This year, once again, a number of Kristián statuettes will be awarded during the Prague International Film Festival – Febiofest. Czech actress Iva Janžurová will receive one at the festival’s closing ceremony. Moreover, Febiofest will run a special selection of her films. The festival’s new programming concept includes several new sections as well as two competitions.
Iva Janžurová to be honoured for lifetime contribution to cinema
Every year, the Prague IFF – Febiofest bestows the prestigious Kristián award on a number of eminent Czech and international artists for their lifetime contribution to cinema. This year, in connection with the introduction of a new section called Comedy Competition, the festival has decided to honour Iva Janžurová, an actress popular for many comedy roles. Screenings of the films Morgiana, Boarding House for Bachelors and Ene Bene will remind festival viewers of the work of this major figure in Czech film, who has been in front of the camera for almost 60 years.
New programming concept – two competitions
This year the festival’s programme is divided into 14 sections. Main Competition, which presents the most noteworthy auteur works by young filmmakers from around the world, is complemented by a new section, Comedy Competition. It will focus on arthouse-style comedy pictures that are for the most part neglected by festivals. In this way, Febiofest is giving comedies that reflect modern-day realities a prominent place in its programme. The section’s jury is comprised of 33 members – selected film fans who will watch all of the competing works during the festival. The jury’s honorary chair will be an eminent Czech film personality and the section will close with a special screening of The Circus, shown by the festival in tribute to the master of comedy Charlie Chaplin.
Main Competition will offer a selection of debuts by emerging filmmakers, focusing on the themes of human dignity and the power of personality this year. Viewers can look forward to films with heroes facing fundamental life decisions. The section will be, for the first time, evaluated by an expert jury consisting of three leading film professionals: Czech actor and director Jiří Mádl, Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi and acclaimed Canadian director Denis Côté.
Pictures in both competitions will, for the first time, be screened for seven festival nights and each film will be given a special introduction attended by the authors.
Panorama, Generation, Queer Now sections, and the Classics section dedicated to Max Ophüls
Highly popular Febiofest sections have been kept in the programme. These include Panorama (offering new works of leading international filmmakers, or pictures screened at major film festivals across the world) and Generation, which focuses on family screenings for the youngest viewers as well as teenagers. Queer Now has been an integral section since the very inception of the festival; its content is the work of Lucia Kajánková and Jana Čížkovská. Based on its success with viewers in previous years, the Classics section – which is put together by the National Film Archive in cooperation with Febiofest’s programme department – maintains its place in the programme. This year, the section will be dedicated to the retrospective of the work of Max Ophüls. This celebrated German director escaped the Nazis and worked mainly in France and the US, where he made almost 30 films. He is renowned for his innovative approach to film language and his work with sound became a major inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
New sections: Planet Dark, Eastern Delights and Festival Focus on: Busan
The festival’s new artistic director Nikolaj Nikitin focuses mainly on current cinema that, in scope and content, is not available elsewhere to Czech viewers and he is also dedicated to supporting young talents. That is the reason why Febiofest is bringing in new sections, such as Planet Dark (originally the Midnight Circus section centred on dark genres including horror, thriller, true crime and movies with crude humour). Its name stems from the cooperation with the Planet Dark platform which specialises in these genres. The section’s partner is csfd.cz.
The Eastern Delights section has been created by merging the former Centropa and Balkan Echoes sections. It concentrates on a region where the typical absurd humour is mixed with nonsensical behaviour and alcohol-fuelled music and dance, as well as certain loneliness and isolation of individual places and towns, protagonists and characters. The section aims to deliver a report on the current state of local cinematography and to bring works by both major and emerging directors from Eastern Europe and the Balkans to the Czech audience.
Focus on: Busan represents a curated selection of films by exceptional auteurs from the entire Asian continent. Jay Jeon, the director of the most prestigious Asian festival, the Busan IFF, is in charge of the section’s content. Focus on: Busan is intended for, among others, enthusiasts for foreign cultures, stay-at-home travellers and kung fu fighters in training.
Popular sections: Docs, TV Now and Profiles
The popular section Docs – focused solely on documentaries that offer interesting insights into the animal kingdom and the human world, art, sport and also major social issues – is part of the programme again this year. The same goes for TV Now, which is centred on TV series and comes in response to the increasing quality of small-screen production, featuring both domestic and international shows.
Febiofest also always presents a number of profile sections introducing the work of major festival guests, usually recipients of the Kristián award for contribution to Czech and world cinema. Each year this honour goes to one Czech and a number of international personalities. All guests discuss the selection of films directly with Febiofest’s programmers, personally introduce chosen features and take part in audience Q&A.
Girls in Film showcases female directors
In cooperation with the Girls in Film platform, the festival will showcase new works by the emerging generation of female directors. Founded in London by Nikola Vašáková, Girls in Film supports the presentation of female directors and other filmmakers. Via curated events including screenings, lectures and interviews with noteworthy women in the industry, it offers a forum for public presentation and a meeting place, not only for women.
Culinary Cinema with Kalina, Jeřábková and Koráb
In its 27th edition, the festival again includes the Culinary Cinema concept: three special evenings combining film screenings and a themed dinner. The menus have been created by top chefs Mirek Kalina, Tereza Jeřábková and Ondřej Koráb. The screenings of Puzzle, The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution and Le Chocolat de H. will take place from Friday, 20 March to Sunday, 22 March at the CineStar multiplex in Prague’s Smíchov. Afterwards, guests will move to the Delight restaurant at the adjacent hotel Vienna House Andel’s Prague. All screenings begin at 6 pm, with dinner following at 8 pm. TV presenter Jolana Voldánová will host each evening and pianist and singer Václav Tobrman will create a pleasant ambience. The guarantor of the evenings will be the concept’s original creator, former Berlin IFF director Dieter Kosslick. Culinary Cinema’s main partner is Potten & Pannen – Staněk group and its Gourmet Academy.
Traditional You’re the Filmmaker competition already running
The amateur shorts competition You’re the Filmmaker is already underway and has a deadline on 21 February. Both individuals and school teams can submit films of one to five minutes. The theme of the competition’s seventh edition is a major issue at present: the environment, climate change and its impact on our surroundings. The first three places in each category come with a financial reward and the competition terms can be found on the festival’s website. This section’s media partner is Totalfilm.cz.
As every year, viewers can purchase festival passes for three, five or nine days with which they get access to available tickets. Pre-sale of passes begins on 5 February. Once again, they will provide a number of advantages. Online tickets will be available from 4 March. For more info, check out the festival’s website www.febiofest.cz.
The main part of the festival takes place in the 12 screening halls of the CineStar Praha Anděl cinema. Other films and the accompanying programme will take place at the NFA Ponrepo cinema and, this year for the first time, at the Edison Filmhub cinema in cooperation with the Film Europe distribution company; these cinemas are also the venues for master classes with filmmakers and some Industry Days events. As always, the opening ceremony of Febiofest will be held at the Municipal House on 19 March. The closing ceremony is at the CineStar Anděl on 27 March.