Before you put yourselves and your cameras to winter sleep, have a look at this year’s harvest of My Street Films. The project that invites the general public to make their own short films from their surroundings expanded from its British home to the Czech Republic in 2014 and further to Slovakia, Poland and Hungary in 2015. From November 30 to December 6, you can watch the best films from Central Europe’s streets from the comfort of your home completely for free.
This week you have a unique chance to compare the topics that reverberate through the streets of Central Europe and see how the winners of the Czech, Slovak and Hungarian competition approached their short documentaries. The Czech Republic is represented by the film Follow the Arrows by Petra Krejčová. The director sets out on an exciting journey following the arrows that mark the streets of Pilsen. Besides merely pointing in a certain direction, the arrows can also allude to the time of their origin. Would you take a guess what these simple symbols mean?
In her film The News Collector, the winner of the Slovak competition Monika Vaškorová sets out to the village of Modrý Kameň, following its stories and problems from the perspective of the film’s protagonist – a postwoman who learns more than the names and addresses of her neighbours when delivering the mail. Capturing their short talks, the film will give you an idea of the country life in Slovakia without forcing a socially critical perspective of the local community on you. The winner of the category of submitted film ideas which the filmmakers could consult with professional documentarists is Vtáčnik or a letter to the developer by Eva Križková. The film deals with a dilemma that any growing city may face one day: what to do with the remains of nature on the periphery which is an ideal place for lucrative building plots at the same time? On a relatively small area, the interests of gardeners, old residents and nature lovers who do not want to give up the last piece of urban wilderness clash with those of developers and urban “incomers“ who want to build a neat residential district in a quiet part of the city yet within view of its centre.
The Hungarian competition is represented by the film Szép Új Világ inspired by Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. Dynamic shots make up a mosaic of contemporary Budapest where you will find things that other European capitals have as well: historical monuments, polished new buildings and remains of urban vegetation. People, too, are part of the city, whether they are random passers-by, tourists, the homeless or participants in mass demonstrations that flood the city with their mass hysteria. Is modern and fast-moving city life really a presage of the end of civilization as envisioned by Aldous Huxley?
If you feel like making more discoveries after your trip through Central Europe, you can choose among many other destinations. The poetic character of Prague’s Vítkov Park has been captured by Burmese student Khin Khin Hsu in her film The Place. Tomáš Luňák and his film Probe look at the Tomáš Baťa Monument in Zlín through the prism of architecture. Jaroslav Kratochvíl and the participants in his workshop made a portrait of Elektra Cinema, Czechoslovakia’s former largest cinema, and its last projectionist Jiří Korda. You can reflect on the theme of borders and national identity with Marie Lukáčová, or on the theme of addictions and the meaningfulness of city planning with Lena Kušnieriková. Last but not least, you can watch the short film made for My Street Films by Czech documentarist Filip Remunda; through police records, he follows a water mains burst, the story of a stolen wallet as well as of a man masturbating on the top of a tree at Letná district. Get a hot drink, wrap yourselves in a blanket and see what the spring and the summer have brought in Central Europe’s streets.
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.