 1984 / Czech Republic / 60 min

A documentary film about a weird community radio station in Minneapolis.




Olga (Orig.) / 2014 / Czech Republic / 87 min

The police couldn't break her, the Castle didn't change her: The remarkable story of Václav Havel's reluctant first lady.


Purple Sails1

Purple Sails

Nachové plachty (Orig.) / 2001 / Czech Republic / 78 min

In the world of wrath and hatred this film is a dream about love and beauty. Mira Janek's full-length documentary inspired by the literary text written by furious dreamer Alexander Grin and Forman Brothers' Theatre performance...



The Unseen

Nespatřené (Orig.) / 1997 / Czech Republic / 53 min

Do really blind people know nothing about the world around them. The documentary record blind schoolchildren using cameras...




Vierka (Orig.) / 2005 / Czech Republic / 75 min

When the singer Ida Kellerová heard the recording with Vierka’s songs she not only decided to invite the talented young woman to work with her but also opened up her entirely family to Vierka to live with. These Slovakian Roma, still living in chillingly inadequate conditions in flats without electricity, move, and thus begins the adventure in which this consummate musician and her uncoventional guests live together. One day however Vierka and her entire family disappear…



Nina Numankadić: What is important is the quality of the films. We were never after quantity.

Nina Numankadić: What is important is the quality of the films. We were never after quantity.

The online documentary cinema DAFilms.com celebrates its 10th anniversary. It is one of the first VOD portals in the world. Managing director of DAFilms.com Nina Numankadić replies to 5 questions concerning the directors‘ changing approach to the online distribution of their films and other topics.

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- 25.1.2016 -

Miroslav Janek: I show my cards to the viewers so they can play with me more easily

Miroslav Janek: I show my cards to the viewers so they can play with me more easily

As a bonus to the retrospective of films by Miroslav Janek, we are bringing you an interview with the remarkable Czech director (as well as editor and cinematographer). Learn more about how he drives himself out of the editing room, about Citizen Havel, about shooting with children as well as about his new upcoming project.

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- 14.12.2015 -

New Portal Brings Film to the Classroom

New Portal Brings Film to the Classroom

We are launching a new portal Doc Alliance Academy offering documentary films and teaching materials for secondary schools and universities. In January, Doc Alliance Academy organizes a conference on film education.

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- 9.12.2015 -

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