Inspiration, enthusiasm, hard work, worries and relief. That’s how all the essential feelings concerning the first edition of My Street Films, which has introduced the project to Czech documentary enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs who were not afraid to answer the call of the first edition: Your street. Your film. Make it!
Inspiration, enthusiasm, hard work, worries and relief. That’s how all the essential feelings concerning the first edition of My Street Films, which has introduced the project to Czech documentary enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs, could be summed up on a single time axis. In May 2014, a map of the Czech Republic waiting for “pins“ to mark the places where a new short film has just been made first appeared at www.mystreetfilms.cz. In late September, the Czech My Street Films map included almost 60 documentaries whose makers were not afraid to answer the call of the first edition: Your street. Your film. Make it!
Inspiration. We have found it in the past three years of the original British version of the project initiated by founder of UK’s documentary festival Open City Docs Fest Michael Stewart. When acquisitions manager of the DAFilms.com team Diana Tabakov came back from her mission as a juror at this year’s edition of the London-based festival, what she also brought home besides catalogues and experience concerning the responsibilities of deciding about the winner (which you can read about in a separate interview) was an idea and determination to launch Czech Republic’s first My Street Films map.
Enthusiasm. It instantaneously seized the DAFilms.com team. The short documentaries that had filled the map of the UK seemed very interesting and the idea that there would be enough curious filmmakers to grab their video cameras, cameras and mobile phones in the Czech Republic as well seemed immensely tempting. The very realization of the Czech version of the project, involving five Czech professional documentarists in the role of expert tutors in contrast to the original version, seemed immensely distant at the same time.
Hard work. It came immediately. The launch of the website, arrangements with the professionals and an effort to show the magic as well as the rules of documentary film resulted in the creation of a whole series of publicly accessible workshops where amateurs as well as film school students learned about the specifics of documentary direction, camera work, music and editing.
Worries. They were ubiquitous: We won’t awaken sufficient interest on the part of the public; there will be empty seats at the workshops; there won’t be enough film “pins” at the map. Fortunately, we were wrong and soon found out that more and more people were coming to our public film meetings; and, last but not least, the My Street Films map revealed unexpected documentary nooks of the whole of Czech Republic in late September.
Surprise. It came when the best short films became part of several public events. They travelled with the international reSITE urban festival and went out to Prague’s streets during the Different City Experience neighbourly celebrations. The jury, comprised of film theorist Andrea Slováková, director Martin Dušek and portal representative Diana Tabakov, was also taken by surprise as the quality of the films enabled the shortlisting of 7 films for the three main prizes. However, the greatest surprise was waiting for the makers of the winning documentaries. Taťána Rubášová won the main prize for her look into the transformation of a single apartment building during the life of the film protagonist and will be able to personally introduce her film Na Knížecí at next year’s Open City Docs Fest. Michal Hříbek explored the lives of people whose view out of the window is blocked by a billboard and will present his film at this year’s Jihlava IDFF. The poetic, musical and playful film Play It Again, Boys made by the Co-laboratory creative collective placed third.
Relief. It’s coming now as we can say that the first edition of the My Street Films map has found its place in the Czech Republic and that the amateur documentary films have found their place on the film map. Don’t forget that you, too, can walk down Czech Republic’s documentary streets anytime and anywhere at www.mystreetfilms.cz.
On behalf of the team of DAFilms. com portal
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.