Five Juries, 15 Experts, Viewers to Decide on Best Films Competing at Bratislava IFF

Like every year, domestic and foreign experts will sit on five different jury panels to determine the best motion pictures competing at the 18th Bratislava International Film Festival. They will decide on the festival’s official awards in the following three categories: first and second fiction films, first and second documentary films, and short films.

The Competition of Fiction Films will be in the hands of American filmmaker and author Canan Gerede, Czech film historian and scriptwriter Štěpán Hulík and Slovak film theoretician and pedagogue Monika Mikušová.


Canan Gerede has authored several documentary films such as Abidin, Can You Paint a Picture of Happiness? (Abidin, Sen Mutluluğun Resmini Yapabilir misin?, 1988) or Women behind the Veil (Peçenin Ardındaki Kadınlar, 1993). In 1991 her first feature-length film, Robert’s Movie (Robert’in Filmi, 1990), was screened at the Cannes IFF as part of the Critics’ Week. She received the Best Director award for her second feature film, Love Colder than Death (Aşk Ölümden Soğuktur), at the 32nd Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in 1995. Gerede lives and works in Istanbul and Paris.


Štěpán Hulík graduated from the Department of Film Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University and completed his studies of scriptwriting and dramatic art at the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. For his first literary work, Cinema of Oblivion (Kinematografie zapomnění, 2011), which mapped out the condition of Czech cinema during the infamous normalisation period, he won the Magnesia Litera award. As a screenwriter, he debuted with Burning Bush (Hořící keř, 2013), a historical TV mini-series produced by HBO Europe and directed by Agnieszka Holland for which he received the Czech Lion award. He continued his collaboration with HBO Europe this year by writing a screenplay for the eight-part crime mini-series, Wasteland (Pustina).


Monika Mikušová completed her studies of film science at the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and her studies of visual art at Comenius University in Bratislava. Currently she works as script editor of acquisitions for the Slovak Radio and Television and simultaneously lectures at the Department of Audio-Visual Studies of VŠMU. At the same time, she is active in the field of popularising cinema and refining the public perception of it. She has co-authored an electronic textbook for university students, Chapters from the History of World Cinema, and the Kino-Ucho radio cycle. Most recently, she began to work on a film education project for secondary school pedagogues and students while continuing in her activities as a curator and freelance journalist. In the past, she worked as curator at the Central European House of Photography and as visiting lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava.


The best documentary film will be chosen by a panel comprising Pamela Cohn (USA) Viera Čákanyová (Slovakia) and Nenad Puhovski (Croatia).


Pamela Cohn is an American filmmaker, writer and curator currently shuttling between Warsaw, Berlin, and Prizren, Kosovo. Besides working as freelance documentary story consultant, she sits on several selection committees for American and European festivals. Pamela is a regular contributor to the Bomb magazine’s arts blog, the Filmmaker magazine, Senses of Cinema, and The Calvert Journal, among others.


Slovakia is represented by filmmaker Viera Čákanyová who graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where she currently pursues her Doctor’s degree, majoring in scriptwriting, as well as from the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, majoring in documentary filmmaking. Her student films, Under Underground (2006), Piraňa (2007), Alda (2009) and 100 Days (100 dní, 2009) have received several international awards. In her work, she often likes to dwell on the border between different genres, particularly between fiction and documentary; her most recent picture, Letiaci kôň, is an animated documentary. Outside her own projects, Viera also works as script editor and editor for independent film productions and shoots documentary films for non-profit organisations and television.


Director and producer Nenad Puhovski is one of those figures that helped shape modern Croatian documentary film. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and the Academy of Dramatic Art (ADU) of the University of Zagreb. He has directed over 250 productions for stage, film and television, for which he received a number of national and international awards. Currently he works as a professor of documentary directing at ADU where he has taught and mentored young professionals all over the world. In 1997 he founded Factum, an independent documentary production company. Under his management, it has produced over 70 documentary films. In 2005 he founded ZagrebDox, the largest international documentary film festival in the region; he has been its director ever since. Nenad is a member of the European Film Academy.


The winner of the Short Film Competition will be decided by a jury consisting of Úna Feely of Ireland, Noud Heerkens of the Netherlands and Nóra Ružičková of Slovakia.


Úna Feely has been around the film industry for 20 years. She puts together programme sections for several film festivals such as Cork Film Festival or IndieCork Festival she also helped to found. Experimental independent filmmaker Noud Heerkens currently lectures at several art schools in Denmark. In 2009 he made his feature-length debut, Last Conversation, which won Special Mention at Transilvania International Film Festival. Nóra Ružičková is active in the field of visual art and literature. She works as lecturer at the Department of Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava where she heads the Image/Sound/Text and Context studio. In her art projects she uses various means and forms of expression, including text, video, sound installation, collective performance, photography, objects, etc. In recent years she focused particularly on researching institutionalisation and categorisation of art, relations between image and text and the category of dissimilarity.


The picture that will claim the FIPRESCI award will be chosen by an international panel of journalists comprising Andrzej Fogler of Poland, Matúš Kvasnička of Slovakia and Ulrich Wimmeroth of Germany.


A film expert and critic, a cultural sociologist, a specialist in English language and literature, Andrzej Fogler has been working for the Polish section of FIPRESCI for over 25 years. He helps organise and lectures at international conferences, festivals and seminars. He has written two books and over 100 articles and essays on film and audio-visual culture. Fogler has been a jury member at many international film festivals and has sat on international panels that select films for them. He is a regular contributor to various film magazines such as Kino monthly or Magazyn Filmowy as well as to the Polish Filmmakers Association’s film portal. Since 2008 he has worked as co-editor and coordinator of “Best Books on Film”, an international campaign by FIPRESCI.


In 2002, Matúš Kvasnička graduated from the Department of Film and Television of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, majoring in film science. During his studies, he occasionally contributed to various cultural periodicals, for instance the cinema monthly or the Kultúrny život weekly. In 2003 he joined the Pravda daily’s culture desk, which he currently manages.


Born in Cologne, Germany, Ulrich Wimmeroth has worked for over two decades as a journalist and film critic for a multitude of cinema magazines, newspapers and websites such as Kino&Co,, and Throughout his university education in Cologne and Bonn during the 1990s, he specialised on Asian and East European cinema. For his regular columns he does not only review the newest releases from around the world but also likes to dig in the bargain bin for the most obscure findings.


The films vying for the Grand Prix at this year’s edition of the Bratislava IFF will also be assessed by a student jury that will confer an independent prize. Sitting on the student panel will be Norbert Franko, Juraj Mydla and Adam Straka.


All festival-goers are strongly encouraged to vote on the best film on the programme of the 18th BIFF; the winning film will be awarded the Viewers Choice award.

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.