Docu Talents @KVIFF 2017

Your guide to brand new documentary films in progress from Central and Eastern Europe, a region with a long documentary tradition and a range of remarkable and creative filmmakers who have emerged in recent years.

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The 13th edition of Docu Talents was presented as part of the Karlovy Vary IFF industry section. It was organised by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, in cooperation with the Karlovy Vary IFF. Directors and producers of the selected feature-length documentaries introduced their projects during eight-minute presentations.

DOCU TALENTS @KVIFF / 13th Edition
July 4, 2017 / 14.00
Karlovy Vary IFF / Congress Hall of Hotel Thermal

On this occasion, the Ji.hlava IDFF also announced the holders of the prestigious title EMERGING PRODUCER 2018 and the first recipient of the Ji.hlava Film Fund post-production grant.

CONTACT / Jarmila Outratová / Head of Industry Office /

>> Selected Docu Talents projects 2017 <<


Eligible projects
Mid-length or feature-length documentary projects at the production or post-production stage with expected premiere between August 2017 and in July 2018.

Eligible countries
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Ukraine


Since 2005, Docu Talents has been a launch pad for a number of documentaries, including Rabbit a la Berlin, Blind Loves, Matchmaking Mayor, The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories, Cooking History, René, FortressPipelineDaniels´s WorldUnder the Sun, FC Roma, Close Relations and The Road Movie.

Each year, festival advisors, distributors, buyers and local as well as international journalists are invited to attend the event. 12 selected projects are presented by the directors and producers in eight-minute presentations, including three-minute trailers. The presentations will be followed by an informal cocktail party and by one-to-one meetings of the presenters with sales agents and festival representatives.

Documentary projects are selected by representatives of the Ji.hlava IDFF.


One-to-one meetings

Presentation was followed by One-to-one meetings with these experts:


Selected Docu Talents projects 2017

Из жизни планет

Director: Katarina Suvorova
Country: Kazakhstan
Producer: Anna Vilgelmi
Director of photography: Dos Nurbulatov, Azamat Dulatov
Film length: 60 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: December 2017

>> TEASER <<

Perched upon a mountain above a lake, the Tien-Shan Astronomical Observatory is dying of old age and lack of care, like a woman craving for courtesy. A long time ago, during its golden age, it was one of the largest research centres in the Soviet Union. Two years ago an old professor gathered a group of enthusiastic astronomers, former members of an astronomer’s club from Almaty, and they decided to save the remains of the station in order to keep doing research work in the observatory. They travel towards unknown frontiers with their eyes looking up to the sky open for something new.

Katarina Suvorova studied Art at Almaty Art College, Film studies at Almaty Academy of Arts and at the Department of Life Action Films at the High Courses for Script Writers and Directors in Moscow. She has shot several short documentaries which participated in and received awards at international film festivals. Katya is working on a cycle of TV documentaries for Kazakh television. She also won the opportunity to attend a 4-day seminar run by Werner Herzog in Los Angeles in 2014.

Rhizome is an audio-visual and cinematographic production company based in Lyon (France). We produce creative documentaries and give priority to international collaborations. We love to produce bold and free works. We give an important place to the formal proposal, the aesthetic dimension of documentaries. We have participated in several international co-production meetings in Armenia, central Asia, Cambodia, French Guiana and Senegal.


Central Bus Station

Director: Tomáš Elšík
Country: Czech Republic
Producer: Jitka Kotrlová
Director of photography: Ondřej Belica
Film length: 85 min
Stage of development: post-production
Estimated date of premiere: February 2018

>> TEASER <<

Yonathan is a guide at one of the most pitiful places in the world – the Central Bus Station. The station has become the centre of a ghetto consisting of refugees from around the world. In the endless maze of corridors, Yonathan reveals his foster home and the culturally diverse inhabitants who have become his new family. The everyday rush and echoes of foreign languages create a contemporary Babel where Yonathan guides those who needs him. The visually experimental documentary shows the station as a character full of stories and people. Despite the diversity, the station is very consistent in its nature.

Tomáš Elšík studied film school in Pisek and from 2009 studies at FAMU, Prague at the editing department. He is a director, DoP and editor of numerous student films, advertising videos and ads for TV. His first documentary, Message from Dement, won an award for best editing work at Famufest 2013. Tomáš participated as an assistant to the tutor Grozjaně at the European workshop Ex Oriente that year. He was also an assistant to Andrij Zafranovič on the movie Honey Nights (dir. Ivo Trajkov) and he is the editor of several documentary TV series for Czech public television.

Frame films was founded in 2013 by Jitka Kotrlová. The company focuses on the development and production of creative audio-visual works. It emphasizes a creative attitude and collective work. It has recently produced the feature Snowing! (dir. Kristina Nedvědová), the documentary Kibera Stories (dir. Martin Páv) and the documentary Central Bus Station (dir. Tomáš Elšík).


Sírással nem megyünk semmire

Director: Réka Szabó
Country: Hungary
Producer: Réka Szabó, Sára László, Marcell Gerő
Director of photography: Claudia Kovács
Film length: 85 min
Stage of development: post-production
Estimated date of premiere: November 2017

An extraordinary rehearsal process in which a contemporary dance performance is born from the dialogue of a Holocaust survivor (90), an outstanding dancer (32) and a choreographer/director (47). Women with entirely different historical experiences, at different stages of the spectrum of life, develop coalescent human relationships before our very eyes.

After working as a dancer with several choreographers, Réka Szabó began building The Symptoms, one of the most significant contemporary dance-theatre companies in Hungary since 2002. In her work, she focuses on everyday problems, addressing these themes in a deeply personal tone. All of this is wrapped in a vision that is humorous, self-ironic and poetic at the same time. This outlook also can be traced back in her experimental dance films "Shadow Movie – cartoon with living characters" and "Mourning", which have screened at several festivals.

Campfilm has mainly produced documentaries with various national and international partners (HBO Europe, ARTE France, RTS) since its establishment in 2007. The films the company produces address social issues and have a strong cinematic appeal, having participated at national and international festivals, such as the 45th Directors’ Fortnight, the 43rd IFF Rotterdam, IDFA 2014 and the 62nd San Sebastian IFF.



Director: Davis Simanis
Country: Latvia, Czech Republic
Producer: Guntis Trekteris, Radim Procházka
Director of photography: Aigars Sērmukšs
Film length: 75 min
Stage of development: post-production
Estimated date of premiere: October 2017

>> TEASER <<

A Latvian woman named Hermine Purina is shown in an archival photograph: she became the first victim of the Soviet invasion of Latvia in 1940 whilst trying to save her son, Voldemärs, with her body. It becomes an inspiration for contemplating film’s boundaries – both geographical and metaphorical. Russians and Latvians sense the import of historical realities in a completely different way. One side associates it with liberation; for the other side, it means the loss of freedom. The well-known Latvian author Davis Simanis produces an explosive testament about tension on the EU’s eastern borders.

A Latvian filmmaker and theorist, he has directed numerous poetic documentary films as well as cross-genre features. He also lectures on film theory and history in film schools in Latvia and Finland.  His PhD thesis focused on devices of representing history in movies. His own films have been screened and awarded in a number of festivals (IDFA; CPH:DOX; DOK Leipzig and others).  His previous film, Escaping Riga (2014), is a docu-fiction on two world-class 20th century geniuses, the British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin and the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein.

Ego Media’s main activity is the production of fiction and documentaries for local and international audiences as well providing services for foreign productions in Latvia. Recent credits include Close Relations by Vitalij Manskij.

PRP has worked on more than 10 feature films that have received numerous Czech and international awards. The comedic mystery Schmitke premiered in Busan, won Best Debut at Cottbus and two Czech Lions – the country’s main national film award.


Umírání pro začátečníky

Director: Bára Kopecká, Marek Bouda
Country: Czech Republic
Producer: Bára Kopecká, Veronika Kührová
Director of photography: Marek Bouda
Film length: 60 min
Stage of development: finished
Estimated date of premiere: September 2017

Most people don’t think about death or don’t want to think about it, until something makes them to do so. Usually that "something" is a fatal disease being so immensely close that there’s no escape from it. But there are certain people who think about death from a very young age. They’re seen as strange sufferers of melancholia or are diagnosed with depression.

Bára Kopecká graduated from the Editing Department at FAMU, and during her studies she started working on various projects designed especially for Czech TV. She spent several years in North America, where she also devoted herself to film and writing. Bára was previously head of the FAMU Editing Department and now is teaching at FAMU International, working with a number of film and television productions, and producing independent films through her own production company.

Marek Bouda is a film director and screenwriter. He is also dedicated to music composition. He teaches in the Department of Directing at FAMU in Prague. He is actively directing both narrative and documentary projects. Notable from his work is the film "Train" from 1994 or documents from the "Premature Death" cycle directed for Czech public television.

In 2009, Bára was hit by a personal earthquake and with it the urgent need to express herself outside the prescribed contracts and target groups. She thought that support from the State Cinematography Fund and thus having a free hand in creation would bring her into a lot of experimental waters. But then she found that film is still a form of communication for her. Bára has always perceived an independent document as an artistic form, not the sum of information.

  • Bára Kopecká, s.r.o. – Bára Kopecká | Analog Vision s.r.o. – Veronika Kührová
    Bára Kopecká, s.r.o., Újezd 452/44, 118 00, Praha - Malá Strana, Czech Republic |


Ráj na zemi

Director: Jaro Vojtek
Country: Slovakia
Producer: Mátyás Prikler, Zora Jaurová
Director of photography: Jaro Vojtek
Film length: 90 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: March 2018

>> TEASER <<

A documentary film by Jaro Vojtek about his friend Andrej Ban, a journalist and war photographer who covers painful conflicts around the world. Jaro often has been a silent witness the reporter’s personal struggles, troubled relationships, psychological problems and fight against depression. Their journeys together to conflict zones and refugee situations, in contrast with their everyday intimate conversations, is the underlying foundation for the concept of the film. Earthly Paradise is a topography of individual and global struggles – continual therapy without an end.

Jaro Vojtek studied documentary film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where he now teaches in the department of documentary film directing. Since 1993 he has directed several short and mid-length documentaries. His second feature documentary film, The Border, which premiered in 2009, won a Between the Seas Award for best Eastern European documentary film at IDFF Jihlava and featured at the prestigious Spectrum section at IFF Rotterdam.

MPhilms s.r.o., founded in 2005, focusses mainly on film production and educational activities. It has two producing partners, Mátyás Prikler and Zora Jaurová. The company has produced several films by Prikler (Fine, Thanks, and the omnibus film Slovakia 2.0), a fiction feature film Children by Jaro Vojtek , and coproduced the film Mirage by Szabolcs Hajdu.


Kiruna 2.0

Director: Greta Stocklassa
Country: Czech Republic
Producer: Veronika Kührová, Michal Kráčmer
Director of photography: Stanislav Adam
Film length: 80 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: July 2018

The northernmost city of Sweden will be moved three kilometres to the east. Although similar situations have already occurred in history, this case is unique. The city has made difficult situation into a sensation. Media from around the world have started writing about the little city of 15,000 inhabitants above the Arctic Circle, set to become the most modern city in the world.

Greta was born in 1993 in Opočno, Czech Republic, and comes from a Czech-Swedish family. She lived in Prague before the family moved to Stockholm in 2005. In 2013, she returned to Prague to study documentary film at FAMU. Identity is the main theme in Greta’s films, which are on the edge of document, fiction and experiment. She works with stylization and fine formal visualization. Her short The Still Life of Vera premiered at IDFF Jihlava and screened at Vision du Réel, Neisse Film Fest and DOK.fest München. She was also a finalist for the Magnesia Award for best student film. She works with stylization and fine formal visualization. Her films are at the edge of document, fiction and experiment.

Analog Vision is a brand-new film production and distribution company based in Prague, Czechia, and founded by producers Veronika Kührová and Michal Kráčmer. The fusion brings a company focused on creating and distributing films by young authors from Central Europe, developing new audio-visual forms by combining the worlds of video games and movies, and producing genre films targeting the worldwide market.


Merry Christmas, Yiwu

Director: Mladen Kovačević
Country: Serbia
Producer: Iva Plemić Divjak
Director of photography: Marko Milovanović
Film length: 90 min, 52 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: July 2018

Some 60% of all the world’s Christmas decorations are made in the Chinese city of Yiwu, a place of surreal craftsmanship, where no-one celebrates Christmas. An ultimate globalization story, Merry Christmas, Yiwu is a poetic, observational documentary with an alluring visual aesthetic worthy of a Christmas fairy-tale for grown-ups. Steering away from a stereotypical representation of China, the intimate moments from the lives of the workers of Yiwu complement the surprising story about an unlikely place where Christmas is made.

After studying fiction film directing in Belgrade, London and Cape Town, Mladen Kovačević has wholeheartedly dedicated himself to documentaries. His debut documentary feature, the unpretentiously offbeat and highly acclaimed Unplugged, premiered in competition at Visions du Réel 2013, continuing to HotDocs, CPH:DOX, FIDMarseille, DOK Leipzig (80+ festivals & 10 awards). His latest documentary, Wall of Death and All That, premiered in international competition at Visions du Réel 2016 and won Best Film and Best Camera at Beldocs and Best Music and Sound Design at Belgrade Martovski Festival.

Horopter Film Production, founded in Belgrade by filmmaker Mladen Kovačević, focuses on producing documentaries by telling great stories in a unique way that resonates with international audiences. Recent productions include Kovačević’s internationally awarded documentaries Unplugged and Wall of Death and All That, presented at Visions du Réel, HotDocs, CPH:DOX, FIDMarseille, and DOKLeipzig. Iva Plemić Divjak joined Horopter in 2016.



Directors - Authors: Vicki Thornton, Pavel Yurov
Country: Ukraine, Luxembourg, Estonia
Producers: Marion Guth, Julia Sinkevych, Nadia Parfan, Marianna Kaat
Director of photography: Jean-Louis Schuller
Film length: 80 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: February 2018

An existential journey from past to present, (N)OSTALGIA follows a Ukrainian theatre director and British filmmaker as they travel to different mining communities seeking stories for a new play. Following a long history of migration from the Donbas, they eventually find themselves in a former Soviet mining settlement at the edge of the Artic Circle. Confronted with the new reality being performed by the tiny local community and ruin-hungry Western tourists, they are forced to examine their own cultural identities, the persistence of East/West propaganda, and their relationship with ‘the other’.

Vicki Thornton is a visual artist and filmmaker working between the cinema and the gallery. She was recently selected for the British Council, Sheffield Doc/Fest and Docudays’ DocWorks UA/UK documentary development scheme. In 2015, The Remembered Film won a Celeste Prize, and in 2008 she was nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Award. She was selected for the VISIO European Workshop on Artists’ Cinema, Florence (2012) and won the Painter Stainers’ Photography Prize (2011). Her films have screened at Cambridge Film Festival, Alchemy Festival, ASFF, VIDEOEX, AURORA and in many gallery exhibitions.

Julia Sinkevych has more than 10 years of experience in the management of cultural projects. Since 2010, she has been a Producer of the Odessa International Film Festival. She recently started to produce as well, producing the latest film by Russian veteran director Vitaly Mansky.

  • a_BAHN - Marion Guth (Luxemburg)
    JS FILMS –  Julia Sinkevych and Nadia Parfan (Ukraine)
    Baltic Film Production – Marianna Kaat (Estonia)

    a_BAHN | 115A rue Emile Mark, L4620 Differdange, Luxembourg | +352661163820 |


Okupacia 1968

Director: Evdokia Moskvina, Magdalena Szymkov, Stefan Komandarev, Linda Dombrovszky, Marie Elisa Scheidt
Country: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary
Producer: Peter Kerekes
Director of photography: tbc
Film length: 130 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: February 2018

>> TEASER <<

Occupation as occupants see it. Five countries from the Warsaw Pact occupied Czechoslovakia in 1968. Fifty years later, five directors from those countries will shoot short films about the invasion from the point of view of people who took part in it.

To get the most diverse views on this complicated topic, we chose one director from each of the former Warsaw Pact countries that participated in the occupation of Czechoslovakia – Russia, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria. The result will be five 26-minute documentaries – five different view from inside the five countries. Mosaic subjective portraits will form a documentary series of five 26 minutes episodes for television, and a 130-minute documentary feature for distribution.

Peter Kerekes Ltd. was established in 1998 by its sole owner, Peter Kerekes, who works as a producer, director and consultant. The company has produced six films. Its focus is on creative documentaries which are internationally funded and produced. It cooperates regularly with the public service broadcasters Radio and Television Slovakia (RTVS; formerly Slovak Television) and Czech Television (ČT).



Director: Laila Pakalnina
Country: Latvia, Lithuania
Producer: Laila Pakalnina, Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė
Director of photography: Gints Berzins
Film length: 66 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: July 2018

>> TEASER <<

Men can drill very deep, down to where the oil is. Large groups of qualified men equipped with machines can extract oil and transport it far away, to a place where other qualified men can transform it into plastic. The plastic is then taken to a factory, where still more men can turn it into spoons, which will be transported even further to all sorts of eateries and, likely, will be available free of charge. This meaningful life will last for one unceremonious meal. The film examines what society invests into the creation of a plastic spoon that effortlessly can be thrown out.

Laila Pakalnina graduated from the Moscow Film Institute (VGIK), Department of Film Direction, in 1991. A director and scriptwriter of 28 documentaries, 5 shorts, and 5 fiction features, altogether she has 38 films, 2 children, 1 husband, 1 dog, and 2 bicycles. And many ideas for new films. Her films have screened in official programmes at Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Rome and other international festivals, where they have won numerous awards.

Hargla Company was founded in 1997 to enable its founders to make their own films. So far, the company has produced 5 features, 11 creative documentaries and 4 shorts. Almost all of them have won festival awards. They were selected for Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Locarno, Rome, Karlovy Vary, IDFA, Visions du Reel, etc.



Atskirti balsai

Director: David Heinemann, Elvina Nevardauskaite
Country: Lithuania, United Kingdom
Producer: Elvina Nevardauskaite
Director of photography: Elvina Nevardauskaite
Film length: 40 min
Stage of development: production
Estimated date of premiere: June 2018

>> TEASER <<

How do we know that what we hear or see is real? Exploring the thin line between the objective world and subjective experience, four voice-hearers recall critical experiences during the development of their respective psychoses. Although they remain unnamed and unseen until the end of the film, their voices alone allow us to tell one from another, as they recount stories of trauma and the scars that mark them, that set them apart.

Elvina Nevardauskaite graduated from the BA Film programme at Middlesex University, London, in 2014. Her graduation film, 33 Below Clapham, was selected as Editor’s Choice by Wired magazine that year. Remember, Thou Art Clay is Elvina’s professional directorial debut.

David Heinemann graduated from the MFA programme in Film at Columbia University, New York. He teaches filmmaking at Middlesex University in London. This is his first production with Broken Island Films.

Broken Island Films is a production company specialising in creative documentaries and fiction films about contemporary Lithuania. With patience, care and panache the company aims to understand and give expression to this beautiful, broken world.


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