This year again national as well as foreign film professionals will meet in the jury seats of the Bratislava International Film Festival to decide about its winners. The films will compete in three categories – the first and second feature films, first and second documentaries and short films.
This year’s Fiction Competition will be led by the internationally acclaimed actor and director Jean-Marc Barr, the Serbian film director and screenwriter Bojan Vuletić and the producer of the film Little Harbour Katarína Krnáčová. As an actor Jean-Marc Barr rose to fame in the role of the free-diver Jacques Mayol in the cult French classic The Big Blue (Le grand bleu, 1988). Later on Barr started cooperating with Lars von Trier on films such as Europa (1991), Breaking the Waves (1996), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Dogville (2004) or Nymph()maniac (2013). At the turn of May and June, he visited Slovakia to star in a predominantly Slovak co-production, The Cellar (Pivnica), Together with Pascal Arnold, screenwriter and co-director of most of his works, he has directed several films influenced by the radical filmmaking style of the Dogme 95 movement – Lovers (1999), Too Much Flesh (2000), Being Light (2001), One Two Another (Chacun sa nuit, 2006), American Translation (2011) and Sexual Chronicles of a French Family (Chroniques sexuelles d’une famille d’aujourd’hui, 2012).
Bojan Vuletić is one of the most promising young Serbian directors and screenwriters. His first feature film, Practical guide to Belgrade With Singing and Crying (Praktični kroz Beograd driver is pevanjem i plakanjem, 2011) also appeared at Bratislava IFF and won a number of national and international awards including FEDORA at the film festival in Pula, and the FIPRESCI Award at the Cinema City Film Festival. His second feature film Requiem for Mrs. J. (Rekvijem za gospođu J., 2017) had its world premiere at Berlinale and won the FIPRESCI Award at the Sofia International Film Festival, Grand Prix at goEast Wiesbaden FF and Ontrato FF. This film will also inaugurate the 19th edition of the Bratislava IFF.
Completing the trio of judges is a Slovak producer Katarina Krnáčová, who worked on the film Fine, Thanks (Ďakujem, dobre, 2013) or the omnibus film Slovakia 2.0 (Slovensko 2.0, 2014). Katarína also collaborated on My Dog Killer (Môj pes Killer), which won the main prize at the Rotterdam IFF. She produced the film Little Harbour (Piata loď, 2017), directed by Iveta Grófová, which received the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Generation Kplus section at Berlinale 2017. She’s currently developing and pre-producing two fiction films and one mini-series for television, all being international co-productions.
The best documentary will be selected by Petra Seliškar, Ondrej Starinský and Vincent Dieutre. Petra Seliškar is an acclaimed Slovenian director, producer, lecturer, festival director and dramaturge. She studied documentary directing at Amsterdam Film Academy. In the course of her career, Petra shot three feature-length documentary films – The Grandmothers of revolution (Babice revolucije, 2006), Mother Europe (Mama Europa, 2013) and My world is upside down (Moj Narobe Svet, 2016). In 2003 she founded her own production company Petra Pan film and in April 2010 Petra was appointed Artistic Director and programmer of the Makedox Creative Documentary Film Festival in Macedonia.
Slovakia will be represented by the programme and production manager, dramaturge and editor Ondrej Starinský. In 2005 he graduated from the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. Until 2014 Ondrej worked in the Open Society Foundation as a coordinator of its Journalism Award and later as its media programme manager. For some time, he was a fundraiser at Petit Academy Foundation. Since 2008 Ondrej has worked as an executive director as well as a programme and production coordinator for several film festivals and events. Occasionally he writes about film and engages in fundraising. He’s currently working as a head of the documentary and educational department at Radio and Television of Slovakia.
Vincent Dieutre is a French film director, screenwriter, theorist and teacher. As a director he destroys the boundaries between the documentary and fiction films, and belongs among internationally successful and award winning filmmakers. His film Tenebrae Lessons (Leçons de tenebre, 2000) won the Jury Award at the Marseille Festival of Documentary Film, the film Bonne Nouvelle (2001) received the Jury Special Mention at Locarno and Jaurès (2012), which also appeared in the programme of the Bratislava IFF, won the Teddy Jury Award at Berlinale.
The best short film will be decided by the jury duo of Diana Dąbrowska, Alexei Dmitriev and András Cséfalvay. Alexei Dmitriev is a Russian experimental filmmaker and curator. His films were screened at various international film festivals including Tribeca, Tampere or L’alternativa in Barcelona. As a curator, he worked at the Vienna Independent Shorts Film Festival or the Directors Lounge in Berlin. He is a member of the selection board at Punto de Vista Film Festival in Pamplona, Spain. András Cséfalvay is a visual and conceptual artist, musician, director and actor. In his works, András is interested in alternative forms of storytelling that give voice to the animal, cultural, human and object subjects. He studied at the Academy of Fine Art and Design in Bratislava and is a holder of the Oskár Čepan Award for Young Visual Artists. His works have been exhibited all around Europe and are part of the collections of the Slovak National Gallery and Malmö Konstmuseum. He works with a wide range of media.
The winner of the FIPRESCI Award will be decided by the journalists Aksel Kielland, Martin Černický and Evgeny Mayzel. Aksel Kielland is a Norwegian film and television critic who reviews theatrical films for Dagbladet, one of the major newspapers in Norway and covers film and television issues for the weekly newspaper Morgenbladet. For the past ten years he has worked as the catalogue editor and associated programmer for the Bergen International Film Festival. Martin Černický is a Slovak film critic. He studied management and currently works as an editor for the popular online film review platforms filmpress.sk a moviemania.sk. Evgeny Mayzel is a Russian writer, film critic, teacher, lecturer at cinema schools and the chief-editor of kinoart.ru, the online version of Iskusstvo Kino (Film Art), which is the sole academic independent monthly magazine in the country.
The festival audience will also have a chance to vote for their favourite films. The sum of their votes will decide the winner of the Audience Award.