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Drifting on a tide of film stories during the 21st Festival of Slovenian film

Festivals 2018-09-04
Drifting on a tide of film stories during the 21st Festival of Slovenian film Katja Goljat

The 21st Festival of Slovenian Film will be held in Portorož between 10 and 15 September 2018. As there seems to be no end to new creative endeavours, this year's edition of the Festival of Slovenian film will be one day longer than the previous one. Also, the festival venues have expanded to include the Monfort Exhibition Space as well as Avditorij Portorož. In order for the Festival to reach the widest film audience, a selection of Competition and Panorama films will also be screened in the Komuna Cinema, Ljubljana. As already announced, this year's recipient of Badjura award is screenwriter and director Tugo Štiglic: a tribute to him will comprise three of his youth feature films that have left a lasting mark on the Slovenian cultural sphere. Beginning on the opening day at 6 p.m., photographs and posters will be on display in the White Hall to present and commemorate the creative work of the award recipient.

To introduce today's press conference, Nataša Bučar, Director of the Slovenian Film Centre, a public agency, discussed the importance of the festival for Slovenian cinema and filmmakers. Jelka Stergel, Director of the 21st Festival of Slovenian Film, continued by presenting the programme concept, members of juries and attributes of this year's Slovenian film production. When first announcing the festival, she said, “The major feature of this year's selection of films is the diversity of genres, styles and of the topics explored by filmmakers. In recent years, we might have gotten used to a considerable overlapping of styles in exploring topics that were mostly of social nature, however, the current production features urban stories of distinct genres as well as subtle original personal pieces. The selection of best documentaries also brings a range of genres: a music documentary, a biographical and an autobiographical one, a historical and a war-themed one, etc.” 

Premieres of Versopolis a short film by Jan Cvitkovič, and of My Last Year As a Loser, a feature by Urša Menart, will open the Festival. The Opening Gala will be hosted by Jure Longyka, and after the ceremony, a reception with a concert by Tonja Princess Trio will be held in the Timber Hall of Monfort Exhibition Space.

This year's Festival of Slovenian Film will again be supplemented with events for film professionals, whose contents will undoubtedly be of interest to the general public as well. Industry events will be held over four days, from Wednesday 12 September to Saturday 15 September. Special emphasis will be placed on the second in the series of co-production meetings. Organised in cooperation with Film Center Serbia, the event will feature pitches of Slovenian works in progress that show interest in seeking co-producers from Serbia. MAIA Workshop, an international training programme for emerging producers, will also visit Portorož during the Festival. As part of the Festival's Industry Events, Daniel Díaz, MAIA Workshop's visiting expert, will be sharing his experience in film and digital marketing in an open seminar.

Tjaša Smrekar, Festival manager, presented the festival in the organisational sense. Films in competition will be screened in the Main Hall of Avditorij Portorož, whereas the Monfort Exhibition Space will be hosting the screenings of the Panorama programme, co-productions, and Tribute section, as well as the daily evening programme with a series of concerts. Admission to all film screenings in the former salt warehouse Monfort will be free, subject to capacity, whereas evening events will be open to visitors with accreditation or a ticket for any festival screening. For all visitors unable to head to Portorož, a selection of 10 documentary films will be screened in the Slovenian capital, in the Komuna cinema. On Sunday 16 September and Monday 17 September, Komuna will also hold screenings of the winning films of the 21st Festival of Slovenian Film.

Over a little less than a week, the main Slovenian film event offers an overview of Slovenian film production, which includes fiction, documentary and animated films of all lengths. The programme, all sections included, is composed of 111 films. The official Competition programme consists of 16 features, 6 medium-length films, 17 shorts, 10 student films and 3 minority co-productions. In total, 154 films were submitted to the festival for consideration by the Programming Board.

“Slovenian cinema has got tremendous drive, which has also been attested by the international activity of our filmmakers. The result is six outstanding co-productions, which includes this year's winner at the Karlovy Vary festival, Winter Flies by Olmo Omerzu, and recipient of two Golden Arenas, for Best Film and Best Director among Croatian minority co-productions, at this year's Pula Film Festival, The Frog by Elmir Jukić. The programme also includes two features made with the help of the Cash Rebate Scheme,” added Jelka Stergel.

To sum up: 52 films will be competing for official festival awards. Special presentations include 11 films made by primary and secondary school students in the Youth Wing section, and an additional section of 9 short children's animations. The Tribute section presents a selection of classics to pay homage to the history of Slovenian cinema. This year, it includes three feature films by Tugo Štiglic, this year's Badjura Award recipient.

Those who have recently left us in the harsh reality of the fleeting earthly existence will be there with us in spirit: Štefka Drolc, Demeter Bitenc, Jernej Šugman, Miki Muster, Gašper Tič.