Film Meets Journalism SUBMIT YOUR FILM Mission 

Press  Play  Prague:
An International Film Festival
About Journalism
8-12 October 2024

Press Play Prague

Mission and Structure

Vision and Values

Vision and Values

The internet was supposed to democratize information and art alike. But, by making it easier than ever to produce and share written and audiovisual content, it also diluted the quality and power of the works produced.

In fact, the internet has helped to usher in a crisis of journalism, not least by upending traditional media business models and facilitating the proliferation of lies and propaganda. And it has helped to transform the film industry from a source of potent art capable of catalyzing social and political change to a generator of endless easily palatable content.

Among the myriad crises the world is facing today, the crises of journalism and the film industry might seem to be of minor concern. They cannot compare, one might argue, to climate change and environmental degradation, to skyrocketing inequality and societal fragmentation, to democratic decay and the revival of authoritarianism, to the collapse of multilateralism and the growing militarization of international politics.

But a lack of free, high-quality, and trusted journalism exacerbates every one of these destructive trends. And our failure to give meaningful filmmaking the attention and support it deserves amounts to neglect of a powerful potential lever for change.

Objectives

Press Play Prague will bring together journalists, filmmakers, and audiences to celebrate and amplify the power of storytelling to shape a shared understanding of the world – and, in particular, journalism’s role within it. By showcasing thought-provoking films that delve into pressing social and political issues, we seek to inspire meaningful discussions and, ultimately, social change. Prague’s unique blend of history, literature, philosophy, and cinema offers the ideal backdrop for the event, which will combine historical with current perspectives, fiction with documentaries, and film screenings with live debates and meetings.

Support Us

Through the art of storytelling, Press Play Prague aims to illuminate social challenges, amplify diverse voices, and inspire meaningful conversations about the role of media in our society. If you choose to support us, your contribution would go directly toward advancing this mission. Together, we can deliver a moving, memorable, and unique festival experience.

Theme and  Programming 

The program aims to expose the challenges faced by, and the impact of, journalism through film.

COMPETITIONPress Play DOX/Press Play SHORTS
The competitive section of the festival will focus on compelling non-fiction films – both feature-length films and shorts – aligned with the festival’s theme.


NON-COMPETITIVE PROGRAM
Press Play Prague will select a range of fictional marquee films that shed light on the challenges, triumphs, and ethical dilemmas that shape the journalism profession. Films will be chosen based on thematic relevance and artistic merit, and showcase the power of storytelling to deepen our awareness and understanding of vital societal issues, including journalism’s role in the world.

Curated Narratives

The Curated Narratives lineup is meticulously designed by festival organizers, so there is no call for submissions. We endeavor to ensure that filmmakers, actors, and/or journalists with a direct connection to the theme or story in at least one film in the Curated Narratives section participate in the festival.

Uncharted Frames 

 Press Play Prague will present a diverse collection of visual works – from captivating documentaries that would not qualify for the competitive sections to innovative online video projects – related to journalism.

Minds in Motion  

Press Play Prague will host public discussions and other in-person activities related to the festival’s theme.

Press Play Prague

Competition

There are two competition categories: feature-length films and shorts.

Press Play DOX Competition

We seek full-length non-fiction films (documentaries) that fit the festival’s theme.  

Eligibility: The competition is open to films that were produced after January 1, 2021.

Theme:  The film must focus significantly on a journalist, or it must explore or expose an important issue or challenge affecting the news profession.

Length : Films must have a runtime of 60 minutes or more.

Press Play SHORTS Competition

We seek short non-fiction films (documentaries) that fit the festival’s theme.  

Eligibility: The film competition is open to films that were produced after January 1, 2021.

Theme:  The film must focus significantly on a journalist, or it must explore or expose an important issue or challenge affecting the news profession.

Length: Films must have a runtime of 15 minutes or less.

Rules and Selection

Deadlines:
Super Early Bird: April  1, 2024 (FOR FREE!)
Early Bird  May: 1, 2024
Standard: July 31, 2024
Late: August 20, 2024

Submissions:

Filmmakers should submit their films through FilmFreeWay, in a format compatible with the competition’s screening requirements. Submissions must be original works, and the filmmaker/producer should own all necessary rights to the content. The screening at Press Play Prague must be the first screening for a Czech audience.

Language: All submissions must include closed captions, plus a captions list. Foreign-language films must also include English-language subtitles.

Rights and Permissions: By submitting their film to the competition, filmmakers grant the organizers the right to screen their film up to four times during the event and to use excerpts or promotional materials for marketing purposes. Submission of a film constitutes agreement by filmmakers to abide by all the rules and regulations set forth by the competition’s organizers.

Selection: A panel of program advisers will evaluate the submissions based on criteria such as thematic relevance, originality and overall artistic merit.

Awards and Prizes: Winners will be selected by the festival jury, and announced at the conclusion of the event.

Press Play Prague

Organizers

The festival is jointly organized by three Czech Republic-based organizations.

Referendum Daily

Founded in 2009, Deník Referendum (in Czech) is an independent online daily funded mainly by its readers. The news and analysis website is creating a space for bold, transformative journalism on social and environmental issues, with a strong focus on civil rights and the quality of democracy. The focus of the organization has expanded towards investigative journalism after the reporting unit was established in 2014. The reporting team pioneered public debate to address several pressing social issues, such as the housing crisis, environmental crimes, oligarchy and state capture, discrimination of the Roma community, and the normalization of hate speech in public.  As of 2024 it is the only Czech news organization that has been awarded the European Press Prize.

Project Syndicate

For more than 25 years, Project Syndicate, a not-for-profit media organization, has brought original, high-quality commentaries to a global audience. Featuring exclusive contributions by prominent political leaders, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, and civic activists from around the world, Project Syndicate provides news media and their readers with cutting-edge analysis and insight, regardless of ability to pay. Our membership includes over 500 media outlets – more than half of which receive our commentaries for free or at subsidized rates – in 158 countries. Our mission is to ensure equal access to ideas that help people everywhere understand and respond to the forces – and risks – shaping their lives.

Atlas Cinema

The legendary Prague cinema and café  is located in the basement of a functionalist building that was designed by students of the famed Czech architect Pavel Gočár – František Stalmach and Jan Hanuš Svoboda – and built in 1939-42. 
Last spring, the cinema was reopened by a group of filmmakers and producers committed to developing a multifunctional arthouse space. 
In addition to the two screening halls and café/stage, there is the Karel Vachek Gallery, showcasing artworks of Karel Vachek, a Czechoslovak filmmaker, philosopher, and painter, who was a member of the Czechoslovak New Wave.

Press Play Prague

People

Jakub Patočka

Co-Founder,  Editor in Chief of Referendum Daily

Rachel Danna

Co-Founder, Deputy Managing Editor of Project Syndicate.

Vít Janeček

Co-Founder,  Producer,  Executive of Atlas Cinema

Anastázie Slavíček

Office and Program Coordinator

Press Play Prague

Contact us

If you have any questions, write to us.
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