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Art Film Fest 2016: New and Improved

Hot new releases from around the world, an extensive selection of Slovak films and two exemplary new programme sections – all this and more awaits at the 24th Art Film Fest, held in Košice for the first time from 17 to 25 June.

The programme will consist of 13 sections. Brand-new crowd-pleasers will feature in Be2Can Starter – an exclusive showcase of the best films from Venice, Berlin and Cannes – and Variety Art Film Choice – a selection of films about art, curated by film critics from Variety, the internationally esteemed show-business trade journal.

Several titles from Be2Can Starter’s line-up have already been confirmed: Venezuelan From Afar (Desde allá), which earned director Lorenzo Vigas Venice’s Golden Lion, Alexander Sokurov’s latest film Francofonia, and Heart of Dog from American multi-hyphenate artist Laurie Anderson. Two films proposed by Variety critics have also been made known: Brazil’s Nise: The Heart of Madness (Nise: O Coração da Loucura) and Italian biographical drama Antonia.

Some of Art Film Fest’s Blue Angels – the festival’s grand prizes – will go to the winners of the International Competition of Short Films. Filmmakers have shown unprecedented interest in the festival this year, with a record of over 1500 films submitted to the two competitions.

The International Competition of Feature Films also has some surprises up its sleeve, but others can already be revealed: the captivating Columbian film Between Sea and Land, which at the recent Sundance Film Festival received the Special Jury Prize for its two main performances – mother (Vicky Hernández) and son (Manolo Cruz) – as well as the Audience Award in the category World Cinema – Dramatic. The main competition will also include German film 24 Weeks (24 Wochen), which aroused major interest and controversy at the latest Berlinale. The film will likewise be presented as part of Be2Can Starter.

Ever-popular non-competition sections await Art Film Fest fans as well. After last year’s successful debut, Focus: American Indies will return, offering up a sampler of the latest currents in American ultra-independent film. Many such titles have been premiering at prestigious festivals, with the most successful among them presented by major distribution companies. This year’s films will include last year’s grand-prize winner at Sundance: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which has racked up 15 international awards since.

“The city’s authentic historical centre along with its modern, convenient cinema infrastructure, separated by only a few minutes’ walk, create a highly agreeable and organically flexible setting for the biggest film celebration in Slovakia. I imagine that those who still have reservations about the change of location or even expect a fiasco will be surprised – if, of course, they pay Košice a visit during Art Film Fest”, adds Peter Nágel.

The official hotel of Art Film Fest 2016 will be Hotel Yasmin Košice. A vibrant film festival naturally demands a variegated programme of accompanying events, and visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy concerts and leisure activities at venues like Kulturpark, Tabačka and Hlavná ulica, Košice’s high street.