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Become a juror at the Finale Pilsen Film Festival

What is the Finále Pilsen Film Festival? How can you become a part of it? Michaela Vaňková will share her experiences and tell you what you can expect from this event.

Michaela Vaňková successfully completed her master’s degree in Middle East Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of the UWB in 2016 and is currently continuing her PhD studies at the Department of Anthropology, where she focuses on Iranian women living in our country. She was part of the student jury at the Finále Pilsen Film Festival in 2017.

How did you find out about Finále Pilsen?

I learned about the Finále during my studies, originally I applied to the festival newspaper, but there was no room. It was recommended to me to apply for the student jury and get involved in the festival this way. So I tried my luck in the documentary section.

Why did you sign up to the festival?

I applied because I’m interested in films and the film environment, especially documentaries and Czech production.

What were the conditions for admission to the jury?

I sent my CV with a cover letter stating why I should become a juror in the student section. I think I have briefly written about what films I like, what I enjoy, and if I had any “qualifications” for the field.

What was your job?

Mostly, I might say, go to see the films of my section, talk about them and evaluate them. The reality was really like that, and we also did other social duties or participated in debates etc. We could have watched other films, from other categories, but mostly there wasn’t time for that. Our schedule was very busy, we basically had a schedule that we followed. Of course, we were allowed to time everything and sometimes we used the opportunity to watch a film afterwards. But we really had to see every single film to be able to evaluate it together. The most interesting and beneficial were the screenings with the documentary makers and the final debates. I also go to these in my daily life, because they nicely illustrate the background of the film. After the film, we always took notes and at the end of the festival we chose the winner after the discussion. In each film section there was a student jury and an international jury. I remember that we didn’t agree with the international jury on even one film in our category. They were professionals, and so perhaps they also looked at the technical execution of the films, while we, as film enthusiasts but students and amateurs, were more likely to give space to personal taste.

What jury were you in and how was the cooperation within your jury?

I was part of the documentary section together with two other ladies and I dare to say that we got along sensationally and even agreed on our favourites in the final. I liked meeting people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Did you see someone from the other juries? Whether student or international?

We also saw other jurors – depending on who and where we went to the films. But not very often, as the documentaries were mostly screened at DEPO2015, while most of the films were then at Měšťanská beseda. But we got there too and met both the students and the international jury of other sections. As the whole week was busy, we all got to know each other the most at the closing party, which was a really great end of the whole festival.

How did the teachers approach this? Because the festival is during the semester…

My teachers didn’t even know about it, as it worked out nicely and I had no problem with it clashing with school. I think only once did I have something important scheduled that coincided with a screening, but I arranged everything and watched the film separately. When it was necessary, we could watch the film in a separate room for a special screening.

Did this event meet your expectations?

Honestly, I didn’t have any exaggerated expectations. But being involved in the festival as a student juror was a great experience and I remember it very fondly.

What did you like most about the festival?

I was most impressed by the atmosphere at the Finále. And the buzz, passing and meeting directors, producers, writers and people who are interested in film and not only in film. 

What kind of films do you like and why?

I like watching documentaries the most, especially time-lapse films about ordinary people and their lives, which may not be so ordinary after all. I’m interested in topical issues, often social problems. It’s not that I like to watch other people’s suffering, but I think it’s very important for our country and the world to talk about things we don’t see or overlook. Thanks to the lens of the camera and especially the skill of the filmmaker, we get closer to people who may not be part of our social bubble and whose problems are not ours, so we don’t solve them.  Besides that, I also like feature films, such as drama and french productions. I specifically think of the film The Page Turner, which I think is absolutely great, but probably not very well known. In the end, I don’t really have a set taste, but I’m often more likely to stick with a film in which they don’t talk too much. That’s really the art of making a film without unnecessary dialogue.

If you had to sum up what participating in this event gave you, what would it be?

Attending the Finále gave me an opportunity to look behind the curtain of how to do a festival of this kind. I loved the organism, how everything was lived, was created and connected with different media and people and the interactions that took place. It was a completely new experience for me to take something so much enjoyable at the same time in a very responsible way. That was another added value.

For what reason would you recommend that students attend this event?

I`d recommend it to anyone who is interested in film and film environment. Anyone who wants to broaden their horizons and meet people from the profession and the festival that he/she might not normally meet. However, he/she shouldn’t expect to meet celebrities or just go to films and parties and not get tired. He/she will be tired, but in a good way!

If you’re also a lover of films and filmmaking, don’t miss this unique opportunity. You can submit your application by June 18 and maybe you’ll become a member of the student jury on September 24-29! All relevant information can be found here.


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