Press conference after the screening of the documentary film Happily Ever After by director Jana Počtová, February 9, 2023, Prague. From the left, director Jana Počtová and actor of the film, representative of an open relationship, Alexander Budka.
Prague – The time-lapse documentary Happily Ever After by director Jana Počtová shows unconventional and not always happy types of coexistence. It will feature polyamory, an open relationship, dating addiction, a married man's lover, and a strictly monogamous Christian couple. Five stories prove that love can take many forms in the 21st century. The film, which won the Audience Award and the Student Jury Award at last year's festival in Jihlava, will be shown in domestic cinemas from Thursday, February 16. The creators presented it to journalists.
“Primarily, I wanted to find different philosophies that people live by,” said director Počtová.
Happily ever after is the final work of Počtová's imaginary trilogy about fundamental changes in partner and family relationships. The 2011 film Generation Singles focused on people who either don't want or aren't able to get into a relationship. A non-parent six years later primarily addressed the view of the contemporary family and motherhood.
It took about a year to find the protagonists for the documentary Happily Ever After, which reveals rather intimate things. “The campaign was big. Advertisements in magazines, social networks, I tried it even through acquaintances. It is interesting that three of the five characters contacted me themselves,” said Počtová.
One of the goals of the film is to show how norms are transformed and try to look deeper into the concepts of various modern relationships without controversy. The most sensitive situation was in the case of a relationship in which the non-binary propagator of polyamory (free relationship) Fró is dating Honza, but he lives in the same household with Andrea, with whom he later has a child.
“In the documentary, I wanted to very precisely describe and capture the individual patterns, not manipulate them and present them to the audience with all the caution that the characters deserved. And I do this in the campaign and in interviews as well. It is important to choose the words. I am aware that, for example especially with polyamory, there's a certain tendency to judge, to say, “Look, I don't mind, let everyone do what they want, but…” There's always a 'but.' I try not to have that 'but.' I just present some fact that exists. And I'm not trying to include my opinion. It's irrelevant,” the director pointed out.
At the beginning of filming, Počtová established the basic types of coexistence, which are still not completely common or classic in our society. The only thing she couldn't find was mingles, which is a term for people who live in a monogamous relationship but don't share a household. “To the west of us, it's more common. Here, the socio-economic situation still doesn't allow it that much,” she stated.
Director Počtová studied at the Department of Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Palacký University in Olomouc. She then moved to the department of documentary production at FAMU. During her studies, she completed an internship abroad in Paris. For a long time, she worked at various film festivals and collaborated on several cycles with Czech Television. Her feature-length documentary film Nerodík won the Jury Prize of the Czech Competition as part of the One World 2018 documentary film festival. The documentary K2, which tells about mountaineer Klara Kolouchová in her own way, won the main prize of the 18th International Outdoor Film Festival three years ago.