Trucker Jaroslav Miko (right) and director Robin Kvapil after the press screening of the film More Miko, March 1, 2023, Prague.
Prague – In director Robin Kvapil's time-lapse documentary More Miko, Roma activist and truck driver Jaroslav Miko helps the needy despite racism and politicians. During four years, the film crew traveled more than 20,000 kilometers with Mike, filmed in the Czech and European Parliaments, in East Slovak Roma settlements, in refugee camps in Greece and on the Slovakian-Ukrainian border. The film, which its creators presented to journalists today, will be released in domestic cinemas on March 9.
The film, which was selected for the main competition section Česká radost at the Ji.hlava documentary film festival, intertwines several thematic levels, the first of which is political. It charts the unsuccessful effort to convince former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and subsequently the current government of Petr Fiala (ODS) to allow the Czech Republic to accept several dozen child orphans surviving in refugee camps in Greece.
“Sometime in 2017, I came across a video of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The images of children dying after this attack were terrifying and I couldn't get them out of my head for several days. In the Czech Republic at that time, there was hysteria about migrants, which some amoral politicians they instigated, and it all seemed surreal to me. I myself was once an asylum seeker in Canada with my family, and thus had the opportunity to meet many people from all over the world who were on the run. All these facts led to the fact that I founded the initiative Czechs are helping, and we have started to exert civil pressure on the Czech government to accept at least child orphans from the Greek refugee camps,” said Miko.
The documentary captures the evasive attitude of Babiš and ex-Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) to the mentioned issue and the supportive attitude of the then opposition MPs Michaela Šojdrová (KDU-ČSL), Mikuláš Peksa (Pirates), Jan Lipavský (Pirates), Vít Rakušan (STAN), Jan Farského (STAN) and Markéta Adamová Pekarová (both TOP 07). At the same time, it shows that the situation did not improve even after the inauguration of Fial's government. This is evidenced, among other things, by the passage when the new Austrian Minister of the Interior requested that there be no camera during his meeting with Mike. “They started to deal with an internal matter related to the new coalition and they didn't want the film crew to be present, which I respected. But I know what happened there. Mr. Austrian asked Jarda (Mika) to discuss the issue of accepting Syrian orphans with the other coalition partners . I think this is not the task of Jaroslav Mika, the truck driver. This is the task of politicians,” director Kvapil told ČTK. “But I still believe, because this government is better than the last one, that the matter regarding the children in Greece, for which 140 Czech families contribute, will be able to be followed up and corrected,” he added.
The next level of the document will talk about it , that Mike's life path is to help others. The third level is Miko's personal life and the effects of his human rights activities and associated threats from anonymous people on social networks, for example, on his relationship with his wife and children. was nominated for discovery of the year in the Czech Film Critics Awards 2018 and subsequently won the FITES award. In 2012, he won the final of the 48 Hours Film Project global competition with the short film This Country Is Not for the Young. His penultimate film was a feature-length documentary mapping the background of Michal Horáček's presidential campaign We have more.