Nazis in space and entangled teenagers: Wild & crazy films at Art Film Fest

They’ll unleash loads of laughs, suspense and even gore. They’ll come at you from an angle with a vampire invasion or fascinate you with their sheer experimentalism. These are the kind of films you should be ready for at the time-tested crowd-pleasers of this year’s Art Film Fest: Late Night Show and Love and Anarchy.

The 20th Art Film Fest is being held from 16 to 23 June in Trenčianske Teplice and Trenčín.

Late Night Show is the festival’s traditional evening closer, keeping audiences amused well into the witching hour. "This year’s line-up leans a bit further towards the horror genre, with nightly bloodbaths and terrifying sound effects. But of course that’s not all – we’re also including comedy and epic, controversial, action-packed sci-fi,” says section programmer Ivana Petríková.

One of the section’s biggest draws will be the American cult-classic horror comedy Ghostbusters from Slovak-born director Ivan Reitman. Art Film Fest’s screening marks the legendary 1984 film’s Slovak premiere in its original, undubbed form.

The film centres on three university parapsychologists who start a paranormal extermination company called Ghostbusters. While investigating strange events at an Upper West Side flat, they make a shocking discovery, and soon all of Manhattan is overrun by demons and spirits from another dimension. “I’m hoping the film will be a fantastic new discovery for our youngest visitors, and for the slightly older ones, it’ll be a return to the incredible 80s, with brilliant performers like Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in their prime,” adds Petríková.

For another crazy and unforgettable thrill-ride, look no further than American horror film The Cabin in the Woods. “On one level, ‘Cabin’ functions as your classic horror film; it’s the sort of movie where you grab your popcorn and hold your date tight while you watch five teenagers head to the woods and encounter terrible things. But it’s also our version of that type of movie, which means things get a lot more insane than you might expect,” says director Drew Goddard.

Sci-fi fans won’t be left out either, thanks to Iron Sky – a film imagining that the Nazi party avoided defeat during World War II by taking a rocket to the dark side of the moon. Over the last 70 years, they have secretly constructed a gigantic space fortress with an enormous fleet of flying saucers. When the Americans launch another manned moon landing, the lunar Führer decides that their big moment to reclaim the Earth has come.

Partially financed by its own fans, this long-anticipated sci-fi comedy was premiered at this year’s Berlinale, later becoming one of Finland’s biggest blockbusters. The film’s soundtrack was recorded by the legendary Slovenian band Laibach.

With a total of seven films, Late Night Show will also feature The Moth Diaries, a dark, gothic-tinged tale of a young girl at a boarding school, and Stake Land, a vision of an America rendered a godforsaken wasteland by an invasion of bloodthirsty monsters. The post-apocalyptic road movie received the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Toronto IFF.  

The popular section Love and Anarchy also ventures into strange territory, following the latest trends in independent cinema. “These films are distinguished by their originality and affinity for experimentation,” explains section programmer Martin Ciel. “We’re presenting some truly exceptional work this year, oriented especially towards younger audiences. Every film features young protagonists dealing with serious problems, be it in South America, Europe or Asia. Most of them are likeable characters who end up, often inexplicably, in dramatic situations,” says Ciel.  

One of the section’s flagships is the Dutch film Lena from the talented Belgian director Christophe Van Rompaey, whose debut Moscow, Belgium was met with exceptional acclaim at Cannes. The tragicomedy about life in a working-class industrial district of Ghent was the opening film of the 2008 Art Film Fest, attended by the director himself.

Van Rompaey’s latest tells the story of an ordinary girl named Lena, whose hobbies include dancing and casual sex. But all this changes when she starts going steady with a boy and meets his unusual father. Lena gradually slips into an ever more complicated web of dysfunctional relationships, sex and violence. The film is an authentic and unembellished glimpse into the lives and problems of today’s teenagers; a visually powerful, expertly mixed cocktail of social drama, psychodrama, crime and eroticism.

More insight into modern-day adolescence is provided by young Serbian director Maja Miloš in Clip (Klip). This extraordinary debut was adored by audiences upon its premiere in competition at this year’s Rotterdam IFF. Clip’s story revolves around Jasna, a teenage girl fed up with her dreary life in a crumbling Serbian city. She doesn’t get on with her mum, she’s bored with school, and she devotes her free time to sex, drugs and alcohol. This dynamic and unsettling portrait of wasted youth and the search for one’s place is shot in a very modern and radical manner, at times approaching pornography, at others psychodrama.

This year’s Love and Anarchy will present a total of nine titles, which will also include the Greek film Alps, depicting a very strange group of people who replace deceased friends and relatives. A fantastic horror film full of military mayhem, The Squad follows a small company of soldiers in the mountains of Columbia overwhelmed by an inexplicable frenzy. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Andes, a young photographer happens upon a village whose inhabitants disregard time itself in the mysterious Histórias que só existem quando lembradas (Found Memories).

Art Film Fest 2012 – the 20th International Trenčianske Teplice/Trenčín Film Festival

 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

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, Esterle&Esterle, LampART, Stredná odborná škola polygrafická Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska, Pravda, Rádio FM,

Media Sponsors: televízia 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