- 11.5.2015 9:23 -
A Look Inside DAFilms: Part 3
We have not forgotten our promise; on the occasion of celebrating ten years since the start of the happy expansion of our film catalogue and the ranks of online viewers of DAFilms.com, we are bringing you a third interview from behind the scenes of our team. Who is hiding behind the mysterious address firstname.lastname@example.org, takes care of the smooth running of the website and, besides user support, also lovingly supports the whole team? We are introducing Production Manager Jana Ptáčková!
What was your journey to DAFilms.com and documentary film?
In 2001, my friend Erika Hníková offered me to work at the international guest service at Jihlava IDFF. The very next year, me and Erika worked as production managers of the festival. However, she soon decided to work fully as a documentary director while I continued working as production manager of Jihlava IDFF until 2005. For several years, I would work abroad each fall; however, I never lost touch with the festival. In 2009, I was approached by Nina Numankadić, managing director of the project, to help her coordinate the transition of the Doc-Air portal, originally initiated by Jihlava IDFF, to the current form of the Doc Alliance Films portal. At that time, I knew very little about online distribution. Fortunately, it was new to everybody so I didn’t drown in the new waters right away and keep swimming in them happily until today.
What is the exact nature of your position – Production Manger?
My agenda is very diverse, ranging from coordination of technical development and communication with programmers and graphic designers of the website through production of promotional materials to user support. The latter is the most time-consuming part; after all, we are a film e-shop and have to respond to our customers quickly. This agenda never leaves me, even on holiday.
I am very happy to work on two of our related projects; we are running a streaming website for the Czech Film Center and the Czech Film and Television Academy. Thanks to this website, and thus a little bit thanks to us, Czech fiction and documentary films are more accessible both to festival selectors across the globe and to Czech academics who have watched the films nominated for the Czech Lion Award more than 5000x last year. However, I also deal with the leaking toilet at the office and buy toilet paper. That keeps me pleasantly down to earth.
What do you consider to be the most interesting part of your work for DAFilms.com?
I have to admit that I have always loved communicating with programmers. It is a sort of a training of the ability to formulate my requirements precisely and react to logical test questions as sanely as possible. I just love those situations when the programmers pull my laborious assignment to pieces and calmly explain to me that we really want and need something completely different; in a few days, it will appear online and work perfectly. These are fascinating technological mysteries to me.
What was your greatest experience in the world of online distribution and DAFilms.com?
Since 2009, I have been traveling a lot to various panel discussions and seminars on online distribution. Representing DAFilms.com has been a delight to me from the very beginning, since we are backed up by seven festivals with a deservedly great reputation and our content is a quality and attractive one. At one of the panels at DOK Leipzig, where I was an only woman among seven speakers and a host, several viewers said in the final discussion that they felt that the only project to survive was DAFilms.com, since we were the only ones with a clear vision and concept. They were right. Most of the portals presented then do not exist anymore. I have always been and still am proud.
What are the 3 films the viewers should not miss in our catalogue in your opinion?
I am not a film expert, I rather take care of practical tasks in our team, so my tips may be a little bit mainstream and not really pioneering ones. I have been completely mesmerized by Peter Liechti’s The Sound of Insects: Record of a Mummy. It is a very specific but totally digestible film. Peter Mettler’s Petropolis has been a great, although a little scary visual experience. You will be definitely cheered up by Bert Haanstra’s ZOO. You don’t have to be animal lovers, for it is mainly the people that will make you laugh in ZOO.