Annual Jihlava Film Festival Rocked Its 20th Anniversary

Every year, since 1997, a small city Jihlava in the Czech Republic, brings together film talents and professionals from all over the world. Every October Jihlava turns into a big film house with many different rooms that open doors to variety of programs: film screenings, masterclasses, seminars and forums. In 2016, Jihlava IDFF celebrated their 20th anniversary, let’s see what you can find at the festival. 2016 Jihlava IDFF was exciting and full of surprises. Who would expect to meet there Philip Zimbardo, a great psychologist whose experiment shocked the world? Or would you dream of meeting Charlie Phillips, a Head of Documentaries at The Guardian, and shake his hand? Maybe Chang Ping would not surprise you, but he is a controversy Chinese blogger that escaped to Germany at the time.


The Conference of Fascinations: a conference on experimental film distribution 2nd edition was held as a part of the 20th Jihlava IDFF. The most discussed topic of the Conference was selecting films for festivals vs. galleries. What are film festivals and galleries looking for? What criteria do distributors apply when selecting films? More than 10 representatives from the film world as distributors, film festival’s or galleries’ directors, founders and managers came to the city to help filmmakers on the topic. Filmmakers had a chance to get closer with representatives during the coffee breaks as well as they had a unique opportunity of one-to-one meetings as the last part of the Conference. Filmmakers could present their films individually and receive credible feedbacks from the professionals. That was a great opportunity for new film directors to get in touch and make a first step into the film world of professionals.

How to get into the Forum, when there is Philip Zimbardo? You are not the only one who is asking this question. Philip George Zimbardo, born on March 23 1933, is a legendary psychologist and a professor emeritus at the Stanford University. He became famous for his experiment in 1971, which is called the Stanford Prison Experiment. He first shocked the world and now is striking the Hollywood with a film that is based on a real story. During the Jihlava IDFF it was almost impossible to get into the forum, people were standing in the line almost two hour ahead. The line multiplied into three lines later. People started to give up and leave the lines. Some of the liners, the most stubborn, were so lucky to get on the stage with Philip. The most rewarding moment for some of them was when Philip proposed to sit closer to him and see a screen better. Besides all of his talents and scandals, he appeared to be very kind and charming person who appreciably loves his fans. After the forum, Zimbardo happily signed books and took selfies with his fans.img_9045

Jihlava IDFF presented many newly fresh and extraordinary works at film screenings. Films surprised with their variety and ideas of new talents. There were films that you cannot call films, but drawings os sound-art. There were films in the dark. Film screenings at Jihlava IDFF broke all rules and shook the audience’s minds. Besides creativity, the festival represented a new vision on documentaries. There were films, that were shot in the war and conflict zones, that helped the European audience to learn more about the world situation. Film directors from all over the world and Czech talents were proud to screen their works this year. Maybe next year, it is time for your film?


The most outrageous performance held in Jihlava IDFF 2016 was made by Phanton Limb from Iceland. It was performed in total dark. People from Iceland are not very spoiled by sun. That is probably why Phanton Limb decided to let others explore the dark and what is not there. He called his ritual performance as a break from flickering images and visual overload at the Jihlava IDFF 2016.

These are just a few events listed above from Jihlava IDFF 2016. Next year in October, tiny streets of Jihlava will become red carpets for next talents and guests again. I cannot wait for it and I am looking forward to seeing you there next time. Once you go to Jihlava IDFF, you cannot resist planning to go again.

Written by Kristina Bakeeva