Films festooned with gold medals from prestigious international festivals, classic comedy masterpieces, the latest from Slovak filmmakers, fresh cinematic delicacies from Asia, a tribute to an Oscar-winning heavyweight: all this and even more await audiences at Art Film Fest’s nineteenth edition, which will be held from 17 to 25 June, 2011 in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín. Yet again, the international festival will bring films to Slovakia that aren’t generally screened in our cinemas.
As in previous years, our two competition sections will juxtapose pictures by filmmakers from around the globe. Art Film Fest’s centrepiece is the International Competition of Feature Films, presenting work from talented up-and-coming directors which has already enjoyed success at world-class festivals.
“The International Competition of Feature Films is very important to the festival, and I’m quite confident that it is to filmmakers themselves as well. Even last year, despite the relative lack of big names, the section was among our most popular," said festival director and the section’s coordinator, Peter Nágel.
Directors on their first, second or third film will vie for the festival’s top prize – the Blue Angel. “Our goal is not to restrict the section to films awarded at major festivals, though of course we won’t refuse them, and there will doubtlessly be more of them in the final selection. We aim to include pictures bearing a distinctive artistic signature and an original idea convincingly realized," added Nágel. The section will offer viewers a chance to see films such as the Chinese "Winter Vacation" (Han Jia), recipient of the Golden Leopard at Locarno’s well-known festival.
The second competition section is the International Competition of Short Films, always an audience favourite, offering a diverse mix of fiction, documentary, experimental and animated work by both professionals and film students from around the world.
The dozens of films will include several recipients of prominent awards, such as Chile’s "The Shower" (La Ducha) and "The Unliving" (Återfödelsen) from Sweden – both award winners at this year’s Berlinale. Following up his victory at last year’s Art Film Fest with the picture “Believe”, English director Paul Wright will present his latest creation “Until the River Runs Red”, freshly bestowed with a prestigious BAFTA award.
As always, Slovak Season will survey our local film industry’s latest harvest, featuring brand-new feature-, medium- and short-length films, including a selection of student work. Among those selected are two new medium-length documentaries – Marek Šulík’s “Chcela som byť matka” and Jaro Vojtek’s “Povieme si to v nebi”.
European Corner, the festival’s most extensive section, presents old-world films that have captivated the rest of the globe. “Europe has long moved beyond its reputation for boring, tedious films strictly for art-house snobs. Our selection features the work of experienced, respected masters, but we also draw attention to auspicious new talents," explained section coordinator Peter Nágel. Festival visitors can look forward to the latest from directors such as Ken Loach, Peter Mullan, Rachid Bouchareb and Jerzy Skolimowski.
Around the World introduces extraordinary discoveries from outside of Europe, films that have already been awarded at other prestigious festivals. Among the highlights are Israel’s national Oscar candidate, “The Human Resources Manager”, winner of the Audience Award at Locarno and nine Israeli film awards, and the most talked-about Iranian film of the moment, “A Separation” (Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin), which took home the Golden Bear from the Berlinale two months ago.
Art Film Fest’s president, actor Milan Lasica, has once again assembled his own section The Best of Comedy, a favourite among fans of the good old classics. This time Mr. Lasica will pay homage to the late Italian director Mario Monicelli, whose unforgettable comedies featuring distinguished Italian stars will delight old fans and first-timers alike. Renowned comedies such as “Viva Italia!” (I nuovi mostri), “We Want the Colonels” (Vogliamo i colonnelli), “Casanova 70” and “The Great War” (La grande guerra), each personally introduced by Mr. Lasica, are guaranteed fun for everyone.
For the first time ever, this year’s Art Film Fest will feature a profile of the latest and greatest cinema from Canada’s most respected film scene: Quebec. The section Focus: Quebec Screen will present a line-up of films representing the greatest successes of the last three years, all nominees or award winners at the most prominent festivals at home and abroad. Take Denis Côté’s “Curling” for example, which may sound like a sports documentary, but is in fact a harrowing family drama, awarded at Locarno last year.
Another newcomer to this year’s Art Film Fest is Dangerous Kids, “a thematic section focused on young children who you probably wouldn’t want in your own home," explained the section’s coordinator Martin Ciel. In director Tom Shankland’s terrifying “The Children”, those who you’ve brought into the world are the ones who will take you out of it!
Surveying independent cinema from around the world, Love and Anarchy never fails to attract audiences. This time around, the section will include a film from young Peruvian brothers Daniel and Diego Vega: “October” (Octubre), a distinctive, minimalist tribute to Jim Jarmusch.
Late Night Show has become a true Art Film Fest institution, dedicated to the nighthawks with the energy to come have a blast at the evening’s final screening. “This year we’ve got something special in store for fans of horror and kung-fu films," said the section’s coordinator, Ivana Petríková. It’s certainly worth mentioning the Australian director Sean Byrne’s horror film “The Loved Ones”, which has been a major hit at numerous horror and fantasy film festivals, and was even awarded at the Toronto IFF. Audiences will recognize lead Xavier Samuel from films such as "Eclipse", an adaptation from the popular Twilight Saga.
In Eastern Promises, we’ll be serving up some fascinating Asian cinema. “The section exposes the wilder, livelier and indeed the more passionate side of East-Asian film, more accessible to a wider audience,” said Adrian Žiška, one of the section’s coordinators. Among those bound to draw crowds is “Castaway on the Moon", a modern-day Robinson Crusoe acclaimed as one of South Korea’s best comedies.
The festival screenings will be held in Trenčianske Teplice at the Tatra banka Cinema Tent, Prameň Cinema, the Spa Hall and the open-air Cinematograph, as well as in Trenčín at ODA Cinema, Metro Art Cinema and two Cinemax auditoriums.
The 19th Art Film Fest International Film Festival 2011 is made possible by the financial support of the Audiovisual Fund.
Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA, a.s.
Co-organizers: The Town of Trenčianske Teplice, Trenčianske Teplice Spas
Main Sponsors: Tatra banka, Slovnaft, VUJE
Official Transport Provider: Lancia
Logistics Sponsor: DHL
Free Cinepasses for students are provided by: Prvá stavebná sporiteľňa (First Housing-Construction Savings Bank)
Sponsors: TIPOS, Ernst & Young, Cinemax
Official Supplier: HUBERT J.E.
Media Sponsors: Slovak Television, JOJ Television, Central Europe Television, Kino CS, Muzika CS, Doku CS, Rádio FM, Rádio Europa 2, Rádio Hit FM, Pravda, .týždeň, Eurotelevízia, Pardon, FilmMax, OK!, Kam do mesta, Focus, Boomerang Media, SITA, zoznam.sk, moviemania.sk
Partners: The City of Trenčín, the Embassy of Israel in Slovakia, the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, the Slovak Film Institute