Media & Documentary 2014

Lectures and Lecturers

Part I held in Czech

Part II held in English


BACK to basic information about seminar.


Review in daily newspapers and online media

The lecture’s objective is to introduce students to the basic (non-dogmatic) rules of writing for the electronic media. In view of the limitlessness of the internet and the unlimited range of formats, we will focus primarily on reviews in newspapers. We will look at the various approaches and their limitations by analyzing published texts written by several established authors.

Kamil Fila
Editor of the Cinepur bi-monthly since 2006. Graduated from Masaryk University’s School of Arts (department of film theory and history) in 2007. His graduate thesis on David Lynch was published in book form as part of Robert Fischer’s David Lynch: Temné stránky duše (Jota, 2006). Since 2008, he has been a contributing editor of the cultural section of Currently contributing to the Respekt weekly. He teaches/has taught at the University of Journalism, FAMU, Masaryk University, and the Faculty of Media Communications in Zlín. He was lecturer of the programmes introducing contemporary “film studies and criticism” to the public (Film Encounters, Audiovisual, Cinema Studies, Summer Film School, Visions of Light etc.).


Review in trade journals

As opposed to the limited space that reviewers in newspapers have at their disposal, trade journals offer writers much more space – although the length of the text places entirely different demands on the author in terms of attention to detail, level of sophistication, argumentation, an original point of view, rhetorical skills, and stylistic elegance. In addition, when writing about documentary film, the critic will have to answer specific questions such as the filmmaker’s personal style, the level of reality/fiction of what we see on the screen, the film’s ideological aspects, etc.

Helena Bendová
Helena currently works at the Centre of Audiovisual Studies at FAMU in Prague as an Assistant Professor (specializes in film analysis and criticism, French cinema, game studies, cognitive film theory, narratology). She also works as an editor and translator (books by Jeremy Orlebar, Jean-Luc Godard). Her previous work experience: editor-in-chief of the journal Cinepur, editor of the journal Iluminace, autor of texts for various journals and magazines.


Press release

A press release is a basic means of communication in various professions. As a journalist, you read press releases and their wording should be a sufficient indication of the degree of professionalism of the person who is addressing you. As a PR representative of a business or a non-profit organization, you write press releases so as to communicate your point clearly. As an HR manager, you are choosing the best candidate to be your future colleague and a press release is a very efficient tool of telling whether a person is capable of structured thinking. Therefore, you should learn how to make your press release concise, well-organized and free of mistakes. Just make sure that you can tell the difference between a good and a bad press release.

Tomáš Feřtek
In 1992–2007, Tomáš Feřtek worked as a reporter and the Head of the Investigative Team at the Reflex weekly. From 2007 to 2012, he worked as a creative producer, script editor and screenwriter in the development section of Media Pro Pictures company. Since September 2012, he has worked as a freelance script editor and screenwriter for Czech Television. He is a co-founder of the EDUin public benefit organization that focuses on information services in education and popularization of educational topics, where he worked as the Head of PR and a press agent.



The French word “essayer” means to try, to attempt – and this attempt should try to find a connection between the topic and the author in a way that the author is capable of and that is unique to him or her. These are the advantages and disadvantages of the way the genre of philosophy, literature, and journalism exists “above” and “outside” the topic. The quality of the final product depends on the author’s personality, intelligence, and education as well as on the idea that has to be conceived. An essay (in the European definition) is perhaps the most open, the freest of the genres presented here, however, it can also reflect the author’s limitations. We will try to look at all these issues within the limited time we have.

Vít Janeček
Graduate of the Charles University’s Faculty of Arts (department of film studies under Jiří Cieslar and Přemysl Maydl) and FAMU (department of documentary film under Karel Vachek and Jan Němec), documentary filmmaker, journalist, teacher at FAMU. In the 1990s, he was head of film programming at the ROXY Experimental Space and the Archa Theater, as well as curator of historical retrospectives for several installations of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. He has a long-standing interest in film theory, documentary film, and interdisciplinary relations between the arts and fields of cognition. He is a co-founder of FAMU’s Center for Audiovisual Studies, of which he has been an active member since 2012. Since June 2012 he is the head of the international section FAMU International and a coordinator of a FAMU educational project in Burma. In recent years, he has published sporadically in Cinepur, Iluminace, Literární noviny, and the Dok.revue insert (currently published in Respekt), where he edited the essays section. Currently, he occasionally publishes online with Referendum. His filmography can be found at



The genre of the commentary in daily press ranks among the “royal disciplines”, combining analysis and opinion in a more or less literary guise. Oscillating between the literary and non-literary mode, the commentary suffers from a certain tension. In the Czech Republic, the literary aspect prevails over analysis; what is valued is opinion and style. However, an isolated opinion is of no interest. What makes a commentary valuable is rather argumentation and the approach to the commented subject. The commentary is essentially related to criticism. In his interpretation of Goethe’s Elective Affinities, Walter Benjamin says that criticism searches for the truth-value. Can there be a commentary without criticism? Can there be criticism without a commentary? How does one influence the other? Can that be helpful in our perception of documentary film?

Petr Fischer
Studied pedagogy and philosophy. From 1998, he has worked in the media, first as a commentator for Lidové noviny, later as a political analyst of the Czech BBC. For three years, he was the head of the cultural department at Czech Television. He regularly writes for the A2 cultural magazine. Together with Radim Procházka, he is the co-director of the documentary Desk-Based Assassination (2007). Currently contributing to the Hospodářské noviny daily and presenting the cultural talk show – Confrontations of Petr Fischer on Czech Television’s Art Channel.



What is a blog, what are its origins and how did it become a mainstream medium? Besides dealing with the history of blogging, the lecture will also give practical advice on how to write in a readable, interesting, entertaining as well as original way to distinguish oneself from the masses of people publishing online today.

Several notes from people who have been blogging for almost 20 years in total.

Adam Zbiejczuk
Studied journalism at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University, has been blogging on various sites since 2000, in 2007-2009 has been the first bank blogger in the Czech Republic (mBank). Worked as social media strategist in the agency (Ataxo Group), now co-owner of agency, organizer of social media meet-ups around website. A teacher at the Division of Information and Library Studies, Masaryk University in Brno. Likes connecting communities and trolling conspiracy maniacs.

Jiří Vaněk
Screenwriter, author, journalist and blogger. Wrote scripts for the series Comeback, Helena, PanMáma and Doktoři z počátků and for the documentary series Národní klenoty. Published an autobiographic novel Sebedrás in 2010 and translated Justin Halpern’s book Shit My Dad Says in 2011. Under the pseudonym Attila, Scourge of God, he co-authors the blog 1000 Things That Piss Me Off which received the Křišťálová lupa award. Collected feuilletons from the blog are also regularly published in book form. Has written or still writes for Filter, Instinkt and Marie Claire magazines.


Interactive documentaries, Transmedia storytelling and webdocs: reporting on a movie experience.

Webdocs are built on the principle of an on demand consumption. They are not submitted to release windows, address an international market and they do not benefit from premieres in festivals meaning that the press has to actively identify them and usually review them from their comfort zone. Most of them have a non linear approach and reporting about them is evaluating the user’s journey on top of the story development, message and artistic direction components. What is the importance of the platform? game mechanics? virality? sharing strategies? paywalls and business models in the case of Transmedia and interactive storytelling? Do we have to take all those elements into account when reporting on such new forms of movie experiences as they are part of the experience itself? What is the importance of those reviews for the evolution of the art form itself?

Domenico La Porta
He is an industry reporter - Chief Editor of - the first European portal dedicated to cinema and audiovisual in 4 languages. As a film journalist - and a movie critic hosting CINE STATION on Belgium’s public television. He is also the founder of KWEB, a stealth company dealing with Cross Media storytelling, multi-platform promotion, crowd strategies, media and a/v production. His international expertise led him to become Head of Transmedia at Wallimage, the Belgian economical fund known as a pioneer in dedicating part of its financing to cross media marketing and storytelling.


Where's your story?!

The most frightening demand from a grouchy editor need not strike fear into your heart if you've done a just little research. Assuming you've found a project, artist or event that your publication is interested in (because it's new, changed, controversial, surprising or meets one or more of the factors on your list), the backbone of your story will now be the interview. How and where to conduct it to get the quotes you need? Through practice, you'll be able to sail past boring, rambling, cliche answers to comments that are meaningful, original and insightful from your source - in a setting that enhances your story with atmosphere. Today we learn how to manage finding your story, selling to your boss, putting it together on site and constructing it effectively to deliver something at least close to what you pitched.

Will Tizzard
Central & Eastern Europe correspondent for Variety. Variety is the premier film industry trade journal, covering the global production, distribution and exhibition sectors, plus TV, the web and the stage, and its reviews are an important source for buyers worldwide. He is a senior journalism professor at Anglo-American University in Prague, he is completing production on Buried, a documentary following the fight for the return of stolen Holocaust-era Judaica in Russia.


Cinema and Other Moving Images

The heightened presence of photography in the cinema since the 1960s along with the growth of video beginning in the 1970s has long made it necessary to understand the nature of the operation for moving between various kinds of images, on the level of both the fact of the movement and the analogy of the representation. The digital revolution, however, helping give rise since the end of the last century to new ways of recording and disseminating images, has made it increasingly necessary today to distinguish between cinema images, which are essentially defined by the specificity of the experience that is unique to the screening of a film in a public venue, and every other mode of image consumption, in particular the increasing number of images shown in art galleries and museums of contemporary art.

Raymond Bellour
Raymond Bellour is a researcher, writer, emeritus research scientist at the CNRS (Paris). He has been responsible for the edition of the complete works of Henri Michaux in the Pléiade (1996-2004) and co-curated in 1990 the "Passages de l'image" exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou.  He is the author of L’Analyse du film (1979), L’Entre-Images. Photo, Cinéma, Vidéo (1990), L’Entre-Images 2. Mots, Images (1999) ; Le Corps du cinéma. Hypnoses, Émotions, Animalités (2009), La Querelle des dispositifs. Cinéma - installations, expositions. (2012). He is a founding member of the film journal Trafic.


Documentaries Change the World

Documentary films in recent years have been responsible for bringing important issues to the public and have been responsible in many ways for important - and progressive - social change. Recent films like US Director Kirby Dick's The Invisible War which exposed rampant sexual violence against US women soldiers has led directly to not only progressive change in the US military but in society in general. Coming soon will be Laura Poitras’ highly anticipated documentary about Edward Snowden and the NSA will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in October. How documentary films change the world will be our subject of discussion.

Peter Belsito
Peter Belsito grew up in New York City and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and from the Masters film program at UCLA. He was a founding member of the Independent Feature Project in New York City in 1981 and opened the IFP office in Los Angeles (now FIND).  He was a founding member of the Chicano Cinema Coalition. He worked in publishing for ten years for Charles T. Munger. He travels extensively throughout the year to film festivals and markets worldwide.  Today he is a guest blogger on SydneysBuzz which is on Indiewire covering the international independent film business.