Television, Commission Work and Creative Freedom

Illustration: Míša Kukovičová

Several related topics are woven throughout almost all the rubrics of this year's first dok.revue. The centre of their attention revolves around public television and various forms of custom work. In an interview with Apollonia Rychlíková we discuss not only what it is like filming for television, but also why it is an important medium which we shouldn‘t look down upon. The situational review is dedicated to the widely discussed documentary cycles of Czech television Kmeny (Tribes) and Příběhy neobyčejné energie (Stories of Unusual Energy) in whose financing the private sector was also involved. This time we asked four filmmakers to analyze the issue of financing documentary work based on their experience, and also on the related issue of the independence of creative documentaries.

Director Filip Remunda decided to portray his Ukrainian episode of another television series, Český žurnál (Czech Journal), which is being produced, in a rather unconventional fashion. Instead of relaying circumstances of the explored themes or unveiling creative methods, he wrote a series of short stories about what he did not manage to film in Ukraine. For example, about Hitler and Švejk in the same bar, where the guest from last year’s Jihlava IDFF Inspiration Forum, Petr Pavlensky, also went for a drink.

The pressing issue of financing public documentary film raises a lot of questions, among others, those concerning the boundaries between commission work and art. The book review of Atomy věčnosti (Atoms of Eternity) by Lucie Česálková touches upon a similar subject from a historical perspective. Pavlína Vogelová takes a look at the author's detailed exploration of Czechoslovak short film of the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Apart from a great amount of fascinating information, you’ll find proof that even commission work can have a beneficial influence on the development of film language.

Finally, we wish all the authors free and dignified conditions for their work whether it be of a creative or commission nature.

Translated by Floriana Skorulska