Slovak Wins Oscar – To be Screened at Art Film Fest

The short film The Lunch Box (2009) from director Ľubomír Mihailo Kocka has been chosen from among its fellow nominees for the Student Oscar, and will ultimately come away with one of the coveted statuettes. But to see whether it will be the bronze, silver or gold, we have to wait until the prestigious prize’s awards ceremony on June 12th in Los Angeles. From among nine nominated pictures, three finalists have emerged triumphant in this tight competition.    

The expert panel of judges was captivated by this simple yet powerful story of a man whose life’s certainties are slipping away. The main character is Jozef, whose life consists of day-to-day routine. He gets up, goes to work at a factory and eats his lunch. Every morning, his wife Ružena prepares and packs him his lunchbox, picks him out a clean shirt and sees him off to work, as she has for many years. Every day is the same. But then, when Ružena suffers a stroke, this well-established system collapses. For the first time in his life, Jozef has to not only take care of himself, but of his ailing wife as well. And nothing will ever be the same. The main characters are portrayed by Božidara Turzonovová, a film and theatre actress, and Štefan Šafárik, who mainly performs on the theatrical stage in Zvolen and Banská Bystrica, Slovakia.

Ľubomír Mihailo Kocka was born in Slovakia, but in early childhood he moved to the United States with his parents. He is a student at Savannah College of Art and Design. He first attracted attention with his short film debut The Honest Shepherd, which among other distinctions won the Young Filmmaker Award at the 2008 Tupelo Film Festival in Mississippi, and was officially selected for screening at eight international film festivals. For his second short film The Lunch Box, the filmmaker won an award for best fiction film above fifteen minutes at Palm Springs’ International ShortFest, in addition to a prize for best student film at the Phuket Film Festival in Thailand. It was also nominated by the Slovak Film and Television Academy for this year’s Sun in a Net Award. The Lunch Box even ended up among the nominees for the Student Oscars. Ľubomír Mihailo Kocka has also enjoyed success in his other activities. For his starring role in a William Butler Yeats one-act play, Mr. Kocka received an award for best actor. Neither does his photography work go unnoticed; he came in third place in the photography portion of the Congressional Juried Art Exhibition.  

The Student Oscars is an annual national competition involving over 500 students from the entire United States. They compete for three awards and cash prizes in four categories – animation, documentary, narrative and alternative. An exceptional foreign film is always awarded as well. The Lunch Box was nominated as part of the national US competition. In the past, Student Oscars have been granted to filmmakers such as Spike Lee, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis. The last nominee to represent Slovakia was director Michal Struss’s animated film In The Box.  

Photographs can be found at in the Press section. 

The Art Film Fest International Film Festival Trenčianske Teplice/Trenčín is made possible through the financial support of the Audiovisual Fund and the European Union Programme MEDIA.   

Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., Forza, a.s. Co-organizers: the Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the City of Trenčín, the Trenčianske Teplice Health Spa The festival is carried out with the financial support of: The Audiovisual Fund and the European Union Programme MEDIA.  General Sponsors: Dôvera Medical Insurance, AquaCity Poprad Main Sponsors: Tatra banka, Slovnaft, Veolia Voda – Central Slovakian Waterworks, OHL ŽS, Alison Slovakia  Official Transport Provider: Lancia; Logistics Sponsor: DHL; Free student cinepasses provided by: Prvá stavebná sporiteľňa (First Housing-Construction Savings Bank); Sponsor of the Slovak Season section: Zlatý Bažant Sponsor: AVI Studio; Official Suppliers: HUBERT J.E., GS design  Media Sponsors: Slovak Television, Markíza Television, FilmBox, CSTV, Central Europe Television, Rádio Europa 2, Rádio Hit FM, Pravda, .týždeň, Markíza, Pardon, Cinemax, Kam do mesta,, euroAWK, Boomerang Media, SITA