Art Film Fest is the oldest international film festival in the Slovak Republic, which profiles itself as one of the most important and most visited cultural and social shows in the country. A characteristic asset of Art Film Fest is the conceptual programme dramaturgy, which presents sections, popular with the audience, as well as new selections with an ambition for originality and inventiveness.
The dominant feature of the programme is the international film competition. This is attended by filmmakers who have made their first, second or third feature film in professional conditions. The chosen criterion provides an optimal space for the presentation of outstanding talents in contemporary cinematography. The main category of feature films also predetermines the awarding of statutory prizes – the Blue Angel for the best film, the best director, actress and actor. The competition is judged by a 5-member international jury, composed of respected representatives of the film professions. The second competition category of short films Art Film Fest presents professional and student films with a maximum length of 30 minutes. It is judged by a 3-member international jury, which will determine the Blue Angel for the best film.
The programme concept of the festival includes an integral section dedicated to the showcase of the Slovak audiovisual environment. The Slovak season offers a representative selection of fiction, documentary, animation and television films – in premieres or screenings, where the titles that have resonated the most in the last 12 months are included. The featured films enjoy great popularity with the festival audience, as they naturally create an authentic space for an immediate and spontaneous reaction between the participating filmmakers and the audience. The programme dramaturgy is made up of profiled sections with the clear intention of covering a wide and diverse range of world cinema. Art Film Fest fulfils the ambition to present contemporary, up-to-date works that are appreciated by the cinematographic world, on the other hand, it also creates a suitable space for profiles and retrospectives of personalities of Slovak and world cinema. Another tradition of Art Film Fest is the commemoration of important cinematographic anniversaries and the awarding of renowned film personalities from the domestic and international scene in the specific sections Actor’s Mission and Golden Camera.
Art Film Fest 2018 – 2023:
In 2016, ART FILM was held for the 3rd time in Košice, where it continued to credit the high quality of its programme. For the first time, the “Neighbours Online” section was included in the programme, offering audience films from Hungary, Austria, Poland and Ukraine, which immediately ranked among the most attended. At the same time, for the first time, the festival expanded within the Košice region and offered screenings to visitors in Spišská Nová Ves as well.
The year 2019 was a period of growth for Art Film Fest, when the number of visitors to the festival increased and other accompanying events were added to the programme in addition to important cinematographic works. At the same time, for the first time, the festival included an Industry programme for film professionals, which was a great success. This time the festival was expanded within the Košice municipality by an event in the village of Kechnec.
The years 2020 and 2022 were marked by the global pandemic of the Covid -19 virus, which was one of the triggers of the economic crisis. The situation was exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which contributed to the economic problems and sidelined culture. This also had an impact on the Art Film Fest, which did not take place for a year and was implemented in a shortened form for one year.
Finally, in 2023, we could bring the festival back to Košice, where 146 film screenings took place in 7 screening venues over the course of 8 days and almost 20 side events (masterclasses, lectures, workshops, panel discussions, baptisms, exhibitions, concerts, etc.) Two competition sections attracted the most attention: the International Feature Film Competition (9 titles from all over the world) and the International Short Film Competition (36 titles from all over the world). In total, we screened 118 films in 10 programme sections, 81 of which were features and 37 shorts. The total number of Slovak films (long and short, including Czechoslovak) was 31 (29/2). The total number of screenings for children was 4. The number of long feature films was 62 and long documentaries 19. Two international juries awarded a total of 5 prizes and 2 special mentions. The Actor’s Mission Award was given to two actresses – Eva Holubová and Zdena Studénková. The Golden Camera Award went to Béla Tarr. Milan Lasica was awarded the Actor’s Mission in Memoriam Award. The total attendance reached 18 379 spectators. Our thanks go to the entire Art Film Fest team, which consisted of up to 100 organizers in various positions during the event – from top to volunteer.
In 2024, the ART FILM IFF celebrates its 30th anniversary. This year it is expanding its programme offer with a new competition section: the International Competition of Films from Central and Eastern Europe. Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Albania, Armenia.