The latest work of internationally respected directors and talented auteurs, current trends in world cinema as well as history-making titles from the past, a range of Slovak films and a varied programme of accompanying events –all this and more awaits visitors at the 25th edition of Slovakia’s most popular film festival: Art Film Fest, held from 16 to 24 June in Košice.
As always, Art Film Fest will be recognizing prominent personages from the film world with the Actor’s Mission Award and Golden Camera, in addition to a new prize: the Festival President’s Award. The award’s first laureate, acting legend and president of the Karlovy Vary IFF Jiří Bartoška, will receive the prize at the AFF opening ceremony. The Actor’s Mission Award will be bestowed upon Czech actor Ondřej Vetchý on 20 June and distinguished Slovak actress and politician Magda Vášáryová at the festival’s closing ceremony.
“Jiří Bartoška won the Actor’s Mission Award in 2001. Now he will be the first to receive the new AFF Festival President’s Award. This is a symbolic gesture, an award from the president of a Slovak festival to the president of a Czech one,” says Art Film Fest’s artistic director, Peter Nágel. “It is also our special way of congratulating him on his 70th birthday.” Fans will have the chance to meet all three winners at the public award ceremonies, held in a new location this year: at the Lower Gate on Košice’s main square.
At this year’s opening ceremony, Art Film Fest’s Golden Camera will go to two film professionals for their major contributions to cinema: Slovak director Dušan Trančík and Czech director Jan Hřebejk.
For its 25th edition, Art Film Fest has a total of 176 pictures in store for audiences. The programme is divided into 19 sections, including tributes to this year’s award winners. 12 films in the International Competition of Feature Films and 36 films in the International Competition of Short Films will vie for Art Film Fest’s grand prizes: the Blue Angels. In both competitions Slovakia is well represented, including brand-new releases screened only days ago at Cannes. “I’m very pleased that we’ve managed to acquire films for both competitions that attracted international attention at the world’s most prestigious film festival. This is the very first time that our main competition includes two Slovak films,” notes Nágel.
The non-competition programme also features award winners from world-class festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Venice, as well as Slovak new releases. And this year festival president Milan Lasica and Košice filmmaker Peter Kerekes have curated their own sections of their favourite films. Another new addition is our first section of children’s films.
The festival features a variety of accompanying events, including concerts in conjunction with film screenings. At Tabačka, Molotov Jukebox, with singer/actress Natalia Tena, will be performing, while Marko Haavisto & Poutahaukat are heading to Košice to accompany films from director Aki Kaurismäki. Masterclasses from respected film figures will also be a part of the programme. Accredited festival guests will have the opportunity to meet both awarded directors, as well as legendary Slovak filmmaker Juraj Jakubisko. Several film-related discussions have been prepared, such as a panel of Slovak film professionals, producers and directors speaking on the topic “Popular Cinema in Slovakia”. Kulturpark will be home to a special child-friendly space with children’s TV station RiK, while style-conscious visitors can look forward to the fashion show Spirit Mlynská.
The festival’s films will be screened at Kunsthalle, Kulturpark, Kino Slovan, Kino Úsmev, Tabačka and the Košice Amphitheatre, while certain accompanying events will also take place on Hlavná Ulica (Košice’s high street) and at the Aupark shopping centre. Like last year, Hotel Yasmin is the official festival hotel.