Mini interview: Nenad Dukić

“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.

On various occasions, you have repeatedly stated that choosing the right films depends on their quality. How would you define quality? What are the attributes proving that a film is good or valuable enough?


Question of value is one of most sensitive and difficult matters in aesthetics. That’s why serious art, theatre, literature and film critics try to avoid valuing when analysing certain artefact. However, especially with films and filmmaking, the public are expecting critics to give their opinion – whether a film is a good or a bad one and why.


There are a few parameters crucial for evaluating the quality of a film. The main one is how strong and developed is the film language the director has used in filmmaking. Then comes the visual quality of the film, its storytelling and how successful the director was in directing the actors. All these aspects of a film should be in a good balance so that the film functions as a harmonious whole.


Where and how did you get your tips for this year’s festival and how many films did you see until you decided that these are the right ones for the 20th IFF Bratislava?


The process of selecting films for the programme involves a continuous monitoring of world production of that particular year. Mostly I see them in the programmes of leading film festivals, such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, or Karlovy Vary. Then there are films that producers recommend me to see and consider for the programme and finally, films that are submitted directly to the Bratislava IFF.

I don’t know the exact number, but it must be around 150 films that I saw in order to select eight for the competition.


Seven years ago in one of your interviews you mentioned that the current film production is in a global crisis, that there are no big names or strong movies anywhere. You claimed that before there would be fifteen, maybe twenty films produced every year that strongly influenced the whole cinema. Has your opinion changed or is the situation still so gloomy?


Those “golden days” are gone as there are no more big authors or big film personalities. The days of Fellini, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Bunuel and Bergman are gone and the new names of the 80s and 90s era such as Almodovar, Kaurismäki, Kusturica or Kopola made some very good films, but not movies of such format and such strong author poetics. In recent years there has been a number of films of high quality, the same is true also about this year’s production, but not too many of those films will be seen as adding a big value in the context of film history.

So, unfortunately, things haven’t changed a lot.


I know this must be a very difficult question for the compiler of two of the festivals load-bearing sections, but could you share your tips for the films that the audience should definitely see?


Eight films in this year’s competition program are one possible way of how to see the best debut films in this year’s production. If you extend this list by the Belgium film Girl by Lukas Dhont (the film that we will present in the LUX Prize section), then, in my opinion, you will end up with a very good overview of the best work of young filmmakers today.


Every choice depends on criteria and taste of the festival programmer, but it’s turned out that these films were among the most awarded debut films at this year’s leading festivals.


Films of these eight first-time directors are brave in focusing on problems young people around the world are dealing with today; they are strong in storytelling and very rich in the sense of film language. I think that’s enough reasons to be seen by Bratislava audience, especially young audience.


It wouldn’t be fair and wouldn’t be right that I make a choice among selected films as for all of them there are some special reason why a particular film is in the programme. However, if you insist, don’t miss the Norwegian film Blind Spot by Tuva Novotny and Kyrgyz-Russian film Suleiman Mountain by Elizaveta Stishova from the Fiction Competition and At Eternity’s Gate by Julian Schnabel from the programme of Cinema Now.


Thank you for the interview.

See you in the cinemas!



Anna Kačincová Predmerská

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.

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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).

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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.