Czech Talents. New Topics and Portraits from Prague’s FAMU

FAMU, the most prominent Czech film school showcases its documentary film production. What are the latest filmmaking trends at an institution that breeds up-and-coming Czech documentary talents? Watch our selection of films from FAMU for free.

FAMU the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague was founded in 1946. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s FAMU became a powerhouse of the Czech New Wave – so far the most remarkable Czech contribution to world cinematography. After the revolution, its documentary branch has been widely believed to surpass the fiction production, and not only at FAMU. See the contemporary Czech documentary gems for yourself! We bring a selection of 14 documentaries from the Prague-based film school. Watch FAMU’s documentary production from Monday, August 17 to Sunday, August 30 for free on our website!

Feature-length documentary film BYEWAY by Ivo Bystřičan follows the route of the ill-famed stretch of the D8 motorway running through the protected landscape of the Central Bohemian Uplands that is still to be commissioned – after many years under construction. The film captures how this lengthy process revealed the bizarre division existing in the Czech society.

Tradition, a pleasant pastime or cold-blooded killing? The documentary essay LONG LIVE HUNTING! portrays three peculiar characters that share a passion for hunting and game-keeping. With a slight humorous detachment, Director Jaroslav Kratochvíl gives the protagonists the opportunity to present what they see as the hunting essentials.

It is not too difficult to get lost in a relationship, to stop believing in oneself, says the message of WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN by Natálie Císařovská. It deals with the issue of freedom, identity and self-fulfilment in a partnership – looking at serious matters through witty and poetic lens.

Several films from our showcase fall within the category of portraits. BLACKFOOT is a portrait of a “professional social drop-out”, Jiří Blackfoot Šerý, a dancer in the ensemble, Vyžvejklá Bambule, directed by Jan Kačena. Director Pavla Sobotová chose the same documentary form. Her TRUE LOVE CHILD brings a portrait of a childless woman in her forties who has given up her search for a lifelong partner in favour of sperm donors. In his film SOFIE, Jan Rendl also follows the story of a protagonist who is seeking to turn the page and write a new chapter in her life. Its eponymous protagonist used to be one of the femmes fatales of the Czech drug scene, whose marriage is now on rocks and she is trying to find a new start in life.

“In one village garden, I saw an elderly man who was drilling holes into snail shells,” said Adéla Komrzýová describing her source of inspiration for her film MORATORIUM VONDREJS. Her portrayal of the co-founder of gene engineering explores the limits of manipulation in the sphere of genetics and in life in general. The author’s second film employs expressive photography to disclose dark and absurd visions emerging from the memory of a person suffering from cerebral palsy and his communication with the doctors. It is called EVERY PALSY HAS ITS SILVER LINING.

Jakub Wagner’s FAMILY BUSINESS also employs elements of a documentary (family) portrait, composed mainly of private video dairies. What topics, disputes and stories are hidden in the closet of one artistic family?

Miroslav Brož’s quixotic struggle to improve the status of the Roma in the Czech Republic has found expression in protests for the removal of a pig farm. Martina Malinová depicts it in LETS BLOCK.

Is it right to interfere with the privacy of someone who is not asking for your help? asks the short film THE AIR SHAFT reflecting on privacy vs. neighbourly relations directed by Alžběta Kovandová. TRANSITION by Barbora Chalupová is fifteen-minute film contemplation on the topic of striving, ego drives and life needs.

Discover new Czech talents and watch their films for free until August 30!

Selected films

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Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.