The 20th edition of the Bratislava International Film Festival will open its doors in less than one month. The days between 29 November and 2 December 2018 will offer a generous selection of quality titles made by the best of young contemporary cinema. The Bratislava city cinemas Lumière and Mladosť will welcome the audience with a pleasant atmosphere and bring innovative perspectives on the world and being in it.
The backbone of the festival is again the Fiction Competition designated for first and second feature films. For example, the audience can look forward to José (2018), the second film by the American director Li Cheng and winner of the Queer Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. José follows the story of a young homosexual man looking for love and emotional fulfilment in the environment of one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world, Guatemala, where the director lived for two years. Li Cheng’s name will resound the festival’s screening rooms for the second time already, as in 2014 he personally visited with his film Joshua Tree.
This year’s East of the West and FEDEORA awards of the International Film Festival Karlovy Vary went to the Russian director Elizaveta Stishova and her distinctive debut Suleiman Mountain (Suleimangora, 2017). Set in Kyrgyzstan, the film follows a bizarre story of a man (a gambler, habitual drinker, brute and cheater, but also a father and a husband of two women) living on the fringe of the society. His semi-nomadic way of life in a van with two wives, one rediscovered son and another – yet unborn one, as well as constant frustration, restlessness, uncertainty, mystique and shamanism create a captivating and engaging drama with elements of comedy and encourage the viewer to think about the numerous unanswered questions it poses.
Next in the Fiction Competition is Blind Spot (Blindsone, 2018), a directorial debut of Tuva Novotny, a Swedish actress and daughter of the Czech director Dávid Ján Novotný. The film was screened and awarded at the 66th San Sebastian International Film Festival. The category will also present Cutterhead (2018) by the Danish filmmaker Rasmus Kloster Bro, combining elements of drama and action thriller, as well as Sofia (2018) by the Moroccan director Meryem Benm’ Barek.
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.
The curators of the section Lexicon: Female gaze, festival programmer Tomáš Hudák and the director of this year’s festival spot Ivana Hucíková, have focused on the status of women in cinema, their portrayal in film, and the uniqueness of a woman’s experience.