Documentary Playback Offered Beer Gathering and Paving Stones
As is tradition, the first day of the festival meant a whole day of listening sessions in the theatre hall of the Palacký University Arts Centre. Heard were the seven final radio documentaries broadcast last year by Czech Radio and selected by the international jury. Thematically, the productions were very diverse; however, there was one thing that linked them: all dealt with the psychology of their protagonists.
Eliška Blauberová’s documentary Slyšet se jinak (To Hear Oneself Differently) reflected on the strength of words. The jury liked the personal content as well as the connecting musical elements and thematic balance in the final audio form.
Sound-wise, director Stanislav Abraham’s documentary Praha v kostce (Prague in a Cobblestone) was made in a very interesting way. A cheerful atmosphere and occasional laughter from the audience permeated the entire hall. “For me, it was a great challenge to ask the people how they work with paving stones,” says the author.
“I really enjoyed myself when listening to the audio-documentary for the first time. I was walking to work, and I was on the same wavelength from the very start. I liked the content very much,” said jury member Julie Kárová, highlighting the positives.
Jan Gogol Jr’s slightly comedic entry Dobrá vůle – Sraz ulice (Good Will - Street Meeting) was a mildly nostalgic story of former classmates. The jury commended the rock music transitions and how the listener was drawn into the story.
Jan Hanák’s Dobrá vůle - Roztančená oficína (Good Will – The Dancing Shop) elicited torrents of laughter. What the jury liked about the psychological story with a comedic edge was its development. They even called it an interesting fairy tale.
“I really liked the broadcast because of the energy of the main character and the general message, which was very positive, and very rare among the forty-one documentaries,” commented Martin Klusák.
Martina Pouchlá’s Berka se rozhodl zemřít (Berka Decided to Die) elicited the most emotion. The topic was the protagonist’s planned suicide.
“When I found out about Mr Berka’s decision, the decision to commit suicide, which he wrote about in one of his blog entries, it raised a lot of questions for me. Questions about life, his values, and how we can all deal with life. I seemed to me to be a very important topic, one that a person does not think about before they encounter it,” the author says in explanation of why she chose this topic.
Both of prize categories awarded that day – the audience award and the student jury award – was won by Hana Sedláková’s Hlasy, které slyším (Voices in My Head). The entry was remarkable for the authenticity brought to story by the interviewed woman and for the way the author played with the musical elements accompanying the listener throughout the entire documentary.
We will have to see if Hana Sedláková will manage to score a hat-trick by also winning the main festival prize, which is traditionally awarded on Thursday at the gala closing, or whether the jury will select someone else.
“Thank you for taking part. For your presence in body and in spirit,” said Ivan Studený, who moderated the entire first day of listening sessions, in farewell.