Art Film Fest is drawing lots of distinguished filmmakers to Košice. Who will you meet at the first festival weekend?

They’re coming with their films, and they want to discuss them. Numerous filmmakers and performers are coming to personally present their films at this year’s Art Film Fest. Who might you see at the cinemas?

On Saturday, 16 June at Kino Úsmev VSE Cinema, Alexei German Jr., one of this year’s Golden Camera winners, will introduce his film Dovlatov, which won a Berlin Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution in costume and production design. Brilliantly capturing the zeitgeist of its setting, this understated film on poet Sergei Dovlatov, associate of Joseph Brodsky, is not a traditional portrait, but a realistic record of Russian culture in the early 1970s, a time when literature and art were considered issues of life and death.

Fans can look forward to meeting Slovak actress Zuzana Mauréry on 16 June at 4:00 pm by Košice’s Lower Gate (Dolná brana), where, as part of a formal ceremony, she will be presented with the Actor’s Mission Award. On the same day, at Kino Úsmev VSE Cinema, Mauréry will also present the multiple-award-winning Slovak film The Teacher, in which she stars.

Filmmaker Fero Fenič, who will accept the Festival President’s Award at the opening ceremony, has his own section at Art Film Fest: On Sunday, 17 June at 3:00 pm in the Kino Úsmev VSE Cinema, he will personally present a selection of own short films. This set of documentaries extends from his beginnings (his first two films from his second year at FAMU), through his work at Bratislava’s Short Film Studio and up to the documentary that kicked off his own auteur studio, FEBIO.

The first of the competition films, which the festival will be regularly screening at Kunsthalle, will be Nina, from director Olga Chajdas, who is coming to Košice to present the film and answer viewers’ questions on 16 June.

Director Kasia Adamik will be a special guest at the festival’s opening ceremony, where her mother, director Agnieszka Holland, will be awarded the Golden Camera. Adamik will be presenting her film Amok at Art Film Fest, screened as part of the section Neighbours Online at Kino Slovan on 16 June.

The next guest to arrive at the festival will be director Olga Sommerová with her film Červená. Audiences will have two opportunities to meet her on Saturday, 16 June. At Kino Úsmev VSE Cinema, she will be introducing her film The Magic Voice of a Rebel, telling the life story of singer Marta Kubišová; later at Kino Tabačka she will present Červená, her documentary on world-renowned opera singer and actress Soňa Červená.

Coming from the neighbouring Czech Republic, director Jan Gebert will appear at Kino Slovan after the film When the War Comes to speak with audiences, who will doubtlessly be full of questions. With an authentic proximity to its subject, the film follows the life of ambitious leader Peter Švrček, who believes that what his generation lacks is leadership and a role model. This motivates him to organize some rather unique weekend activities in the Slovakian forests. With a few like-minded peers, he founded the Slovenskí Branci, the ‘Slovak Recruits’, who offer young locals paramilitary training and a hierarchical group structure.

On Sunday, 17 June, at Košice’s Aupark, filmgoers can look forward to an autograph signing with performers from the film Intimate Enemy. On the occasion of the pre-release screening of this new Slovak film, Košice will welcome Ady Hajdu, Gabriela Mihalčínová Marcinková, Zuzana Porubjaková, singer Emma Drobná and director Karel Janák. The advance screening is planned for 9:00 pm at Kino Úsmev VSE Cinema, but viewers will also be able to see it on 20 June at the Kulturpark 2 JOJ Cinema.

Crush My Heart is the competition entry and feature-length debut of director Alexandra Makarová. The Košice-born, Vienna-based filmmaker will introduce the film’s world premiere on 17 June at Košice’s Kunsthalle, accompanied by a delegation of her colleagues.

Short films make up their own competition category at Art Film Fest, where they are grouped into individual blocks screened at the Kulturpark 2 JOJ Cinema. On Sunday, 17 June, after the second block, audiences will have the chance to meet Jérémy Comte, the director of Fauve, which earned him the Special Jury Prize at Sundance.

On the same day at the Kulturpark 2 JOJ Cinema, festival visitors will also be able to meet the director of the film Trespassing Bergman, Hynek Pallas, who is visiting Košice to tell audiences about the making of this fascinating picture, where renowned figures of international film profess their love for the Swedish giant’s work, reminiscing on how, where and when the Bergman phenomenon took hold of them.

On Sunday, 17 June, festivalgoers will have the opportunity to meet renowned photographer Robert Vano in person, together with director Adolf Zika, who will present the documentary Robert Vano: The Story of a Man. This compelling documentary about the idiosyncratic, charismatic artist, meriting the alternative titles “The Story of Nine Lives” or “The Story of a Lucky Man”, is being screened on Monday, 18 June at Kino Tabačka.

The influx of filmmakers and performers, however, has only just begun…