We are screening a couple of 1 minute shorts about foreigners in the Czech Republic – “Češinci” – that where a part of a video spot competition. The competition sought out the best original short on the integration of foreigners in the Czech Republic, that would express lesser known information about the lives of this group and in general take on a perspective that diverts from the norm set by the media and politicians. The contest was co-financed by the European Union from the European Fund for the Integration of third country nationals.
A total of 23 teams entered the competition. Thematically, they could be distinguished into two groups: the contribution of migrants to the Czech Republic and the obstacles they face in the Czech Republic. Emphasis was given to vulnerable groups (pregnant women, trafficked persons, children, seniors, etc.).
‘Nomin’ directed by Viktor Portel won first place in the competition. The jury noted how the impressive use of visual and audio metaphors reveal the story of a small Mongolian girl who was born with severe health problems and therefore has accumulated a huge debt to the hospital. The piece is able to capture extreme emotions through minimal narration and highlights one of the most important and relevant barriers that many migrants in the Czech Republic face, namely the restrictions on access to health insurance.
Second was ‘Marry you me?’, a short that manages to dramatize in a witty manner the desperate lengths people will go to, to get a papers. The main character will run around in desperation to find someone willing to marry her. The reactions of passersby reveal the circumstances and attitudes people without papers face, and calls for a discussion of morality.
‘Homolkovi’ La familia, third place in the competition, manages to show in a humoristic and insightful way the assimilation of Czech life without a family of immigrants. It subverts preset notions of what family life for these migrants living in the Czech Republic would be.
Special mentions went to ‘Den bez migrantů’ and, ‘Víte, kdo u vás uklízí?‘the premise of the first film is perfectly captured by its title, in English: A day without migrants. What would that look like? The second (in English: Do you know who cleans for you?) expresses the denigration someone has to go through as an immigrate, specifically an highly educated person working menial jobs and being ridiculed by their employers. Moreover, this last short manages to bring this message with a positive twist.
The different shorts will be screened individually as part of various programs throughout the Festival.