Šimon Špidla (1980) studied cinematography at the Zlín Film School (2001) and editing at Prague’s FAMU (2007). His works include a series of contemplative films called Na náplavce (At the Rafting Yard, 2003) and Posun (Shift, 2004), which was presented at festivals in Angers and Clermont-Ferrand. Other films include Josef Božek (2005) and Jen pro vnitřní potřebu (For Internal Use Only, 2006), a short study of the Sa 58 automatic rifle. In 2011, he presented his latest film, Mrtvá trať.
Posun (10', Czech Republic, 2004)
Josef Bozek (13', Czech Republic, 2005)
Jen pro vnitrní potrebu/For Internal Use Only (13', Czech Republic, 2006)
Mrtvá trať/Into Oblivion (52', Czech Republic, 2011)
Mrtvá trať (Orig.) / 2011 / Czech Republic / 51 min
Stalin grasps a pencil in his hand as he prepares to draw a line on a map of the Soviet Union. Where the graphite touches paper, some 80,000 people - almost all of them gulag inmates - will build a railroad in the gruelling conditions of the polar taiga. It is a railway line of almost no strategic importance, built on permafrost and polar marshes, using limited technology and equipment. For four years, they will slave away, succumbing to exhaustion, illness, cruelty, and solitary confinement before, finally, the death of Stalin himself. In just a few weeks, there will be nothing left of their hectic activity except for empty camp barracks, old locomotives, bits of track, embankments, telegraph wires, all left to slowly return to the taiga.