The opening of the 24th edition of the International Film Festival Prague – Febiofest will take place at the Art Nouveau Municipal House on Thursday, March 23rd. The festival will open with the Czech premiere of the new film by Polish director Agnieszka Holland, Spoor, in which one of the key roles is played by Czech actor Miroslav Krobot. Another special guest at Febiofest will be American cult director Abel Ferrara, who will receive the festival’s Kristián Award for Contribution to World Cinema. The Chairman of the Jury will be the legendary Czech director Juraj Herz, whose works were part of the Czech New Wave and who was made famous by The Cremator and Oil Lamps.
Spoor, a dark detective story set in rural Poland, will be presented at the gala opening in person by the director Agnieszka Holland, screenwriter Štěpán Hulík and others. The picture’s world premiere is taking place at the Berlinale, which selected Holland’s previous film in its main competition. Febiofest is working with the Berlinale for the third year on the Culinary Cinema section, which combines cinema and culinary experiences and will this year take place from March 24th to 26th. Alongside the documentary Noma: My Perfect Storm, which is about the famous Danish restaurant, the programme will feature two other films. Advance ticket sales for this unique section have already begun via the Ticketportal network.
Among the special guests at Febiofest will be cult American director and Bronx native Abel Ferrara, who has been based in Italy in recent years. At the gala opening he will receive the Kristián Award for Contribution to World Cinema. He is famous for provocative pictures, neo-noir genre films set in New York and working with major studios and star actors such as Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi and Gérard Depardieu, whom he cast in the central role in the controversial picture Welcome to New York centred on a sex scandal involving a French politician. Febiofest is presenting a special selection of his films, including the documentary Searching for Padre Pio, the essential Abel Ferrara work Bad Lieutenant, with Harvey Keitel in the main role, and Pasolini, his tribute to an Italian great with a dark past starring Willem Defoe as the director.
This year’s the festival’s programme includes seven films by the previously announced international guest Peter Suschitzky, one of the most famous contemporary cinematographers who will this year also accept the Kristián Award for Contribution to World Cinema. The selection includes the horror film Tale of Tales, starring Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel, and Naked Lunch and Eastern Promises from director David Cronenberg, with whom Suschitzky has been making films since the late 1980s.
Overseen by programme directors Anna Kopecká and Michal Hogenauer, this year’s Febiofest includes a number of new sections. The Central Park section focuses on mainstream films and distribution premieres, including the British film Sing Street about a generational revolt in mid-1980s Ireland by director John Carney, known for the Oscar-winning Once, and Polina, which explores adolescence, ballet and dance and was made by the famous French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, a guest at last year’s Febiofest. The same section features the Slovak-Czech-Hungarian drama Little Harbour by Iveta Grofová, which is being shown in the Generation Kplus section at this year’s Berlinale. For fans of genre cinema the new Night Circus section of midnight movies offers a mix of bizarre comedies, action and gory films, among them Prevenge directed by the well-known UK comedian Alice Lowe. Music lovers can look forward to Hi-Fi Docs, a section devoted to documentaries from across various genres and styles that includes Oasis: Supersonic, which explores the private lives of the band, the film The Man from Mo'Wax, centred on the British music label, and a portrait of the life of rock icon Janis Joplin in Janis. This year the Panorama section will be focused on current trends in festival films. Viewers can look forward to Angela Schanelec’s latest film The Dreamed Path, which was screened at several festivals including Toronto, and Locarno winner The Human Surge, the engrossing feature debut of Argentinean director Eduard Williams, who will personally introduce the film at Febiofest.
Also new in the programme is the Masters section, which presents the latest works by world-renowned directors. Great filmmakers who have shaped and continue to influence contemporary cinema will be represented by two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee's Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, exploring the reality of a dramatic battle in Iraq, and Werner Herzog’s environmental thriller Salt and Fire. The programming of this year’s Febiofest also aims to delight viewers with a fondness for a certain region, be it Asia, the Balkans or Scandinavia, while the New Europe main competition, showcasing 10 promising European debuts, also remains. Roughly 150 films will be screened within the programme.
Applications to join the jury, chaired by Juraj Herz, can be made via the festival’s website until February 28th. Anybody over the age of 15, regardless of educational background, profession or interests, is eligible to become a juror. People can sign up to take part in the “You’re the Filmmaker” competition until February 15th, run in cooperation with Nestlé Czech Republic. The maker of the winning short film on the subject My Day with Kofila will take home CZK 50,000. The main centre of the International Film Festival Prague – Febiofest will be the CineStar Praha – Anděl multiplex cinema. The IFF Prague Febiofest runs from March 23rd to 31st. Festival films will later be shown in 13 cities and towns throughout the Czech Republic, concluding in Zlín on 23 April.