Bratislava IFF Will Present Celebrated Hits of Festival Season

Every year, the Cinema Now programme section of the 2016 edition of the Bratislava International Film Festival (BIFF) has an ambition to present the most prominent and progressive motion pictures that have resonated during this year’s festival season. Both The Birth of a Nation and Nocturnal Animals are abundant in masterful acting that promises to send chills down festival-goers’ spines.

 

American actor/director Nate Parker’s feature-length debut, The Birth of a Nation (2016), claimed two main prizes – namely Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize – at this year’s Sundance film festival amidst the ultra-white Oscar season. On top of directing it, he also wrote the screenplay and rendered the main character of Nat Turner, a priest who in 1831 led a rebellion of black slaves in Virginia. A revenge drama, The Birth of a Nation is a tale of righteous and bloody punishment for an unforgivable crime. Like Twelve Years a Slave (2013) by Steve McQueen, it is most powerful when it dwells on the particulars of that crime, on the everyday wickedness of 19th-century slavery.

 

By teaching her son’s childhood playmate and now young slave Nate to read the Bible, the mother of slave-owner Samuel Turner invoked in him a perverse pastoral calling. At first, Nate wanders around the country to preach obedience to his fellow slaves, but as he witnesses their unspeakable torture and deprivation he becomes radicalised and his eloquence, charisma and knowledge of Scripture become the weapons deployed against his oppressors. A strong story with a terrific momentum is further amplified by beautiful imagery and stunning performances. A film that has been mentioned as a potentially strong competitor at upcoming Oscars, The Birth of a Nation will not make it to commercial distribution, which means that the Bratislava IFF gives all cinephiles in Slovakia a unique opportunity to see it on the big screen.

Trailer: THE BIRTH OF A NATION (dir.Nate Parker)

 

A distinguished fashion designer and acclaimed director/scriptwriter, Tom Ford captured attention of film buffs and critics alike already back in 2009 by his directorial debut, Single Man. This year, he comes with a gripping thriller noir, Nocturnal Animals (2016), which snatched Grand Jury Prize from this year’s Venice IFF. When writing the screenplay, Ford said he drew inspiration from Tony and Susan, a nail-biting psychological novel by American author Austin Wright.

 

Susan is a relatively happy and successful woman. When she lays hands on a manuscript of Nocturnal Animals, a new novel written by her ex-husband Edward, she initially views it as pleasant pastime, only if its story was not so unsettling: a happy middle-aged man takes his family to a vacation in New Mexico, which is cut short abruptly by a chance night meeting with three violent men on a deserted Texas highway. While tantalised by the story, Susan experiences uneasy feelings that evolve into extreme physical anxiety. The longer she reads the more she realises that the manuscript is a carefully crafted revenge of her ex-husband for hurting him bad a long time ago. The divorced couple is about to learn the grim truth about themselves. This riveting mysterious drama is also an acting concerto for Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.

Trailer: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (dir.Tom Ford)

 

Like last year, the 18th BIFF will be hosted by three cinemas of Kino Lumière as well as by Kino Mladosť and Kino Nostalgia while Gorila.sk Urban Space will provide room for the festival’s official lounge. Besides pleasant atmosphere, cinemagoers can look forward to special screenings and ample side events of the festival.

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.