Not Truth? but MYTH will be the umbrella theme of the 54th Academia Film Olomouc which represents the base for the other sections. However, many people must see that the two words always were and still are very closely related. Let’s reveal the truth about the real programme sections of this year’s AFO together and make 2019 the year of busting myths starting with the first one! Myths have always been part of our civilisations. It would be wrong to connect them only with tales and legends about the origins of the world, the deities and celestial heroes. From time immemorial, the humankind has used myths in order to explain the principles of Earth and incomprehensible phenomena, but also to hide or support a specific truth. It often happens that some myths are deeply embedded in our minds and become the one and only truth. In today’s post-factual time sated with information of all kinds, the concept of the myth is once again extremely relevant. Myths are all around us and influence our perception of the world. AFO 2019 will thus combine social and natural sciences not only in order to reveal many myths but also to explain the importance of mythical narration for our society. MYTH is the main and dominant non-competition section; however, there are five more sections for the audience to choose from.
Myth as something we read, spread, create and live. Myth as something that existed even before science. Myths are integral to every culture, and they shaped our view on the world for thousands of years. By explaining the mechanisms that create the mythical tales, we will reveal the universal nature of stories that drive mythology and the world around us. What have Zeus, Odin, Jesus and fake news in common? We will look into the myths of different cultures from Egyptian and Norse gods to the ancient Bohemian legends. The programme section is purposely connected with the long-term effort of AFO to break the rooted myths in history, science and mankind while showing the complex problems in context. Find out how our Pleistocene brain works and why we need stories to understand our world.
Propaganda is a taboo in the politics, but the war for truth is peaking. In the current information overload, the “big lies”, vast ideological structure of communism and fascism, are replaced with everyday alternative reality. Why do people believe in conspiracy theories and why is the victory of truth so complicated? The section will explain manipulative methods of political regimes and outline how content creators of social and other new media take on these strategies and how they transformed them. Documentaries will reveal tools and methods of propaganda. Together with the festival guest we will focus on sifting through information and distinguishing information spread in order to control the opinion of individuals as well as masses.
An important 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon is getting closer. The day 20th July 1969 went down in the history of astronautics as well as history itself. The landing on the Moon was an important shift in the exploration of the universe. At the same time, this event is shrouded in myths and rumours that we will disprove by documentaries and the help of experts. In cooperation with the Brno Observatory, we will set off on a journey leading to the successful landing on the Moon. By screening science documentaries and feature films, this programme section will be a reminder of missions Apollo and Gemini as well as current exploration and future journeys to the Moon.
History is often wrongly considered to be a universally valid and objective record of our past. It is used as irrefutable evidence of the nature of things, a proof that social and political changes are not unreasonable and impractical or tool for maintaining fear. That is why we have decided to pay attention to those stories which, for various reasons, do not fit in the official interpretation of history. Those which were forgotten or deliberately erased from the history. We will not centre our attention around the winners who have written the history. On the contrary, we will focus on those who were denied the opportunity to write their side of the story or were omitted in the first place.
Origins of Art
The arts pushes the boundaries of human knowledge and thinking much like sciences. It stimulates imagination and allows new and original perspective on already familiar events. When and why did our human ancestors begin to develop their artistic incentives and abstract thinking which distinguishes us from other animals? Where did the need to express the world around us through drawings or the making of artefacts come from and on what ground did our ancestors begin to produce sounds on the first musical instruments? The AFO programme section will deal with the primordial creative and aesthetic human expressions. We’ll get to the roots of art in human cultures; from prehistoric cave paintings in Europe, via drawings in African mountains in Egypt or South America up to ancient predecessors of today’s comics. We will present up-to-date scientific findings about the need for musical expression of the ancestors of modern man. We will find out how arts has shaped the human brain over the course of tens of thousands of years. The French poet Filliou said: “Art is what makes our life more interesting than the art itself.”
The society is still dominated by the commonly shared opinion that women of our history mostly fulfilled the submissive caregiver role and as the life givers, they needed the protection of their stronger partners – men. It is also suggested by publicly available historical records where the roles of protectors and active historical figures are mostly represented by men. However, the latest research in the field of archaeology together with the deconstructive approaches to the so-called great history suggests the opposite. Women did not always accept the role of caregivers needing protection. What’s more, women often actively fought to protect, steal or help the expansion of their empires. They definitely did not belong to the historical exceptions proving the rule. That’s why one of the AFO sections will focus on woman warriors this year. Those women who held the role of warriors, active protectors or even warrior queens through various historical epochs and in various historical places.
This programme section connects several topics of this year’s AFO, particularly propaganda, myth, and forgotten history and offers a selection of archival compilation films rarely encountered in the afternoon TV programme. Seven historical topics with seven innovative approaches to managing image and sound represent new directions for historical stories in film in the age of remix culture. These films offer well-known and forgotten, hackneyed, and obscure archive footage open for your interpretation together with unique sound representation. The New Zealand director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) has adapted a topic close to his heart in They Shall Not Grow Old and has authentically revived 100-year-old footage of WWI. He used his experience as a contemporary film director while also arousing critical acclaim among historians. What does an archival film say about the modern-day digital age? The British film professor Ian Christie speaks in its defence and introduces the film. The extensive BBC archives have recently been used by other directors – in Arcadia, we look back at the century of the British countryside in a flood of archive footage and electronic music by Portishead and Goldfrapp. The Mirror changes pace and presents over 300 snippets of films and popular music and new possibilities of remixing sound and image. The films by the Czech director Adéla Babanová combine archive footage and acted-out excerpts, actual events of Czechoslovak history, and made-up stories. Her historical trilogy is commented on by Sylva Poláková. However, we can’t forget about the most commonly used archival films of the Third Reich’s propaganda; this time using unique editing which wittily, albeit chillingly, uses the popular hits of that time.