Five stories from five cities built by Bata company around the world.
In the 1920’s, Tomas Bata, the founder of Bata Shoes, had a revolutionary idea to expand his local shoe company, based in the little Czechoslovakian city of Zlin. Over the next few decades, Bata founded 30 new factory towns around the world. Each of these factory towns were built according to the unique social and architectural designs of the local culture. Bata’s idea was to create autonomous, self-sufficient factories and townships that designed, produced and distributed shoes that catered to the local population.
Many other small Zlíns were founded, for example Batapur in Pakistan, Belcamp in the USA, Bataville in France, or Kalibata on Java island.
Batalives follows the story of five people: Shona, Henrik, Matea, Bé, and Věra. They live thousands of miles away from each other. They have different cultural backgrounds. They belong to different age groups and social circumstances. Yet, they have one thing in common: they all live in Bata factory towns. Through his business, Tomas Bata became a global icon who envisioned a golden future. After nearly 100 years, what happened to this vision? Batalives examines this question as well as beautifully portrays the everyday lives of people connected by this unique history.
Batanagar was built in 1934 in West Bengal and it could be regarded as a suburb for nearly five million people in Calcutta. The Shoemaking-trade is still a means of income for many people, even though the original factories are being demolished in order to construct luxury resorts and golf courses.
BOROVO NASELJE, VUKOVARCROATIA
Borovo Naselje is a town with a unique atmosphere that’s closer to the industrial city of Zlín than to the stereotypical image of Croatia as a classic postcard holiday destination. Bororo was originally called Bata-Borovo and was founded in 1931. The name Bata was omitted in 1947 when the city was nationalized and renamed to Borovo.
Zlín represents the starting point where the Baťa empire was founded and where the story of Bata cities begins. The Bata shoemaking factory was founded in 1894 by three Bata siblings. Production management duties were gradually taken up by the youngest Tomáš who invented numerous production innovations that became notorious. The company continued to grow, as did the city of Zlín. The city changed its profile from a sleepy small town to a modern center of futuristic ideas. However, the golden modern era of the city has long since gone and the now feels trapped in the past. Some people still look back to the rich past and try to find a connection to it. Others are skeptical…
Batadorp is located in the northwest of city of Eindhoven, Netherlands. Dorp means village in the Dutch language. Batadorp was founded in 1934 and it is the only original factory that is still functional. The factory is an exact copy of one of the buildings in Zlín.
BATAYPORAMato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
Bataypora is one of several Bata cities in Brazil that its founder Jan Antonín Bata considered like a mythic Eldorado. He immigrated here before World War II with his family and close co-workers. Bataypora was founded in 1967 in a location cleared of a 100,000 acres of forest.
FULL-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY | 75 MIN. | PREMIERE 28. 10. 2017, JI.HLAVA FILM FESTIVAL
DIRECTORS: Karolína Zalabáková, Petr Babinec PRODUCERS: Lukáš Gargulak, Karolina Zalabáková, Cinebonbon DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Lukáš Gargulák EDITOR: Libor Nemeškal MUSIC: Tomáš Háček EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Michal Sikora SOUND: Jan Hála
There is one urban legend that claims Jan Antonin Bata was planning to move the whole country of Czechoslovakia to Patagonia. He has found out that the costs of moving the whole country to South America would be a lot cheaper than paying for repairs in the war-torn country.
Věra Dudíková, Shona Ghhari, Matea Gotal, Henri Jansen, Devanil dos Santos – Bé