22nd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

October 25 – 30, 2018

The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival is a celebration of creative documentary film and the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. We approach documentary films primarily as unique artworks dealing with significant topics.

To us, the festival represents an artifact inspiring a playful reflection of the world from various perspectives. We do not follow common festival models, nor do we have a routine, pragmatic approach to programme selection. Ji.hlava pays tribute to courage and risk.



The following guests have held discussions with Ji.hlava visitors in the course of the past years: writers Tariq Ali, Carlos A. Aguilera, Natalya Gorbanevskaya or Nobel prize laureate Gao Xingjian, directors Godfrey Reggio, Kidlat Tahimik, Peter Tscherkassky, Alberto Serra, Wang Bing, Deborah Stratman, Kirsten Johnson, Mads Brügger, Sandip Ray, Manoel de Oliveira, Basilio Martín Patino, Viktor Kossakovsky, Jørgen Leth, Sergej Loznitsa, Naomi Kawase, Frederik Wiseman, Ulrich Seidl, Woody Vasulka, Želimir Žilnik, Richard Leacock, Mike Hoolboom, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Herz Frank, Khavn De La Cruz, Fernando Solanas, Artavazd Peleshyan, Vitaly Mansky, Lordan Zafranović, Abbas Fahdel, Flatform, Emmanuel Lefrant, Helena Třeštíková or renowned animator Yuri Norstein.

Among film theorists, let us name P. Adams Sitney, Bill Nichols, Guy Gauthier, Raymond Bellour and François Jost.

Dutch film historian Thomas Elsaesser specializing in film festivals characterized Ji.hlava as “one of the most original festivals I have ever attended“ and Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira declared it a “Mecca of documentary film”.



The core of the festival programme consists of ten competition sections:

  • Opus bonum – a selection of world documentaries introducing innovative topics and means of filmic expression,
  • Between the Seas – a showcase of remarkable films from Central and Eastern European countries,
  • Czech Joy – an overview of the latest Czech documentary production,
  • First Lights – a cross-section comprised of film debuts included in the world, Central and Eastern European or Czech competition sections at Ji.hlava IDFF,
  • Fascinations – focus on radical forms of documentary filmmaking – experimental film,
  • Exprmntl.cz – survey of the latest Czech experimental films
  • Short Joy – a selection of the best European documentary shorts.
  • A Testimony on Politics creates space in which voices and visions overlap with images and rhythms, the urgency of the content with formal intransigence.
  • A Testimony on Knowledge is a competition section offering a new definition of scientific documentary.
  • A Testimony on Nature is a competition section featuring documentaries that hold conversations on the creation and destruction, on threats and challenges, about man as part of and as a mortal enemy of nature.

Other programme sections present the current events on the Czech and international documentary scene, Reality.tv focuses on non-traditional TV reality shows, Doc-fi explores the boundary between documentary and fiction filmmaking, numerous Master Classes provide the opportunity to discuss the principles of filmmaking work with remarkable authors, and Translucent Beings bring retrospective profiles of prominent filmmakers.


Ji.hlava Industry Programme

The Ji.hlava IDFF also provides best care to film professionals because each film included in the programme has a long way to go and faces many obstacles before hitting the festival screen. Hence, the Ji.hlava Industry Programme intended for professional filmmakers has for sixteen years played a crucial role as part of the festival events. The Emerging Producers project represents a showcase of up-and-coming generation of European producers. The Inspiration Forum is a platform that hosts distinctive figures from various walks of life, searching for new relevant topics and perspectives of our day and age. Festival Identity brings together festival organisers and programmers from all across the globe. Conference Fascinations further underscores the importance of experimental cinema as part of Ji.hlava IDFF’s festival programme, discussing its production potential and distribution possibilities across continents. Aside from that, the Ji.hlava IDFF invites filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe to join the Docu Talents platform that enables them to present their upcoming works for the first time to the filmmaking world.

Last but not least, Ji.hlava IDFF organizes the competition exhibition of the Best Festival Posters and numerous Master Classes and other industry activities. The festival traditionally includes a market targeted at the Central and Eastern European region, East Silver Market, and the Ex Oriente Film workshop, both organised by the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF, www.dokweb.net) in conjunction with Ji.hlava IDFF.


Year-Round Activities

Docu Talents is a panel organized annually. It provides a space for the first presentation of documentaries from Eastern Europe in their final stages of development.

Throughout the year, Ji.hlava IDFF also organizes festival echoes in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Brussels, Uzhgorod or Kyiv and participates at regular documentary film screenings attended by filmmakers in the Prague’s Světozor cinema as part of the Documentary Mondays. The Living Cinema project introduces summer screenings of selected Czech documentaries at unusual venues in Jihlava and in Prague.

Together with the distribution company Verbascum Imago, the festival takes part in the project Czech Joy in Czech Cinemas, a showcase of selected Czech documentary films released in Czech and Slovak cinemas.

Ji.hlava IDFF also initiated the project of the Center for Documentary Film in Jihlava, which was launched in autumn 2014 and provides a space for concentrated research and multifaceted exploration of documentary cinematography on various levels (education, book library, video library, and research).

JIDFF’ activities also include the publication of specialized literature and the printed critical supplement and on-line periodical dok.revue, as well as initiation of other cultural, social and educational events.


Other Projects

  • In 2004, we founded and co-organized the East Silver market in cooperation with IDF.
  • From 2005 to 2009, Ji.hlava IDFF co-organized the Panel of Upcoming Czech Documentary Films.
  • From 2007 on, Ji.hlava IDFF took part in the transformation of the traditional festival of popular-scientific film Academia Film Olomouc (AFO).
  • Ji.hlava IDFF is a co-founder of Doc Alliance, an alliance of European documentary film festivals, and has been its member since 2008.


Become a Doc.Man!

We want to be closer to you, why don’t you take a step closer to us? Share our joy over quality documentary films and help us spread it around. A documentary film, too, needs its heroes. Become a part of Ji.hlava and support the diverse activities of the festival organiser, the JSAF civic association, including publication of specialised literature, the critical journal, dok.revue, and many other cultural, social and educational projects.

Become a Doc.Man!