17th Bratislava Film Festival Warms Up in Topical and Spectacular Fashion

Even before this year’s festival officially opened its gates, Kino Mladosť screened the first festival film, Mediterranea, a feature-length debut by young Italian-American director Jonas Carpignano that tells a story of two migrants’ perilous voyage from the shores of Africa to Southern Italy.


The author approached the topic from the perspective of migrants, turning anonymous numbers from news reports into actual youngsters in flesh, with positive and negative qualities, past commitments as well as future hopes and expectations.


The two leading characters of Ayiva and Abas represent two different types of migrants; while the former is determined to make it against all odds and does not lose hope and optimism, the latter adopts a negative attitude to his new life and refuses to assimilate.


The picture has a realistic, almost documentary feel to it, often shot with a hand-held camera, which is why many shots are out-of-focus, chaotic and dark. But that does not detract from its atmosphere; quite the contrary as the documentary cinema language merely supports the impression of authenticity. The casting is equally important as the vast majority of protagonists are actually non-actors who basically play themselves. As a result, the picture’s soundtrack displays an interesting Babylon of languages and dialects. Director Carpignano has pointed out that one of his crucial tasks as director was to create a pleasant atmosphere on the set to make the (non-)actors act naturally and use their native languages spontaneously.


In telling his story, Carpignano is far from sharing superficial wisdom or giving advice on how to face the ongoing migration crisis. Instead, he offers a sensitive insight into one of thousands possible migrant stories, trying to restore the human dimension of dehumanised statistics. In little over 100 minutes, he manages to encourage the viewer to reflect on the situation, thoughts, motives and emotions of African migrants.


In response to the extremely topical issue of migration, the motion picture was simultaneously screened in Bratislava and six other towns around Europe; immediately after the projection, there was a live Q & A session with the director that was streamed from the Bozar cinema in Brussels to all participating cinemas.


Mediterranea will screen again on Saturday, November 14, at 13.15 in Kino Lumière.


By Pavla Rachelová

Dear film fans and supporters of the art of cinema, dear festival visitors, colleagues and friends, With great regret, we must report that the Bratislava International Film Festival will not be held in 2019. Believe us, we were the last ones to want to make this decision, but at the same time, we wanted to
be the first to announce it.

Based on votes cast by the visitors, the Bratislava IFF Viewers’ Choice Award went to Wanuri Kahiu’s second feature film Rafiki (2018) about forbidden love in Kenya.

Awards of the 20th Bratislava IFF 2018

“If you’re lucky enough to make living of something you really love, there is a downside – you don’t do it for fun, it’s a job.”


Tomáš Hudák. He studied Film studies (criticism) at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (VŠMU). He’s a fan of film, music, literature and the art as such. He’s a freelancer, writing film reviews and co-organizing several Slovakian film festivals.

“It’s nice to step out from the bubble of social networks – the binary world of likes/unlikes to be part of the group of totally different people, who are connected only by the skateboards.”


Šimon Šafránek. – director, journalist, DJ – multi-genre artist with the sensation of music and word. He’s a freelancer, writing for the Denník N, Hospodářské noviny, Reflex, Magnus etc.

“Films make us better, braver, more romantic and free”


Bibiana Ondrejková. A popular theatre and voice actress and presenter. The general public knows her as the Slovak voice of Phoebe Buffay from the TV show Friends. Upon seeing her, viewers will associate her with the Slovak TV series The Defenders (2014), Red Widow (2014), Homicide Old Town (2010) or Block of Flats (2008).

“Actors infuse film with emotion and give it a soul”

Daniel Rihák. A fresh graduate of film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava under the leadership of prof. Martin Šulík. A director of (so far) student films and a number of commercials. His graduation film The Trip recently won the Best Director and Best Sound awards at the Áčko Student Film Festival.

“All women have the power to change things”


Ivana Hucíková belongs to the generation of young Slovak filmmakers. She studied at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, from which she graduated in 2015 with her film Mothers and Daughters. A Bratislava citizen from Orava, living and creating in Slovakia and the USA. So far, she has made several short documentary films: Into My Life (2018), Connie & Corey (2017) and is currently working on the development of several film projects as their director, producer or editor.

“Cinema is a great medium for sharing common European values”


Dominika Jarečná was born in 1999 in Bratislava. She currently studies Theory and History of Arts at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno (Czech Republic). She was a member of the Giornate degli Autori jury at this year’s Venice IFF and is a LUX Prize ambassador for the years 2018 and 2019.

Film festival: “It’s a bit like a vacation full of stories”

Alena Sabuchová is a young Slovak author and screenwriter. For her debut collection of short stories Back rooms, Alena was awarded the Ivan Krasko Prize for the best Slovak-language debut as well as the Tatra banka Foundation Young Artist Award in the category of literature. She writes scripts for television and radio, and is currently working on her second book, which will be published next year.

“These films were among the most awarded debut films at this year’s leading festivals”


Nenad Dukić. Serbian film critic, who has been collaborating with the team of people preparing The Bratislava International Film Festival for 8 years now. This year (the 20th anniversary of the festival’s existence), he is again the compiler of the Fiction Competition and co-compiler of the section Cinema Now.

The popular section Cinema Now brings an overview of the most remarkable films of the season. Its curators, Nenad Dukid and Tomáš Hudák, have assembled the most interesting movies that have stirred the waters of world’s major festivals. For 20 years, the Bratislava IFF has been supplying the Slovak film public with names, which often become stars of the screen.