Rising Star of American Independent Cinema to Appear at Bratislava IFF

The Bratislava International Film Festival is proud to welcome Alex Ross Perry, one of the rising stars of American independent cinema. Not only will Mr. Perry personally present all the feature-length films he has made so far but he will also hold a special masterclass during which he intends to share his ideas and experiences with festival-goers. The 18th edition of the Bratislava IFF will take place from November 11 through 17 in Bratislava municipal cinema theatres and movie clubs.

 

A director, writer and occasional actor, Alex Ross Perry is a 32-year-old independent filmmaker who has become known for making small and seemingly inconspicuous films on a shoestring budget that tend to attract cinemagoers who appreciate tight writing. In his motion pictures, critics have detected inspirations by Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach, Roman Polanski or Philip Roth. So far, he scored greatest success with Listen Up Philip (2014) that took Special Jury Prize from the Locarno IFF and Queen of Earth (2015) that gave Elisabeth Moss, a star from the Mad Men series, her best big screen role to date.

Perry made his debut in 2009 by adapting Impolex, a namesake novel by Thomas Pynchon. A comedy with absurd elements tells a story of an American soldier that has been charged with a task to locate and retrieve Nazi V-2 missiles at the end of World War II. His roaming through the forest becomes ever more frustrating, mostly on account of the peculiar characters he keeps meeting on his way.

His first true international success came with The Color Wheel (2011), a screwball comedy full of quick dialogue and black humour. The story revolves around a guy who escorts his sister (played by Perry and Carlen Altman who also co­-wrote the script) to her ex-boyfriend’s place to help her collect her things. What starts out as run-of-the-mill sibling banter leads to discussing family traumas and problems of coming to terms with the past.

Listen Up Philip (2014) was Perry’s first major project, which catapulted him to the limelight after premiering at the prestigious Sundance film festival and earning practically unanimous critical acclaim. It stars talented Jason Schwartzman who plays a narcissistic and misanthropic writer who impatiently awaits publication of his second novel. Meanwhile, he wanders through the streets of New York, arguing with anybody who crosses his path and desperately trying to find some peace of mind until his literary idol comes to the rescue.

So far, Perry’s last film is Queen of Earth, a claustrophobic drama à la Roman Polanski that is pretty much the opposite of his previous film. It takes place in the course of one week in a lake house where Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) comes to visit her girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) in order to get over a break-up with her lover and a death of her father. What ensues is the two women’s escalating struggle for dominance that gradually steers Catherine toward madness.

Despite the success he has had, Alex Ross Perry remains faithful to making modestly-budgeted films largely outside the system. During the upcoming edition of the Bratislava IFF, festival-goers may look forward to meeting Mr. Perry in person and asking him all sorts of questions, for instance what artistic freedom means to him, why he still shoots on conventional film stock or why he is interested in characters that are going through a crisis.

In the course of seven days, the Bratislava IFF will present the crème de la crème of modern cinema as its position late in the international festival calendar predestines it to take stock of the entire season, so to speak. A vast majority of them will mark a Slovak premiere and in many cases the festival is the sole chance to see them since most of these remarkable motion pictures will not make it to commercial distribution. Besides film screenings, festival-goers can look forward to vibrant atmosphere, meetings with stars of contemporary cinema and a manifold multi-genre accompanying programme.

 

The profile section dedicated to American independent filmmaker Alex Ross Perry has been generously supported by the Embassy of the United States of America to the Slovak Republic.

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.