Prague – A Ghost Town? Winning film criticizes housing policy

We know the best My Street Film of 2018! The jury, comprised of Hanka Třeštíková, Saša Uhlová and Diana Tabakov, chose Barbora Šimková’s See, Prague! – a self-portrait of a single mother fighting for her right for decent housing.

Second place went to A Few Words on Disobedience (authors: Míša Weingartová, Tereza Langrová), while Homeless God, Godless Home (authors: Sára Englišová, Kateřina Tisová) placed third. The award ceremony will be held at Prague’s Kino Světozor on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 during the Film and Architecture festival. All three films will be screened at Ji.hlava IDFF and the winning film will receive distribution support on the online documentary film platform DAFilms.com.

Housing Crisis

“The film captures one of Prague’s biggest issues today – the increasingly unaffordable rental housing and the related depopulation of the city center,” says investigative journalist and juror Saša Uhlová about Barbora Šimková’s winning film See, Prague! “Following the story of a single mother, contrasted with the results of unregulated tourism, we observe one of the mechanisms turning Prague into a ghost town. The author has managed to raise the question of what Prague we really want. Her work has the potential to make the viewers think about what can be done so we can live in our capital city in the future as well,” concludes Uhlová. While the author has treated her personal story in the film, she sees the issue as a general one as well. “I believe that housing is currently in a huge crisis, which is getting tangible for wider circles rather than just low-income groups,” says Barbora Šimková. “In an ideal case, my film will change the housing policy and incite other people to share their story, and perhaps unite in a fight for better housing conditions,” adds Šimková, student of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology.

Not to Fear Disobedience

Second place went to A Few Words on Disobedience about the members of the environmental movement We Are the Limits made by Míša Weingartová and Tereza Langrová, students of International Territorial Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague. According to juror Saša Uhlová, their film straddles documentary film and news reporting. “We follow the civil activists from the We Are the Limits initiative during preparations as well as in direct action. A part of the society sees activism in a negative light and the authors have managed to disrupt this stereotype. Through the characters speaking in the film in the natural environment of the climate camp, even those viewers who have not considered civil disobedience until now can come to see that there are moments when it is necessary,” says Uhlová.

Dignity and Empathy

Third place went to Homeless God, Godless Home by authorial duo Sára Englišová and Kateřina Tisová following the work of priest Petr Ševčík at the Naděje (Hope) social center close to Prague’s central train station. “The film brings a message from an institution helping the homeless. Besides the services typically associated with a charitable organization, it also gives space to regular encounters with religious content. Besides capturing the ways in which the homeless are helped there, the film also follows the people who come there for help; from a perspective that does not reduce their dignity,” says juror Saša Uhlová. The film authors are students of political sciences; while Sára Englišová studies at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague, Kateřina Tisová studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences.