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Docu Panel time at Karlovy Vary

Nine documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe that will premiere in the autumn of 2005 or in 2006 were presented by a documentary film panel yesterday. The panel was organized by the Institute of Documentary Film and the International Festival of Documentary Film in Jihlava and it heralds the establishing of a film market for Central and Eastern European documentaries right at the Jihlava festival. “We wanted to take documentary films out of the shadows of acted films, because we believe that they are just as attractive,” said Marek Hovorka, director of the festival, commenting on the new specialized market called East Silver.
The first film to be presented was the Bulgarian director Valentina Valčeva’s project Us 4 Revisited. It was reminiscent of the old documentary The First Years (1947) by the renowned Joris Ivens, which charts the post-war communist takeovers in four European countries. The producer Vratislav Šlajer introduced two films under the title of Automat. The first documentary of the same name shows what it is like to live beside the main motorway in Prague (where the producer and the director Martin Mareček both happen to live), and Source, a film which charts a search for the source of pollution in the Czech Republic, which turns out to be oil from Azerbaijan. Another Czech production, Industrial Elegy, confronts past and present people from the Ostrava Coal Basin. The director Daniela Gébová described it as a film about the decline of the industrial world. The Estonian documentary Art of Selling, which was introduced by its two directors Andres Maimik and Jaak Kilmi, satirically follows the destinies of three protagonists who find new meaning in life through door-to-door sales.
The next presentation was of the Hungarian film New Eldorado II, which is about a village that must shut down its gold and silver mines and its toxic waste dump. Learning to Watch by Polish film maker Beata Dzianowicz is a compilation of images of young Afghan students in today’s Kabul. In the Slovakian film The Border Jaroslav Vojtek shows the situation in the village of Velké Slamence, which was split in two after the war, dividing families, properties and even the local graveyard. Other Worlds from another Slovak, Marko Škop, documents the impact of globalisation on an ethnically diverse group of six people from Šariš in eastern Slovakia and the Slovenian Devil’s Colony (directed by Boris Petkovic) guides the viewer through the last leprosy hospital in Europe.

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