In the section of TO OUR NEIGHBOURS, Art Film Fest will offer interesting films from Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic

In the current 29th year of Art Film Fest, which will take place between 16 and 23 June 2023 in Košice, there will also be films representing all of Slovakia’s neighbouring countries. At the same time, the section of TO OUR NEIGHBOURS will include premieres of these films in our region. Some of them have already won prestigious awards at festivals abroad, for others Art Film Fest in Košice is a part of the emerging festival life. The section has traditionally been compiled by publicist Viera Langerová: “The spectrum of films is, in short, diverse, trying to capture not only serious social issues but also the pulse of popular cinema in Budapest, Warsaw and Vienna.”

“What happened in Zakopane… will remain buried,” reads the main slogan of the Polish criminal comedy DANGEROUS GENTLEMEN (Niebezpieczni dżentelmeni), written by the young debut screenwriter and director Maciej Kawalski. After a party night in the bohemian Tatra town of Zakopane in 1914, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński (Tomasz Kot) – a doctor, a poet and a writer in one – wakes up on the lawn in front of his villa, only to find that neither he nor his three friends – also intellectuals and artists – remember anything of the previous night. The memory lapses start to worry them a lot more when they find a man’s corpse in the villa. The film is a mixture of detective and comedy genres, but besides the important goal of entertaining its audience, it also wanted to show the history of the country in a much different perspective than is usual in Poland. It combines the US movie “The Hangover” and the stylization of Guy Ritchie’s films and it received the Audience Award at Warsaw International Film Festival last year.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine the Ukrainian director Iryna Cilyk managed to complete the production of her film STONE.PAPER.GRENADE, which is an adaptation of the autobiographical novel of her husband, writer Artem Čech. In 2020, she received the award as the Best Director of a World Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, where her documentary The Earth Is Blue as an Orange about the war in Donbass was a success. The new film marks her feature debut. Its main character is Timofey, a boy growing up in a provincial Ukrainian town in the 1990s. It is at this time, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, where adults carried their traumas from the past, that he meets Felix, a war veteran who fought in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. The director set herself the task of making a film not only about friendship, but also about the forgiveness of the older generation that comes with growing up and realizing the pitfalls of life as a parent, a grandparent, an adult.

The Hungarian narrative historical film maps the journey of the Hungarian general of Slovak origin Andrej Hadik to Berlin, who in 1757, in the service of Maria Theresa, captured this capital of Prussia at the time with his small hussar regiment. He allegedly lost only 10 men and 4 horses in the process, and the globally used term “hussar stunt” evolved from this event. Directed by János Szikora, the film HADIK is a heroic costume expedition into the history of Europe involving hussar raids or battle scenes.

The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 is still perceived in Hungary as one of the greatest national tragedies. Ádám Tősér‘s docudrama Peace – Over the People (Béke – A nemzetek felett) combines live-action sequences with archival footage and the testimonies of Hungarian and French historians, who keep the interpretation of the sensitive topic of the Hungarian crisis after World War I on the level of objective facts and who try not to take sides in their statements.With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Hungarians lost their leading position among the countries of Europe, and memories of this situation resonate in local politics to this day.

A large group of Austrian men between aged between 16 and 99 audition for a film named after the surname of the main character in the notoriously controversial novel of Josephine Mutzenbacher: The Life Story of a Viennese Whore. The erotic novel was published anonymously in Austria in 1906 and was sold illegally in that country until 1968. However, it is well known among Austrians and has already been brought to the screen by several filmmakers. However, director Ruth Beckermann didn’t really intend it, which the guys at the audition actually didn’t know. So she made a funny documentary about men reading passages of an erotic novel written for women, believing that they were on a casting for a completely different film project.

Yesmin is one of the many Muslim girls who have to live the life of being torn between the tradition that reigns in their households and the modern and fast-changing trends in the streets of Vienna. Yesmin and her friends become viral stars after dressed in hijabs they sang the popular song “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M and posted the video online. Their actions trigger an avalanche of various consequences. The Austrian-Kurdish director Kurdwin Ayub‘s film reflects on questions of identity of traditionalist cultures in the modern Western world and what a person’s origin or place of birth means to them. The actresses and actors in the film SONNE did not have pre-written dialogues, precisely so that the authenticity of the characters who depict the lives of many women with an immigrant past would not disappear from the picture and sound.

The Czech director Olga Dabrowská rewrote the play POHANIA by the tragically deceased Ukrainian author Anna Jablonska into a film script. The play is considered Jablonska’s masterpiece and was also staged at the Slovak National Theatre under the direction of Marian Amsler, who was awarded the DOSKY Prize for the 2012 production. The new film of the same name is an existential drama set among members of an Orthodox Ukrainian family. The conflict arises between loyalty to a dogmatic and disheartening religious tradition and the desire for true love and truth. The ordinary family is shackled by religion, which is not a relief for them in life, but an extra hindrance and leads them to fanaticism. The film will be previewed.

The section mapping mainly genre films from the production of the countries neighbouring Slovakia has been a fixed part of Art Film Fest’s programme offer since 2018 and is a great way to bridge the paradox that a film fan usually has a much better knowledge of Anglo-American production than the production of the neighbouring countries. And it does need to be inferior at all.

More information about the individual films in this section will be posted on the website as well as on the Art Film Fest social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram.

Organisation: ART FILM FEST s.r.o.;

Co-organizers: City of Košice, K13 – Košice cultural centers, ART FILM FEST, n.o., LGM, s.r.o.;

The festival is  financially supported by: Audiovisual Fund and SPP Foundation;
The festival is co-financed by the Košice self-governing region from the Terra Incognita program;

Main advertising partners: CODES Brand House, FORLIVE;

Official vehicles: Auto Gábriel;
Official hotel: Hotel Yasmin;

Advertising partners: construction company Adefex, Jadrová a vyraďovacia spoločnosť, a.s., Oxyworld, U.S. Steel Košice, ANTIK Telecom, BARZZUZ, Cinema Úsmev, Aupark Košice, Fors-stav, R-media, Okno mé lásky;
Official contractor: NOV, ZEBRA, Best Press, SLOVNAFT, Central European Foundation, Cinema Veritas, Kaviareň Slávia;
Main media partners: TV JOJ,, Pravda, Eurotelevision;
Media partners: Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska, Kinosála, JOJ 24, Film Europe, TV spolok LOToS, Rádio KOŠICE, Korzár, Slovenka, Forbes, SITA, TASR, BigMedia, HomeMedia Production,, Košice City Guide,,, Visit Košice, Košice v Skratke;
Partners: JOJ Cinema, Millor – your partner in the field of energy, Airport Košice, Autocont, TelekomCLOUD, ECO Technologies, DELTA OnLine, MIHYRING, KAIFER attorney’s office,  Taper, Brother, GROTTO, CELIMED authorised representative of OMRON, NR-holding, CPK Slovakia, Casa Trade, easylog transport&logistic, Kvety Victor, Faculty of Arts of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics TUKE, Private School of Film Art Industry in Košice