Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech: Mezinárodní festival dokumentárních filmů Ji.hlava, in short MFDF Ji.hlava or Ji.hlava IDFF) is the largest festival of creative documentary film in Central and Eastern Europe. The festival is traditionally held in late October in Jihlava, Czech Republic. The 21st edition of the festival will take place between 24–29 October 2017.[1]

The last year's festival screenings were attended by more than 40,000 viewers, and the total number of 4,500 accredited visitors from 62 countries of the world attended the festival. More than 1,000 film professionals took part in the Ji.hlava Industry Programme, which includes projects such as Emerging Producers, Festival Identity or Conference Fascinations. In 2016, the festival presented 310 films.

The festival was founded in 1997 by a group of Jihlava high school students led by Marek Hovorka in charge, who has been the festival director ever since. From 2001 on, the festival has been organised by Jihlava Association of Amateur Filmmakers which was transformed in 2015 into DOC.DREAM - the Association for the Support of Documentary Cinema.

The festival's motto is "Thinking Through Film", the traditional symbol is a funnel.

Ji.hlava IDFF is a co-founder of Doc Alliance - a coalition of 7 key European documentary film festivals.


Competition Sections

The core of the festival consists of 7 competitions:

  • Opus Bonum - Best World Documentary Film
  • Between the Seas - Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film
  • Czech Joy - Best Czech Documentary Film
  • First Lights - Best Debut Documentary Film
  • Fascinations - Best World Experimental Documentary Film
  • Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz - Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film
  • Short Joy - Best Short Documentary Film

The festival annually nominates one film that is subsequently added to the pre-selection for the European Film Academy (EFA) award for the Best Documentary Film of the Year. Also, the winners of the Short Joy award are eligible for the pre-selection in Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards (Oscar).

Opus Bonum Award for Best World Documentary Film
Year Film title Director Country of origin
2007 731: Two Versions of Hell James T. Hong China, United States, Taiwan
2008 Iraqi Short Films Mauro Andrizzi Argentina
2009 Bassidji Tamadon Mehran Iran, Switzerland, France
2010 48 Susana de Sousa Dias Portugal
2011 Lost Land Pierre-Yves Vanderweerd Belgium
2012 Kuichisan Maiko Endo Japan, United States
2013 The Uprising Peter Snowdon Belgium, United Kingdom
2014 I Am the People Anna Roussillon France
2015 Dead Slow Ahead Mauro Herce Spain, France
2016 Spectres are haunting Europe Maria Kourkouta, Niki Giannari France, Greece
Between the Seas Award for Best Central and Eastern European Documentary Film
Year Film title Director Country of origin
2003 66 Seasons Peter Kerekes Slovakia
2003 Sentiment Tomáš Hejtmánek Czechia
2004 The Ring Angus Reid Slovenia
2005 Snail Fortress Deszo Zsigmond Hungary
2006 All day together Marcin Koszalka Poland
2007 Artel Simon Semtov, Sergei Loznitsa Russia
2008 The Flower Bridge Thomas Ciulei Romania, Germany
2009 Border Jaroslav Vojtek Slovakia
2010 Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu Andrei Ujica Romania
2011 Bakhmaro Salomé Jashi Georgia, Germany
2012 Mirage Srdan Keca United Kingdom, Serbia
2013 Winter / Miracle Gustavo Beck, Zeljka Sukova Croatia, Denmark, Brazil
2014 We Come As Friends Hubert Sauper France, Austria
2015 Under the Sun Vitaly Mansky Czechia, Russia, Germany, North Korea
2016 The Dazzling Light of Sunset Salomé Jashi Georgia, Germany

Non-competition Sections

Apart from the competitions sections, the festival annually presents a number of non-competition sections covering different areas of documentary film. The traditional non-competition sections are the following:

  • Doc-fi - a section presenting films that combine documentary and fiction film
  • Reality TV - a section focusing on new television formats and current cross-genre forms, such as docudrama, docusoap, reality show or mockumentary
  • Czech Television Documentaries - an overview of the documentaries produced by Czech Television
  • FAMU Presents - a presentation of the FAMU students' works
  • Translucent Beings - a section presenting works by key personalities in the history of documentary films
  • Transparent Landscape - a cross-section of the documentaries of particular countries

Accompanying Programme

Another feature of the festival is its accompanying programme, comprising thematic exhibitions, awards for the best festival poster, music and theatre performances, authors' readings, radio documentaries and documentary theatre plays or a special Laboratorium installation.


In the past years a number of directors, film theorists, and historians attended the festival. Apart from the film professionals, Ji.hlava has also hosted various writers, artists or activists. They attend activities within the Ji.hlava Industry Programme (such as Inspiration Forum) or hold Masterclasses (non-competition section). Film world personalities have also been invited as members of the competition juries.

Other Activities

Ji.hlava IDFF organises various activities throughout the year. It closely cooperates with other six key European documentary film festivals within Doc Alliance, whose Doc Alliance Films website, devoted to documentary and experimental movie online distribution, is an original project of the festival. It also participates in DOC.STREAM projects for the film professionals, Eastern European documentary East Silver Market, and, in collaboration with the Czech Institute of Documentary Film, the Ex Oriente Film project.

DOC.DREAM, the organiser of the festival, is active also in the publishing field (e.g. Bill Nichols: Introduction to Documentary; Guy Gauthier: Le Documentaire, un autre cinéma; Karel Vachek: The Theory of Matter; David Čeněk: Chris Marker) and runs the online dok.revue portal, dedicated to the theory and criticism of the documentary film.

Ji.hlava Industry Programme

Ji.hlava Industry Programme encompasses activities focused on film professionals and has been a significant part of the festival for the past sixteen years. The section includes following programmes and platforms:

  • Emerging Producers - an educational and networking project promoting European documentary film producers
  • Docu Talents @KVIFF (formerly Docu Talents from the East) - a panel presenting the most remarkable creative documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe in the production or post-production phase, annually held at the Karlovy Vary IFF
  • Festival Identity - a meeting and know-how exchange of film festival organisers
  • Inspiration Forum - a platform bringing together documentary film directors with personalities from outside the film community - scientists, writers, artists activists, and philosophers
  • Conference Fascinations - a conference focusing on experimental film distribution
  • Visegrad Accelerator - a platform for meeting of Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak film professionals, state institution and media representatives

Year-round Activities

Apart from the festival itself, taking place in October, the Ji.hlava IDFF team organises various events during the whole year:

  • Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF - festival echoes take place in the Czech Republic and other European countries (Belgium, France, Ukraine, Russia etc.)
  • Documentary Mondays - regular documentary film screenings with the presence of their authors, taking place in Prague art cinema Světozor
  • Living Cinema - summer screening of selected Czech documentary films, taking place in unconventional places in Jihlava and Prague
  • Czech Joy in Czech Cinemas - cinema distribution of selected Czech documentary films in Czech and Slovak cinemas
  • Cultural Hub - a meeting of representatives of Jihlava cultural scene, focusing on developing of the city's cultural policies

Educational Activities

Ji.hlava IDFF participates in number of educational activities:

  • Center for Documentary Film - a creative space in Jihlava Dukla cinema dedicated to the observation and exploration of the documentary cinematography on several simultaneous levels (education, library, video library, research)
  • Media & Documentary - a workshop for film science and journalism students focused on writing about documentary film, taking place during the Ji.hlava IDFF
  • The Boundaries of Film - lectures, screenings and discussions about unusual documentary film formats


  1. ^ s.r.o., portadesign. "Úvod". Mezinárodní festival dokumentárních filmů Ji.hlava. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 

External links