Ever since its inception, the Bratislava film festival purposefully strove to develop the identity of a young festival – an event whose mission is to discover new names of contemporary cinema that seem to be well on their way toward becoming future stars of the silver screen. Our triplet of international competitions deliberately directs the spotlight to filmmakers whose feature, documentary and short debuts or second films have managed to impress the world of cinema with a sense of urgency and invention.
Focusing on new talent within the industry that may well become fixed stars of world cinema, the traditional international competition of first and second feature films is rooted in our festival’s ambition to discover fledgling filmmakers at the beginning of their careers and give them space on a prestigious international stage. Our selection of competitive pictures always strives to present a balanced blend of remarkably mature and youthfully radical artworks, which adumbrate the rise of exceptional talent that is worth keeping track of.
The competing films are examined by the Fiction Competition Jury, which bestows the following awards:
Prize for the Best Fiction Film
Prize for the Best Director
Prize for the Best Actress
Prize for the Best Actor
Inventive cinematic language, pressing social issues, real people and stories that leave nobody indifferent – this in a nutshell is our competition of first and second documentary films, which offers cinemagoers an opportunity to get acquainted with contemporary documentary film in its creative variety. Ranging from engaged pictures to bewitching portraits to film essays to artworks bordering on non-fiction and experimental film, our competitive selection strives to paint the reality in broad brushstrokes of available genres year by year.
Competitive films are reviewed by the International Documentary Competition Jury, which decides on the following award:
Prize for the Best Documentary Film
Brevity, pithiness, the art of miniature – the best short films share the rare ability to use the shortest possible timeframe to the absolute full to tell the story and to provoke emotions or notions that continue to evolve within the audience long after they have left the cinema. To some filmmakers, shorts are an important stepping stone at the beginning of their careers; however, there are those who choose the format deliberately because they appreciate its features and are able to capitalise on them. Our competition of short films is dedicated to filmmakers who have learned to enjoy artistic freedom in a seemingly restrainful format.
Competition entries are judged by the Shorts Competition Jury, which decides on the following award:
Prize for the Best Short Film
The Bratislava International Film Festival also gives out special awards, for instance the Award for Artistic Excellence in World Cinema. The list of its past laureates includes Vanessa Redgrave, Jan Tříska, Ulrich Seidl, István Szabó, Juraj Herz, Jan Švankmajer, Zdeněk and Jan Svěrák, Goran Paskaljević, Jiří Krejčík, Bille August and Theodor Pištěk.
Ever since the very first edition of the Bratislava IFF, the winning filmmakers have received glass statuettes from the same manufacturer, namely RONA of Lednické Rovne, a glassworks with a tradition stretching back over a century whose products are exported all over the world. Glass and cinema have intertwined in the company’s history: in 1910, the son of the company’s founder made the first Slovak feature film, The Kidnap, in a local park.
The award has the form of cast, cut, glued and sand-blasted statuettes. It was designed by Rastislav Uličný, Creative Manager of the MUW Saatchi & Saatchi agency, and Mgr. Art. Patrik Illo, an award-winning designer.