About Film a doba
Film a doba is a critical quarterly about film which follows and reflects on progressive tendencies in the field’s developments. Apart from feature films the journal also discusses documentaries, animated and experimental titles. Along with reviews of works present in the local distribution it also brings reviews from major Czech and international film festivals. It publishes interviews with domestic and international filmmakers, overviews of national cinemas and their main figures as well as articles dedicated to film history.
Film a doba, established in 1955, played in the 1960s under the leadership of one of the most respected Czech film critics and historians Antonín Novák (writing under the pseudonym Jan Žalman) an important part in preparation of the intellectual and political atmosphere of the Prague Spring and theoretical formation of the Czech and Slovak New Wave in film. Its readers included not only film professionals and experts but also the broader range of those interested in the art of film, and, being the only specialized film journal in Czechoslovakia, Film and doba was valued also internationally. The results of suppression of reform efforts by the August occupation of 1968 gradually took their toll as the editor-in-chief was fired and the journal itself faced numerous acts of censorship. Even though the board of editors was under permanent ideological pressure and was forced to publish official texts of the regime’s normalization officials, thanks to the fact that until the mid-1980s the position of the editor-in-chief remained vacant and the journal was in a manner of speaking controlled remotely, the high level of erudition of the articles, portrait studies and essays was preserved at least in so far as they were related to what was going on in international filmmaking. The real crisis paradoxically took place with the arrival of freedom: much like many other journals that failed to turn a profit, Film a doba lost its publisher in 1992. The then editor-in-chief Eva Zaoralová (who had been a member of the board of editors since 1968, originally under the name Hepnerová), a former writer Jan Svoboda and a new writer Stanislav Ulver found a solution in establishing a voluntary association which started to publish the journal as a quarterly.
The leading position was taken over by Stanislav Ulver who with help from Eva Zaoralová and Radana Ulverová continued to prepare the journal in terms of content as well as graphic design and layout. In the years that followed, Film a doba managed to preserve its high standard while also extending its range to include television, documentaries and animated titles, as well as the expanding field of video art. It used contribution from leading figures in film studies and criticism to avoid conforming to fashionable trends and stay accessible to a broader range of readers beyond the circle of film professionals. The editor-in-chief in his capacity of a FAMU professor of screenwriting gave special attention to encouragement of Czech (but also Slovak) filmmakers, the journal nevertheless at the same time kept on following current developments within international cinema. Since 2012, the four Czech issues of the journal have been joined by the Special English Issue dedicated to film production in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The values of the journal and the respect it enjoys internationally is documented by the fact by its inclusion in the prestigious list of periodicals published by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).