Getting rave reviews at the just-completed Telluride Film Festival was Czech director Jan Šikl’s series Private Century.

An 8-part documentary series that chronicles the 20th century through amateur family films. This material was in the time of its creation an exclusively private matter concerning only a narrow group of people. It however has grown to become a unique testimony of spontaneous private lives. It is a probe to intimate family niches. The Private Century cycle is free of the ambition to present self-contained historical views. Its aim is much more modest: to stop the time. Within Private Century, the local private memory becomes public. All the meanings in the film acquire much wider and more universal humane scope. Private Century shows the history as a set of intimate human stories.

Source: Institute of Documentary Film

“I discovered something quite basic in the process that I’d overlooked before. It became obvious that I had to research the background of the private footage, and get information from the relatives of those involved. On their own the silent films were lifeless–they showed streets, people, and a time about which nobody knew anything. So I began to search for the family members of those in the archival footage, and in this way I made the connection between the film material and people’s memories, and I had a starting point for the films.”–Jan Šikl