About us

Pavel Štingl

Pavel Štingl graduated from FAMU's Department of Documentary Film in 1985 with Learning to Be Fearful.

Worth mentioning from his two years at Krátký Film Praha's documentary division is the award-winning film Addicted to Addicts about the psychological rehabilitation of the children of alcoholics.

His collaboration with the student movement during the Velvet Revolution resulted in Bring a Flower with You, which aims to demystify the image of the 1989 student protests, as well as A Visit to the Wine Bar, which looks at the life of political prisoners. This is followed by a Christmas shoot in Romania, which results in two films about the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu and the bloody Romanian revolution: Romania Libera and Quo Vadis, Romania...? Both films received awards at the 1990 festival in Budapest.

A longer period of filming in Armenia during the early days of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in The Land without Graves, which won the jury prize at the 1991 Hiroshima International Film Festival.

After two visits to Albania in 1991, Štingl completed three documentaries:
Albanian Tears of Victory about the bloody events accompanying the country's first democratic election won an award at the international film festival in Lodz, The Millionaires of Poverty looked at the disproportion between the country's rich cultural tradition and its current miserable state, and A Student Love – the story of a relationship torn apart by political persecution – was shown at the international film festival in Amsterdam.

In 1992, filming in Carpathian Ruthenia resulted in the documentaries Three Kinds of Christmas in the Transcarpathians and The Country Again with No Name (screened at the Strasbourg film festival).

The wide-ranging portrait An Ancient Story? explored the life of Mrs. Josefa Slánská, the widow of Rudolf Slánský – the general secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia who was executed as the result of the country's political trials in the 1950s.
While filming for this film in Moscow, Štingl ended up with footage from the city's turbulent streets, which led to the making of Greetings from the Country where Yesterday meant Tomorrow, which won the main prize at the 1993 Prix Italia Festival.

In late 1993, Štingl founds his own production company, K2.

In early 1994 he and his crew traveled to South Africa to film the large-scale documentary Home from Home about Czech expatriates who, influenced by the country's political situation, are dealing with the question of emigration because of the threat of socialism for the second time in their lives.

Half a year later, he followed up with a report on the country's first all-ethnic elections – Quo Vadis, South Africa...? His final South African project was The New Year's Eve of Good Hope, which brings to life the atmosphere of the annual festival carnival of Cape Town's colored inhabitants.

In June 1994, against the backdrop of the largescale celebrations of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, Štingl created the documentary essay The World War Within Us, which looks at the fat of Czech veterans whose contribution to the victory over fascism remains unrecognized even half a century later.

In early 1995, The Golden Triangle in the Heart of Europe caused a minor media affair in the Czech Republic by highlighting the legal loopholes in several European countries thanks to which Czech-made ephedrine has provided the American illegal drug market with enough supplies for three years into the future.

In 1996, Czech Television broadcast an extensive and relatively widely watched series of short documentary annals entitled The Way We Were. For each year since the war, the series found a true story through which it showed how the era's political events affected (and often fundamentally changed) the life of a person a family. The sixteen episodes were produced by K2 under the guidance of Pavel Štingl:

1947: The Most Beautiful Year – biographical remembrances of professor Jan Wiener, a historian who lectures on history as he experienced it.

1955: A Personal Gift for Stalin – the fate of the owner of a famous Czech car factory, who nationalized his own factory in 1948 and whose workers elected him as their director. For this ideological error, he was subjected to a show trial and later expelled from his hometown.

1960: Fires at the Heart of Europe – the inhabitants of a small village in the Czech-Moravian Highlands remember how they survived the collectivization of the 1950s. But then the fires started. To this day, nobody has investigated who set the village's barns on fire. But everybody know that the ones who were sent to prison were definitely not the culprits.

1962: The Ashbin of Eternity – a tragicomic look at the Klement Gottwald Mausoleum and the strange figures associated with the pathetic memorial and myth of the first president of the proletariat.

1965: Careful, Falling Plaster – the remembrances of Mrs. Jarmila Šťastná, whose husband died tragically during the time when the nationalized buildings in Prague were almost never repaired, and not just plaster but also balconies and cornices began to fall from their facades.

1989: For a More Joyous Present – a look at a loose group of friends who made up the more light-hearted wing of the Czech dissident movement and tried to fight the regime by poking fun at it.

Not only was this popular cycle the most extensive look at the injustices and demagoguery of the past regime, but it also gave rise to several large projects:

Four Pairs of Shoes from 1996 is a 50-minute portrait of professor Jan Wiener, the scion of a German-speaking Prague Jewish family and member of the RAF during the war, who in the 1950s was interned in a camp for politically undesirable people, and in the 1960s emigrated to the USA upon an invitation from Eleanor Roosevelt. There, he taught history, fed buffalo, and was a professor at a renowned university.

Also in 1996, Štingl worked on two larger projects:

Three Friends is a portrait of three women for whom the war ended in a concentration camp in northern Poland. After surviving, fate took each in a different direction, though always together in spirit... Eva was adopted by a Russian military doctor and live a complicated life in Leningrad. Marta and her mother emigrated to Israel, where their further lives were inextricably bound with the complicated history of the Middle East. Anita lives in Prague and works as an archivist in the Jewish Museum's Holocaust department.

On a trip to Israel in October 1996, Štingl shot the first preliminary footage for The Story of the Castaways from the Patria, which presents the lives of Jewish refugees from occupied Europe in 1940, who – in an attempt at being permitted to enter Palestine – blew up the ship on which they were being held by force. The ensuing disaster killed some 300 of the emigres. The project was completed in 1997 using exclusive archival materials. In 1998, the film won the FIAT/IFTA award.

On the 650th anniversary of the founding of Charles University, Štingl created Stone and Knowledge – a look back at the history of Prague's alma mater and its integral role in the history of the Czech lands.

Completed in 1998, Mr. Pfitzner's Diary is an extensive historical study of the life and times of Prague's acting mayor Josef Pfitzner. The feature-length documentary looks at the fate of this leading historian during the rise and fall of the Nazi ideology in Central Europe. The film is not only a portrait of a remarkable historical figure, but also a meditation upon an intellectual's transformation into a fanatical politician and exponent of "German wartime science".

The 1999 film Just One Attempt at Life returns to the theme from Štingl's graduate film. This time around, however, the hospital environment is represented by the hypermodern field of neurosurgery. Still, the doctor-patient relationship remains at the focus of this film despite the new political regime and the modern technology.

A short cycle of travelogues from the summer of 1999 looks at American Indians' attempts at revitalizing traditions that had been suppressed for many decades. The films Indian Morning and William Shakespeare from the Arapahos were made in New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming.

In early 2000, Štingl completed work on a nearly two-year project, The Lost World of Karel Pecka, a look at the lives of political prisoners in the 1950s and '60s through the use of stylized excerpts from the autobiography of the recently deceased author.

In the spring of that year, he completed another large-scale project, the documentary fairy-tale A Story about a Bad Dream. This loose adaptation of the memoirs of Eva Erbenová presents memories of surviving the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl. The book and the semi-acted television documentary represent an attempt at presenting this difficult time to children who are of the same age as the book's author was during the war. The film was awarded the main prize at the 2000 Japan Prix festival.

A third large documentary project in 2000 was Failure, a historical study of parachutist Viliam Gerik, who in 1947 was convicted of being a traitor to the nation. The film explores the questions of personal courage and cowardice against the backdrop of watershed historical moments and the Czech national character during the Nazi occupation.
These three large-scale documentaries ware awarded the 2000 Trilobit Award, presented by the Czech Film and Television Union, FITES.

During the Czech Television crisis in late 2000 and early 2001, a group of independent directors created several journalistic films that explored politicians' attempt at destabilizing public television.

The series of films culminated with the compilation documentary Chaos, which looked at the events in the form of a documentary essay. The film's co-directors are: Alice Nellis, Mirek Janek, Roman Vávra, Jiří Chlumský, Petr Nikolaev, Milan Tomsa.

In the spring of 2001, the comic documentary Cured by Prehistory, or How Guido Redeemed Himself – a look at a children's experimental archeology group – earned the director the Order of the White Mammoth.
In 2000–2001, Štingl worked on the documentary portrait What Language does the Lord Speak...? about a mountain farmer from Velká Úpa. The story of Friedrich Kneifel and his family explores the collective history of the Sudeten Germans in the eastern Giant Mountains from the time of settlement until the dramatic events of the 20th century.

In 2002, Štingl completed the documentary The Second Life of Lidice, which tries to take a new look at the 1942 tragedy. The film is also a follow-up of sorts to British director Humphrey Jennings's renowned film The Silent Village, which was made in cooperation with British journalist David Vaughan.

Painting in the Dark, a documentary portrait of blind artist Pavla Francová was completed in 2003.

In 2000–2004, Štingl worked on a feature-length mosaic of stories from the town of Paseky nad Jizerou in the Giant Mountains foothills. Preparations for this film resulted in Return of the Lost Patriots, a documentary about a theater performance based on a novel by Czech National Revival author Karel Václav Rais. The descendants of the novel's characters act out the story in its original setting.

The feature-length "amateur theater film" Peace to Their Souls was completed in the fall of 2004 and distributed in early 2005.

In 2006 Štingl completed the documentary portrait Boris Rösner's Theatre of Crazy Dramas.

In 2007, he completed Suchá Hora: A Village at the End of the Line, a documentary epic about a village at foot of the Western Tatras where he had been filming since 1992. The story of an almost 50-member family, shot in the form of amateur re-enactments, explores life in Slovakia's Goral region from the 1950s to the present day.

After two years of filming, the feature-length documentary A Ghetto Named Baluty was released in early 2008. The film, which looks at a city that was once home to a Jewish ghetto, combines eyewitness accounts with the unique photographs of Henrik Ross. The film won a Trilobit Award, the Jury Award at Poland's Rozstaje Evropy film festival, and the Jury Award at the Nadotek festival in Ústí nad Orlicí 2009. In 2010, it earned the Jury Award at Warsaw's Sztuka Dokumenta festival.

Over the course of 2008, Štingl shot the footage for The Road to Calvary, which records the efforts of 15 sculptors to create a modern Stations of the Cross near Kuks in October 2008. In early 2011, a DVD on this largescale collaborative sculptural project was released with three hours of bonus material.

During 2009, Štingl shot My Neighbor Killed Heydrich, a documentary portrait of Alois Denemark, the last living survivor to remember the people who killed Reinhard Heydrich.

In 2013/14, Eugenic Minds – a personal look at the scientific modernism of the 20th century – was released in cinemas. Patrik Ouředník's commentary is combined with animation inspired by period propaganda to create a parable on the abuse of science.

In 2014–2015, Štingl filmed the making of a new sculpture for Moravia Square in Brno. Courage consists of the filmmaker's extensive interviews with sculptor Jaroslav Róna.

In recent years, much new work has focused on the creation or multimedia projects for museums and exhibits.

The first such project was the design for a new museum in Lidice in the spring of 2006 whose multimedia exhibition And the Innocent Were Guilty... was the first of its kind in the Czech Republic.

This was followed by the program design for The Republic at the National Museum in Prague.

In 2009–2016, a new exhibition has been in the works for the Krkonoše Museum operated by the Krkonoše National Park. A baroque monastery is being converted into a museum with an exhibition on man's relationship with nature, with the aim of giving this region a modern visitor and learning center.

During 2012, K2 worked on the content for multivision displays for two large-scale exhibitions at the Museum of West Bohemia in Pilsen.

In 2013, Pavel Štingl founded the Prague Holocaust Memorial non-profit organization with the aim of converting Bubny train station into a memory institutions. Thus was born the project for a Memorial of Silence which is being readied for realization.