Art Film Fest to award Czech actor Donutil, world-famous director Konchalovsky

There will be no shortage of silver-screen celebrities at the 20th anniversary of Art Film Fest, running from 16 to 23 June in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín. As in previous years, the festival will present Slovak and international luminaries with the Actor’s Mission Award and the Golden Camera for their extraordinary contributions to cinema.

As tradition dictates, the recipient of the Actor’s Mission Award will place a bronze plaque bearing their name in the Festival Park, and this year that name is none other than Miroslav Donutil, one of the most beloved Czech actors of all time. In accepting the award, he will join the ranks of previous winners such as Franco Nero, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Gina Lollobrigida, Geraldine Chaplin and Omar Sharif.

This year’s Golden Camera will go to one of the most distinguished directors from Russia to Hollywood: Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky.

“Miroslav Donutil is the onscreen symbol of a generation,” says Peter Hledík, Art Film Fest’s vice-president and director of the Actor’s Mission Award and the Golden Camera.

Today, Donutil is doubtlessly one of the Czech Republic’s elite performers, having won prestigious accolades like the Czech Lion and the title of “most popular actor” in a TýTý audience survey. He originally hoped for a career in journalism, but his experiences in an amateur theatre troupe, combined with his extrovert personality, steered him towards acting. For that matter, he already had it in his genes, with amateur actors as parents and a master storyteller for a grandfather. “I’ve always been an exhibitionist, even as a child. I was constantly showing off in front of my schoolmates, and I always wanted to be the centre of attention,” says Donutil. Even while still a student at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, he performed at the now-legendary Goose on a String Theatre (Divadlo Husa na provázku), where he went on to portray more than 50 unforgettable roles from the 1970s on, blossoming into a unique acting personality in the process. In 1990 he joined Prague’s National Theatre, where he performs to this day.

Since the beginning of his career, Donutil has appeared in nearly 100 television programmes and films. He initially attracted attention in 1978 with his first starring role as the bandit Nikola Šuhaj in the film Ballad for a Bandit, but full-on cinematic stardom would have to wait until the 90s. His smaller roles were also well received, such as Ulrich, the genteel lawyer from the cult film The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992), the spirited communist father in the legendary Cosy Dens and the pastor in the Oscar-nominated Želary. Equally unforgettable are his portrayals of military officers in the martial comedies Tankový prapor (Tank Battalion, 1991) and Čierni baróni (The Black Barons, 1992). His performance as an emasculated assistant in the black comedy Traps (1998) earned Donutil a Czech Lion for Best Supporting Actor, and his most recent success is his starring role in the popular Novel for Men (2010), in which he plays a cynical, uncompromising lawyer.
Donutil also holds a permanent place in the public’s mind as a brilliant humourist. His one-man show, one of the touchstones of his career, has earned him a reputation as a witty storyteller and an objective, ironic observer with a warm sense of humour. “I consider myself very fortunate that my audiences range in age from five to ninety and come from every possible walk of life,” says Donutil.

“Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky is a living legend of world cinema," says Hledík, justifying his selection for the Golden Camera. One of the most distinguished Russian directors of all time, Konchalovsky has achieved fame not only in Russia, but in Hollywood as well.

The filmmaker comes from a prominent family of artists – his great-grandfather and grandfather were well-known painters, his parents reputable writers and his brother Nikita Mikhalkov is a renowned actor, screenwriter and director in his own right, with an Oscar for his film Burnt by the Sun.

As a young man, Konchalovsky was trained as a classical pianist, studying for over 10 years at Moscow Conservatory. It is said that when he saw Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes are Flying, he abandoned his studies of music and devoted himself to film. He enrolled at Moscow’s prestigious Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, establishing a partnership with the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, who was two years ahead of him. Together they wrote the screenplays to Tarkovsky’s 1960 debut The Steamroller and the Violin and his cult classics Ivan’s Childhood (1962) and Andrei Rublev (1969). But for Konchalovsky, establishing his own career was far from simple. 1966’s The Story of Asya Klyachina spent twenty years in a vault, after the KGB chairman allegedly said that only a CIA agent could have made such a film. It wasn’t until the 80s that a preserved copy of the film was found. Konchalovsky’s 1970 adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya has earned the unofficial title of best Russian-language film, and the director achieved acclaim at home and abroad with A Lover’s Romance (1974) and the nearly five-hour opus Siberiade (1979), winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes.

Despite being honoured with the title of USSR National Artist, Konchalovsky decided to emigrate in 1980, continuing to pursue his craft in the United States. Five years after his arrival, he managed to get Hollywood’s attention with the film Maria’s Lovers starring American actress and 80s idol Nastassja Kinski, recipient of Art Film Fest’s Actor’s Mission Award. His thriller Runaway Train, about two escaped convicts and a female railway worker trapped in a train speeding towards Alaska, was nominated for two Oscars. Also among Konchalovsky’s best-known films, the crime thriller Tango & Cash stars Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as police who are convicted on trumped-up charges and attempt to clear their names. His work for television includes the four-part Emmy-winning miniseries The Odyssey (1996-1997), the highest-budget television film of its time. After returning to Europe, the director filmed the remarkable House of Fools (2002), set in a psychiatric clinic during the First Chechen War.

Konchalovsky’s career has even brought him to Slovakia, where he shot the historical television film The Lion in Winter (2003) starring Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close, the picture won three Emmys and three Golden Globes. “I’ve always loved learning. No matter what I do, I try to discover something new. And this doesn’t just apply to film; it’s the same when I’m reading a book, looking at architecture or watching a talk show on television. Discovery is the most important thing in my life,” says Konchalovsky.

The names of the remaining award recipients will be announced by Peter Hledík, Art Film Fest’s vice-president and director of the Actor’s Mission Award and the Golden Camera, at a press conference before the start of the festival.

Art Film Fest 2012 – the 20th International Trenčianske Teplice/Trenčín Film Festival
The festival is held under the auspices of Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Robert Fico.

Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA, a.s.

Co-organizers: The Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the City of Trenčín, Kúpele Trenčianske Teplice

Financial Support: The Audiovisual Fund

General Sponsors: KOOPERATIVA poisťovňa Vienna Insurance Group, Privatbanka

Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding SE, Slovnaft, AquaCity Poprad, Hydrotour Travel Agency

Official transport provider: Lancia

Logistics Sponsor: DHL

Student cinepasses for only €5 provided by Prvá stavebná sporiteľňa, a. s.

Sponsors: TIPOS, Slovak Telekom, Penzión Baske, Cinemax, Forza CZ, Omnia Motors, Omnia 2000, DOMO Omnia, Omnia KLF

Official Suppliers: Moët, Hotel Pax – the festival spa hotel, NAY Elektrodom, Esterle&Esterle, LampART, Stredná odborná škola polygrafická

Main media sponsors: Radio and Television of Slovakia, Pravda, Rádio FM,

Media Sponsors: TA 3, TV JOJ, Film Europe Channel, Central Europe Television, Rádio Europa 2, .týždeň, Eurotelevízia, Pardon, OK!, Kinečko, Kam do mesta, Focus, GONG SK, Boomerang Media, SITA, BlueSky, euroAWK,,

Partners: The Trenčín Self-governing Region, the European Commission Representation in Slovakia, the Slovak Film Institute, Celtima SK, Hotel Flóra, the Bratislava Culture and Information Centre