Taiwan documentary week in Prague

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Venue: Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts and Svět knihy (Veletržní palác)

Prior to the 1980s documentary was a marginalised form of filmmaking in Taiwan. However since the turn of the new century, documentary filmmaking on the island has evolved into an enthusiastic cultural practice, almost outshining the significance of feature films. Many Taiwanese documentaries are made by the Public Television System (PTS), which created a documentary platform, View Point (jilu guandian), in 1999. Several projects shown on View Point proved to be commercially successful in the 2000s when they enjoyed theatrical release. The rise of documentaries in Taiwan has enriched the local cultural milieu for it indicates that local audience’s taste and choice in films has been extended to different forms of content and filmmaking. It also suggests that Taiwan’s film and television industries are no longer an exclusively local and insular operation as labour, money and ideas flow between different audio-visual sectors and locations.

Taiwan Documentary Week aims to provide the general public in the Czech Republic with an intimate and lively glimpse of contemporary Taiwan society by bringing to Prague a series of high-quality, diversified and recent Taiwanese documentaries. Through the public screenings and direct interactions with filmmakers, scholars and industry insiders, the organisers hope to facilitate meaningful exchanges and cross-cultural dialogues between Taiwan and its friends in Europe.

The event will conclude with a roundtable session, “The Vitality and Sustainability of Taiwan Documentary”, on 16 May 2015 with following participants: Taiwanese filmmakers and producers: TSAI Chung-Lung 蔡崇隆, LIN Leh-chyun 林樂群, Tawianese scholars: Ming-yeh RAWNSLEY 蔡明燁, KUO Li-hsin 郭力昕, Chinese scholar: YU Ming 喻溟, Taiwan based British filmmaker Dean Jonson, and Czech filmmakers and scholars: Kateřina Procházková, Saša Dlouhý, Haruna Honcoop and Viera Langerová. The discussion will address more universal questions that are not necessarily Taiwan-specific, for example, what are good documentaries? How to balance quality and popularity (is there really conflict between the two)? Where does vitality and creativity of (Taiwan) documentary filmmaking lie? What conditions may increase or reduce the sustainability of a documentary industry? What are the similarities and differences between documentaries made in Taiwan and in other countries? Where can we situate Taiwanese documentaries in the international markets?

Pavel Sladký from Czech radio Vltava with the help of Haruna Honcoop made interview with Ming-yeh Rawnsley and Yu Ming – the Czech translation of the interview and article are here:

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My article about Guatemala in Sezona magazine

V zemi Mayů, článek: časopis Sezona, letní vydání 2011

Cafes & bars in Pristina

Even though Pristina is not one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it´pretty amazing how many nice cafes and bars are there. And I shouldn´t forget to mention the amazing people!  Dia and Nora from the organization 7arte, our local hosts, knew all the cool places in Pristina, they took us to explore its magic in the evenings.

My favourite place is Pristina is definitely DIT E NAT, a bookstore and a non-smoking coffee shop with terrace (thanks god because all the other bars in Pristina are full of cigarette smoke). We hanged out there every day after our workshop because it was located just next to the EU centre where our new media workshop took place. Every saturday night there is a jazz concert. They have nice fresh juices /1.5 EUR/, so called “bambi”- chcocolate milk /1EUR/and a good machiatto /1EUR/.  Along with your coffee, you can read one of hundereds books that are in the shelfs – they had film books, art books, philosophy books (in English) and some local poetry too.

Dia and Nora´s favourite place is a tiny bar called TINGLE TANGLE. Again, they have quite cheap drinks there, and you can see some very surrealistic drawings on the wall. Once we had also lunch there (nice veggie sandwiches)- during the day, many students come along because the university is nearby.

It seems that there are a lot of jazz sessions in Pristina – a really cool place to listen to some jazz is a place called HAMAN – it´s a very stylish place, with nice and comfortable couches, but this place was a little bit more expensive (bottle of Chardonay 12 EUR).

TETRIS is a very specific place. It´s one of these “hidden” places which you have to know in order to find it because there is nothing written at the entrance. I will tell you a secret, if you find a wall which says “Pristina post, Washington coast” then you found Tetris.  It serves as a simple place for film screenings (for up to 20 people) and they also have a very simple bar with cheap drinks. On wednesday night there is usually film screening – we saw some local short film production – a great film made in 2002 which was a parody about 9/11 and another kosovo comedy film about son and father from some village collecting iron and selling it in order to survive. (I will try to add the names of the films later). Saturday night at Tetris was dedicated to 80´s party, pretty insane, but obviously disco music rules no matter where you are.

Here I will post some useful links for the culture, film, music scene in KOSOVO:


Interesting online platform for art, vlogs, culture happenings etc KOSOVO 2.0

Docuemntary and short film festival in Prizren DOKUFEST