The idea to create an event known under its present title – Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival – was conceived in the minds of a group of high school students in the Czech city of Jihlava in 1997. Today, 26 years later, Ji.hlava IDFF brings together each autumn thousands of viewers and film professionals to spend several days “thinking through film”. We can quote the words of the legend of documentary cinema, Portuguese author Manoel de Oliveira who called Ji.hlava the Mecca of Documentary Film.
Ji.hlava IDFF is one of the leading European documentary film festivals and the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Ji.hlava’s main competition section “Opus Bonum” comprises up to 18 feature films screened in world, international and European premieres. Aside from the main award, the jurors of Opus Bonum also hand out awards for the best cinematography, editing, and sound design. At the same time, outstanding formats, such as the best film essay, are highlighted. The jury awards a prize to the most significant debut film as well as to the best film from the region of Central and Eastern Europe.
In addition to the main competition section, Ji.hlava offers three other categories: “Fascinations” for the best experimental films, “Testimonies” for the best films with political, ecological or scientific themes, „Short Joy“ for the best short docs, and the traditional national competition “Czech Joy“.
Ji.hlava IDFF is among the festivals whose winners are eligible for the pre-selection of the Academy Awards® and the European Film Award.
Each submitted film has to comply with the following conditions:
- Properly completed form and timely updates in case of any changes.
- Payment of 25 € as a submission fee.
- Providing an online preview.
Ji.hlava accepts submissions of:
- Documentary films
- Experimental films
- Animation films or hybrid projects
- Various TV and film formats based on real life
- Virtual reality (VR) projects
- Documentary and educational computer games
- Interactive web documentary projects
Film submission deadlines:
● February 28, 2024 | films completed in 2023
● April 30, 2024 | films completed in 2024 and premiered before April 30, 2024
● June 30, 2024 | for rough cuts and films that have not yet had a festival world premiere
For more information visit the festival website.
Opus Bonum – Best World Documentary Film
Between the Seas – Best Central and East European Documentary Film
Between the Seas (student film competition) – Best Central and East European Student Documentary Film
Czech Joy – Best Czech Documentary Film
First Lights – Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film
Fascinations – Best Experimental Documentary Film
Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz – Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film
Short Joy – Best Short Documentary Film
Testimonies – Best Film Testimony
Contribution to World Cinema Award
The Audience Award
The Best Festival Poster Award
Silver Eye Award – feature length category (awarded by the Institute of Documentary Film)
Silver Eye Award – short documentary (awarded by the Institute of Documentary Film)
With over 1,300 film professionals attending Ji.hlava IDFF every year, the event is a major meeting place for the world documentary industry, and the most important documentary hub in the region.
The Emerging Producers – Ji.hlava’s flagship industry programme – presents a showcase of the up-and-coming generation of European producers. Festival Identity brings together festival organisers and programmers from all across the globe and the Ji.hlava New Visions Forum & Market provides an overview of the latest documentary works from Europe and USA. Conference Fascinations further underscores the importance of experimental cinema, discussing its production potential and distribution possibilities across continents. Aside from that, the Ji.hlava IDFF annually brings to the Sarajevo FF filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe to join the Docu Talents from the East presentations. Via Ji.hlava Film Fund we provide in-kind grants for visual and sound post-production, while the Ji.hlava Academy is a creative lab for non-fiction, to list just some of the Ji.hlava industry activities.
The Inspiration Forum is a unique discussion platform at the Ji.hlava IDFF, which hosts distinctive figures from various walks of life in search for new perspectives of our day and age and for relevant topics of future documentary films.
Around the year
Each year in spring, the Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF reverberate various parts of the world, and film fans in Prague and Jihlava tune in to the late summer documentary vibes of the Living Cinema. A critical reflection on documentary filmmaking is also the focus of the printed and online version of our dok.revue journal, complemented with numerous specialised publications the preparation of which was initiated by the festival.
The Ji.hlava IDFF also stood at the cradle of the Center for Documentary Film in Jihlava, a space for concentrated research as well as multifaceted exploration of documentary cinema on several levels – including a book and video library as well as other research sources.