* Dok.Fest Münich (Germany)
* Beldocs, International Feature Documentary Film Festival (Belgrad , Serbia)
* Neiße Filmfestival (Großhennersdorf, Germany)
* European Film Festival in Romania (Romania)
* Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK)
* CinEast Film Festival - Festival du Film d`Europe Centrale et Orientale (Luxembourg)
* Astra Film Festival (Sibiu, Romania)
* ZINEXIT - Festival for Human Rights (Bilbao, Spain)
* CineDoc-Tbilisi - Documentary film festival (Georgia )
* Cinema in Sneakers Film Festival (Warsaw, Poland)
* Panorama du Film Européen (Cairo, Egypt)
* IDFA (The Netherlands)
* This Human World (Vienna, Austria)
* Dokufest (Prizren, Kosovo)
* Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
* Inconvenient Films Documentary Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania)
* One World International Film Festival (Czech Republic)
* Visions du Réel (Nyon, Switzerland)
* LET'S CEE Film Festival (Vienna, Austria)
* Millenium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival (Poland)
* ZagrebDox (Croatia)
* Berlinale Panorama
* EIDF (Seoul, South Korea)
* Popoli Religioni - Terni Film Festival (Terni, Italy)
* Man in Danger Festival (Lodz, Poland)
* Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People (Athens , Greece)
* Eurorama (Trento, Italy)

* Best Documentary - LET'S CEE Film Festival
Jury Statement:
The award for the best documentary goes to “When the War Comes” by Jan Gebert. Slovak adolescents spend their leisure time in paramilitary camps of the “Slovak Recruits”, an association that has made the “preservation of Slovak values” their mission. Protagonist Peter Švrček, head of this right-wing youth movement, acts decently, loyally to the constitution, and he avoids making extremist statements at any cost. Still, his right-wing attitude is apparent.

These days, right-wing and radically right-wing parties win elections all over Europe. For Austria, also, this was recently the case. Their leaders are no bald-headed Nazis but young, good-looking, charismatic, smart, slick “achievers”. They have broad knowledge on the media and know exactly how to present themselves – always apposite to what is required at the moment – just like our protagonist, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Facts are intentionally reinterpreted and turned into alternative truths.

The parallels to the way current Austrian members of parliament are presented in the media are alarmingly evident – especially FPÖ vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache who himself has taken part in paramilitaries at the beginning of his political career –, as well as the perfectly planned medial staging of Sebastian Kurz who, just like our film protagonist, knows how to present radically exclusive statements in a smart, seemingly harmless way and to make them socially acceptable.

The jury has chosen a film that has the finger firmly on the pulse in an unspeakably powerful way. It seems unagitated and goes without unnecessary staging or aestheticising, it is at the right place at the right time and, therefore, on point. The film has impressed the jury because it shows the mechanisms of power and exposes the system without a wagging finger, voice-overs or large-scale production.

* Best Documentary in the Central & Eastern Europe Competition - 2018 ASTRA FILM FESTIVAL AWARD
Jury Statement:
In ‘When the War Comes’ we witness the daily routines of a growing extremist civilian army, following the head of a paramilitary group who with ease interacts with a public system that normalizes xenophobia. This film serves as a warning as it exposes the meticulous preparations for a confrontation this is now made ever more likely.

When the War comes

Category |Conflicts, Current Affairs, Human Interest, Migration, Politics
Year | 2018
Country | Czech Republic
Running time | 78’
Format |
Production | PINK, HulaHop
Director | Jan Gebert

Peter lives a seemingly happy life. For his graduation he got an SUV, he has a pretty girlfriend, got enrolled in a college and gets along with his parents. However, his real life is elsewhere – as the head of a paramilitary called "Slovenskí branci" that meets in the hills and mountains of Slovakia. He builds up a pretend totalitarian community that trains for the final clash of civilizations.

Peter's parents are fairly rich but they don't represent authority. The same applies to his attitude to the establishment. Seemingly loyal, Peter is a law-abiding citizen with a deep contempt for the rule of law. He views the state as overly weak and soft and under the control of Brussels. According to Peter, the current situation demands strength and determination. Europe is being overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of refugees, Ukraine is paralysed by the simmering civil war, and Slovakia is part of the “much hated, occupying force” that is NATO.

Instead of waiting for others to call the shots, Peter has been working on becoming one of Slovakia's greats. At 15, he travelled to Russia to train with the Cossacks and went through the same course as the separatist units in East Ukraine. Back at home, he established a paramilitary that now has a few hundred members who see it as an island of order in a world filled with fear and danger.

According to Peter, his paramilitary represents a model for what European society should be – i.e., efficient, well armed, and hostile to otherness. This observation of a juvenile paramilitary offers a unique glimpse into the powers that were behind 20th-century dictatorships, fuelled by both the left - and right - wing ideologies. Lack of confidence and fear are turned into lofty ideals of patriotic war against enemy forces – ideals that Peter and his armed pals seem all too ready to defend.

" Czech filmmaker Jan Gebert's first feature-length documentary about a Slovak paramilitary group is scary on many levels, although hardly surprising"
- CINEUROPA - by Vladan Petkovic

«The power leads to implementation of despotic ideas ­– the recruits need to be broken down in order to stand up on their feets again.»
- MODERN TIMES REVIEW - by Astra Zoldnere


WHEN THE WAR COMES ° Peter Švrček marching with his paramilitary group

WHEN THE WAR COMES - the paramilitary group Slovenskí branci training


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