Focus on Romanian experimental cinema at the 25th Ji.hlava IDFF

18 October, 2021

This year’s edition of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival will take place between October 26-31. The festival program comprises 300 films, a retrospective of Romanian experimental film and a section dedicated to the American thinker and essayist Susan Sontag.

“We are looking forward to resuming cinema screenings! We also cherish the opportunity to meet again for inspiring discussions. The festival will bring the faces of the film’s audiences to the venues, and an intense shared experience to the viewers,” says Marek Hovorka, Director of Ji.hlava IDFF.

Conference Fascinations: Romania

Every year, the Conference Fascinations program presents important films both within a big-screen cinema context and in art galleries. This year, the retrospective program focuses on the Romanian experimental scene, a broad topic worth presenting to the international public. 24 experimental gems by the artistic collective kinema ikon and the Sigma art movement, or by prominent artists such Ion Grigorescu, Mircea Săucan and Paul Neagu, will run on the big screen during the festival. The full program is available here.

Competition sections

The festival comprises 6 competition sections:

  • Czech Joy – various documentaries, covering a wide range of themes and ways of artistic expression, compete for the Best Czech Documentary Award;
  • Opus Bonum – showcases documentaries from all around the world, entering the race for the Best World Documentary Film;
  • Testimonies – the films in this section capture the current state of the world from various angles; from the story of a meteorologist to artificial intelligence and the risks to which employees of companies such as Uber or Amazon are exposed, all topics are brought under the same umbrella, together creating a history of the contemporary world;
  • Short Joy – the selection of documentary shorts can be watched online and voted until October 24; the winning film will receive the Best Documentary Short Film Award;
  • Fascinations – the prestigious section that brings together experimental documentaries from all around the world, competing for the Best Experimental Documentary Film;
  • Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz – the section reunites the latest Czech experimental films that touch upon reality and never cease in their search for new ways of expressing reality through classical and digital film.

You Are Ceaușescu to Me (dir. Sebastian Mihăilescu) will be presented in world premiere in the Opus Bonum competition section. The documentary follows several “high school and university students, a teacher or a gigolo who meet in a vacant warehouse turned into a film studio. They will reenact scenes from the life of former Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu. The more intensely the actors get into their roles, the more they reveal about themselves during the breaks in filming. Together with the profile of the communist leader as a young man, this creates a collective portrait of contemporary Romanian youth, their value priorities and their relationship with history in an experimental space between fiction and documentary.”

Also presented in world premiere is Al Amari, temporary residence (dir. Kristýna Kopřivová), a Czech Republic, Romania, Palestine co-production. The director documents the Al Amari Palestinian refugee camp, creating several portraits of refugees living there. Al Amari, temporary residence competes in the Czech Joy competition.

Film producer Anamaria Antoci will be one of the guest speakers at the panel discussion My vision vs. My life, where four female producers are invited to talk about the reality of film production, stereotypes and transformation of the audio-visual world.


The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival will take place between October 26-31. Starting with November 1, the festival will continue with online screenings of the films in the program. For more details, visit the official website.



Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.