The art of learning documentary filmmaking
Documentary filmmaking is a specific discipline which requires students to master several skills. Only the best journalists, writers, visual artists and style icons possess the ability to come up with relevant topics, find engaging verbal and visual means of narration and, at the same time, employ an original artistic perspective. Is it possible to learn this unique combination of skills? Watch films by the contemporary students of the Documentary department of Prague’s FAMU from July 21 to August 3, 2014 for free!
The Documentary Film Department of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague has sought to define its approach towards film and TV documentary production since 1961, when it was established as a separate field, being formerly integrated as part of the film directing studies. In 2002, after various twists and turns in the life of the department, copying the turbulences in the political life of the Czech society, Karel Vachek, an exacting filmmaker and a documentary legend, was appointed the head of the department. Thereafter, the department became an open creative space perceiving documentary filmmaking as a specific instrument of artistic expression. Students master the film language and discover their own visual and narrative style using a series of practical exercises featured on all levels of their study programme.
The auteur reportage genre and the free film exercise, “My Point of View”, are among the very first forms introduced to students at FAMU‘s Documentary Film Department. These documentary works comprise the debuts by young authors such as Tereza Freyová, Adéla Komrzýová and Lukáš Košař. Four students at the second grade, Natálie Císařovská, Jan Rousek, Pavla Sobotová and Soňa Maletzová present their practical exercises in the categories of auteur portrait and a fiction exercise.
Bachelor film exercises represents the film To Rule, to Work, to Earn, to Pray, to Collapse,was introduced by its author, Andran Abramjan at last year’s Jihlava IDFF.
The selection of student films is topped off with the bachelor genre of the film poem.
Keep up to date with the genre-specific and creative works by the students of the Documentary Film Department of Prague’s FAMU. Draw inspiration for your own work and get to know the names of up and coming filmmakers. Stream the selection of Czech student documentary films for free from July 21 to August 3 at DAFilms.cz!
Films for the event
Nebe v podzemí (Orig.) / 2013 / Czech Republic / 52 min
A film about Prague’s secret church during the totalitarian regime and after the revolution, describing its activities and confrontations with the state power. An interesting and thrilling history of good and evil, courage of the individual actors, the moral stance of people in extreme situations when exposed to the pressure of the circumstances. What motivated these people to sacrifice themselves, or, in some cases, even their whole families in the name of their “spiritual belief”?
Srdce Havel (Orig.) / 2012 / Czech Republic / 3 min
Crowds of people are gathering at Vaclav Havel's funeral and in the meantime, politicians are voting for a law that would confirm Vaclav Havel as the one who was responsible for creating the Czech state. Street sweeps are collecting candles that were brought by mourners and artists are creating a monumental heart from them. It almost seems that with the melting candles, the need for personal interpretation of Havel's legacy disappears as well.
Poslední "V" Václava Havla (Orig.) / 2012 / Czech Republic / 11 min
A short film shot at the state funeral of Václav Havel during which the leaving statesman comments his own memorial service for the final time. For he has nothing more to lose he can finally say things without restraint. The last breath and awakening in the arms of the Dalajlama.
Karel Lampa (Orig.) / 2013 / Czech Republic / 30 min
A documentary portrait of Karel Lampa, whose life is inextricably linked with theatre. Paradoxically, the son of an operetta star and a director of the Operetta of the National Theatre in Brno did not have enough time for theatre. From the age of fifteen, he made a living as a gay prostitute and the whirl of sex, drugs and disco music in the post-revolutionary years chewed him up and spitted him out with the HIV virus.
Loicu, vítej! (Orig.) / 2012 / Czech Republic / 17 min
Magda is Czech and Loic is French. They live together in Paris, but it is now about time for Loic to meet Magda’s family. Despite his reluctance, the couple visits Magda’s grandparents for lunch which, unfortunately, does not turn out as expected. Is the cultural difference to blame?
Návštěva (Orig.) / 2013 / Czech Republic / 15 min
A family portray made on the road. A mother and a daughter are setting off to a journey following the memories of the eldest daughter/sister missing in the portray. As we approach the end of the journey, we het to the core of the topic, brought to both women by the absence of the family member.
Mentální troglodyt (Orig.) / 2013 / Czech Republic / 22 min
Mental Troglodyte is a personal film commentary on the Czech presidential elections in 2013.
The process of voting for one or the other candidate functions merely as a background. The main focus is on the confrontation of two political positions – the necessity to vote for one of the two candidates as opposed to the option not to vote at all.