The Slovak Season at Art Film Fest will feature contemporary domestic production

The international film festival Art Film Fest, which will take place in Košice from 16th to 23rd June, will bring dozens of films from four continents to the screens of Košice cinemas and will also feature a significant representation of domestic productions. It is regularly the focus of the popular Slovak Season program section. Its aim is to support and promote Slovak cinematography and to enable domestic filmmakers to present their works to a wider public.

It offers a wide range of Slovak films of various genres, from drama and art films to comedies and documentaries. Visitors to the festival have the opportunity to see the latest films by Slovak directors and appreciate their talent and creative approach. However, the section is not only about presenting the work of Slovak directors, but also offers space for meetings with filmmakers. Audiences have the opportunity to get to know Slovak authors, actors and actresses personally and gain a deeper insight into their work.

The Slovak Season program section is composed of domestic films of 2022 and 2023, while some of the films have won prestigious awards at foreign and domestic festivals, two of them will be previewed at the IFF Art Film Fest.According to the artistic director of the festival and the compiler of the section, Martin Palúch: “Taking into account the fact that Art Film Fest did not take place last year and that cinema attendance has recently undergone a difficult existential test, we have put together a program of this popular section, taking into account the quality of the films and the variety of genres. The selection included not only artistic projects, but also commercially successful titles that have revived the reduced audience following the pandemic. The Slovak Season will thus present truly diverse feature films and documentaries that present the current state of our cinematography.”

An insight into the recent history of Slovak cinematography will be offered by the film of director Marek Kuboš titled ±90. Kuboš, after the success of his feature debut The Last Self-Portrait, reflects on the Slovak documentary scene and three generations of its creators.

Documentary filmmaker Jaro Vojtek uses the film The Shift to tell the life stories of a truck driver, a nanny in Austria and a group of workers who have to travel for hard work on so-called “weekly shifts”. It reflects their dreams and aspirations, as well as the sacrifices they make when their loved ones depend on their income while they are away in foreign cities – in hostels, in strangers’ homes. The Shift will be screened together with the short film We must survive: Fukushima! directed by Tomáš Krupa about the current and future impacts of climate change on our lives.

After the medium-length TV documentary Actor Ivan Palúch (included in the program of Art Film Fest in 2021), he will also present the feature film Countdown – the last film by Ivan Palúch. The author of the theme, screenwriter and director Martin Palúch, decided to tell the life story of his father, Slovak film actor Ivan Palúch, through his films and the characters he portrayed in them.

The two documentaries will be shown in preview. The feature-length debut by Paula Maľárová Territory of Imagination about the shape of war in a time of long-lasting peace was previewed at the prestigious Beldocs Film Festival in Serbia and will have its preview at home in Košice. In the documentary Andy Warhol – The American Dream, director Ľubomír Ján Slivka deals with the figure of the world-famous artist Andy Warhol and his roots, which go back to eastern Slovakia. The film will be released in a Work in Progress version.

In April of this year, the film Piargy directed by Iva Trajková literally dominated the national film awards of Sun in a Net 2022. The historical drama, based on the novel by František Švantner, won 11 awards and after a huge success it is heading to Košice cinemas again.

The films of Mariana Čengel Solčanská The Chambermaid and the film of Beáta Parkanová The Word can also be included in the genre of historical drama. Inspired by Hana Lasicová’s novel of the same name, the cinema hit The Chambermaid tells the intimate but dramatic story of fifteen-year-old Anka, who comes to work as a maid in a Prague villa of a high-ranking Austrian-Hungarian family. Against the backdrop of historical events, a young girl experiences her first burst of love and the bitter aftertaste of the rules of the new world and class differences.

The film The Word takes place in the recent past. It is the story of two spouses who made a promise to each other that they would stand by each other through the good and the bad. However, their surroundings and the difficult times in Czechoslovakia at the end of the 1960s put them to a difficult test.

Three films are set in the present, analysing the diseases and dark sides of today’s society. Michal Blaška’s debut feature film Victim won the national award Sun in a Net for the best feature film. This social drama tells the story of Irina, a Ukrainian immigrant living in the Czech Republic. Her whole life collapses like a house of cards when she learns that her son Igor was brutally attacked. After waking up from anaesthesia, Igor testifies that he was attacked by Roma. Irina’s fight for justice mobilises the whole society.

The theme of power, powerlessness and the influence of political elites is the subject of Mátyás Prikler’s second feature film Power. A hunting accident in which a man dies is the beginning of a story that reveals the hidden machinery of political power and the efforts to maintain it. The film had its world premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Slovak director Petr Bebjak’s ability to shoot successful genre films was also confirmed in the thriller Shadowplaystarring Milan Ondrík. The Shadowplay is characterized by excellent acting performances and a strong atmosphere. Bebjak created a suspenseful and visually impressive film that holds the audience in suspense until the very end. The film, like Power or Victim, deals with themes of corruption, power and justice, and offers a deeper look at social issues.

If after the heavy themes you want to relax with a “lighter genre”, the Slovak Season will also offer viewers the black comedies Invalid and Black on a White Horse. Both films, with a reference background of the wild 1990s, are united by captivating visuals and refined comedic situations. Jonáš Karásek’s film Invalid is set in an unnamed Slovak town in which Laco Hunder lives. He is a maintenance worker in a museum who takes pride in his work, but due to his choleric nature finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Director Rasťo Boroš, after the road movie Stanko, submerged into the realms of southern Slovakia and filmed a romantic gangster movie from Novohrad and Malohont, a no man’s land, lost in time.
There is something for everyone in the popular section of the festival. The dramaturgical selection is colourful and offers a wide range of genres and themes that reflect the past and present of our society in different ways and approaches.

Martin Palúch, the artistic director of the festival, also adds that Slovak films will also appear in other program sections during the festival. “The Love & Anarchy section also features Notes from Eremocene by Viera Čákanyová and the Hungarian-Slovak film White Plastic Sky directed by Tibor Bánóczki together with Sarolta Szabó is included in the International Competition of Feature Films.” The domestic production is also represented in the International Short Film Competition (Our Daily Bread and Strigov) and the Panorama section (Czechoslovak Fairy Tale).

Additional information about the films is available at

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

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

The festival was 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, Lucka spring water;

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 contractors: NOV, ZEBRA, Best Press, SLOVNAFT, Central European Foundation, Spoločnosť pre skladovanie, a.s., DKC Veritas, Slávia Café, Tabačka Kulturfabrik, Ohnisko – Fire Dining & Brew Bar, Pub u Kohúta, El Nacional, Café de Paris, Maiko Sushi, DOMOS Slovakia, Pilsner Urquell, Macarons; Official wine: Kubbo Select and Ostrožovič;

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 energy sector, Košice Airport, Autocont, TelekomCLOUD, ECO Technologies, DELTA OnLine, MIHYRING, KAIFER law firm, Taper, Brother, GROTTO, CELIMED authorized OMRON representation, NR-holding, CPK Slovakia, Casa Trade – Casablanca cafe, easylog transport&logistic, Flowers Victor, Slovak Film Institute, Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics TUKE, Private Secondary Art School in Košice, Košice Transport Company, Tesco Stores SK, DEMI sport, CANON, SPI International, Arténa audiovisual workshop by RTVS, Creative Europe, KPK Reklama, HAIR FACTORY Košice

Festival restaurants and bars: JAZZ Club Café Restaurant, Hostinec Brewery, Papa Café, Camelot Restaurant, Veritas Café