INTERNATIONAL PRAGUE FILM FESTIVAL 2009: European competition, world-known guests:
WIM WENDERS, MIKE LEIGH,
THOMAS VINTERBERG and others!
The IFF Prague - Febiofest has invited an exclusive composition of guests for this year's Febiofest:
apart from WIM WENDERS, as the guest of the opening night, we may look forward to welcoming many other filmmakers:
for instance, the Danish director Thomas Vinterberg is coming to introduce his „Celebration" as well as his new film „A Man Comes Home", an untraditional love story about returning to one's hometown.
The key figure of the Iranian new wave, presently working in the USA, Amir Naderi, is to introduce all his films made during his American exile, including the latest of his films „Vegas: Based on True Story";
„Slovak Sunday" of the festival shall remember the face of The Divine Emma by Božidara Turzonovová and will also bring out an interesting premiere of a new Slovak film.
Moreover, the Febiofest will introduce a Chilean-Italian filmmaker Marc Bechis through his new, thoroughly impressive, and authentic drama „Birdwatchers" about the sad lot of the native inhabitants of rain forests.
The closing night of this year's festival will be topped by the presence of one of the greatest directorial individualities of the British film, Mr. MIKE LEIGH , who is to introduce his latest film „Happy-Go-Lucky" (which received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Sally Hawkins in the main role).
F E B I O F E S T M A I N A W A R D C O M P E T I T I O N :
In the second year of the competition, 14 young European films will encounter to compete for the Febiofest Main Award. The winner will be again appointed by the jury of 33 members, composed to represent a sociologic sample of the citizens of the Czech Republic, selected out of hundreds of applicants.
F E B I O F E S T D A T E S :
26th March - 3rd April / P R A G U E
VILLAGE CINEMAS ANDĚL, PONREPO,
SHOPPING CENTRE ČERNÝ MOST
ECHOES OF THE FEBIOFEST IN CZECH REGIONS and IN SLOVAKIA :
6.- 10. 4. / BRNO - Scala Cinema, Art Cinema - Great hall / 7. - 10. 4. / OLOMOUC - Metropol Cinema / 8. - 10. 4. / OSTRAVA - Art Cinema, Cultural Centre of the City of Ostrava / 9. - 13. 4. / PARDUBICE - Cinema City / 14. - 17. 4. / LIBEREC - Lípa Cinema, Townhall Cellar /
15 .4 - 17. 4. / HRADEC KRALOVÉ - Cinema Centrál / 16.- 19. 4. / ČESKÉ BUDĚJOVICE - Kotva Cinema / 17. - 19. 4. / JIHLAVA - Dukla Cinema /
SLOVAKIA (8 major towns) : 30. 3. - 30. 4. 2009
A D V A N C E T I C K E T S A L E :
The advance ticket sale will break up at the Village Cinemas Anděl on Wednesday, 18th March at 13:00 o'clock, (in the period from 18th to 25th March, the ticket offices will be open from 13:00 - 22:30 p.m., during the festival days, i.e. from 26th March, the opening hours will be broader: from 10:00 a.m. to 24:00 p.m.
Beginning on Friday, 13th March, the official website of the festival http://www.febiofest.cz/ will dispose of the full programme, including the film catalogue. From the day of the beginning of the advance ticket sale, the audiences will have at their disposal the programme brochure at the ticket offices of the multiplex Village Cinemas Anděl as well.
J I N G L E T H E M E OF 16. Y E A R OF THE F E B I O F E S T :
The main jingle theme of the festival has been elaborated yet again by Noro Držiak and his "Tobogang" team - (the jingle theme is available for download in the Downloads section on the website of the festival; it can also be viewed on the festival YOUTUBE channel and in the Festival Facebook.)
G U E S T S :
This year's Febiofest is ready to welcome (apart from the traditional Cinema of Stars) an extraordinary set of guests. Some of the names that pile up to the so far confirmed Wim Wenders (who decided to arrive by train!) are introduced in more detail below:
Thomas Vinterberg graduated from Denmark's national film school in 1993 with the short film Last Round, which captivated critics and audiences alike and even won a student Oscar nomination. He put the Dogme 95 Manifesto, which he co-authored, into practice in his feature-length debut The Biggest Heroes (1996), and went on to implement it in his movie about family secrets, The Celebration (1998), which won the jury prize at Cannes, as well as a host of other awards. Vinterberg is co-owner of the production company Nimbus Films, and his movies are regularly distributed Czech Republic.
Iranian-born director and screenwriter Amir Naderi is among the New Iranian Cinema's most distinct personalities. He came into the international spotlight with the now classic works The Runner (1984, release 1989) and Water, Wind, Sand (1985, release 1989), which focused on illustrating the misery of people living on the fringe of society. After some of his works were banned in Iran, Naderi immigrated to the United States. His stories are told at a rather slow pace and minimal dialogue, but with great visual effect and a sophisticated, idiomatic composition.
Born in Chile, living in Italy, director Marco Bechis debuted with his feature Fenced In (1991), which followed Argentinean cinema's contemplative tradition. He made his second film, Garage Olimpo (1999), based on personal experience from being imprisoned for ten years in a police torture chamber. In Sons and Daughters (2001), he showed the impact of dictatorship on the individual and society in the new millennium. With his fourth film, Birdwatchers, he diverted from reflecting on Argentina's history and made a story about the miserable lot of one Indian community.
Božidara Turzonovová has portrayed roles in almost 30 feature films, and, at this year's Febiofest, you have a chance to see her in four of the most outstanding: first, in two historical roles - as the opera singer and Czechoslovak patriot Ema Destinnová in the dramatic fantasy The Divine Emma by Jiří Krejčík and as the novelist Karolina Světlá in The Story of Love and Honour by Otakar Vávra; next, in the role of art restorer Eva, a sensitive observer of village life in a modern version of an ancient drama, Penelope by Štefan Uher; and lastly, in a totally different light, excelling in the espionage sci-fi Operation Bororo from Otakar Fuka, where she portrayed a beautiful extraterrestrial. The films vary in genre, subject matter, and even in the director's approach to Turzonovová, a natural acting talent. The said roles brought this Slovak actress critical acclaim and well-earned popularity with audiences throughout Czechoslovakia. She was voted best actress three times by the readers of Film a doba (1977, 1979, 1984).
French filmmaking pair Benoît Delépine a Gustave Kervern met nearly ten years ago working on a mini-series called Toc Toc Toc. In 2004, the two decided to shoot their feature debut, the invalid road-movie lampoon, Aaltra, influenced by the work of Aki Kaursmäki. The critical and public success of this film was followed by Avida, an ode to Salvador Dalí in the form of a film mosaic, which appeared in the official selection at Cannes IFF. Their most recent feature, Louise-Michel, an ironic "anarcho-agitprop" flick, was screened at a special showing at Christmas of last year.
One of British cinema's biggest directing personalities, Mike Leigh is noted for his unorthodox pre-production practices - no screenplay or months of rehearsals - and the unique poetics of "extraordinary everyday life," which, after the drama Naked (1993), he crafted to mastery in Secrets & Lies (1995). That earned him a Golden Palm in Cannes. Leigh has been nominated for seven Oscars, most recently for Happy-Go-Lucky this year. So far he has always walked away empty-handed. Perhaps the Academy members were rubbed wrong by his remark that if he had to choose between Hollywood and needles in his eye, he'd choose needles.
F E B I O F E S T M A I N A W A R D: I N T E R N A T I O N A L
C O M P E T I T I O N OF Y O U N G E U R O P E A N F I L M :
The official website of the festival http://www.febiofest.cz/ is the place where to submit the applications for the festival jury, which is to decide to which - out of 14 competing films - the Main Award will go. (Last year, the winning film was the Estonian „Magnus", which is to be officially distributed in our country this year, in cooperation with the Association of Czech Film Clubs).
The applications for the festival jury are going to be accepted until Monday, 10th March.
The jury will consists of 33 members, selected in order to best represent the Czech audiences. Anyone interested may apply; with the only condition of minimum 15 years of age; the maximum age is not limited.
The majority of the competing films is characterised by the fact that their authors do not perceive the world through rose-coloured glasses; on the contrary, they are rather interested in the dark side of the world.
That is exactly the case of the films Better Things (directed by Duane Hopkins, Great Britain) and Nowhere Man (dir. Patrice Toye, Belgium). Both, tragic and also the more cheerful points of life are portrayed in the Turkish film Summer Book (Seyfi Teoman). Snow (by Aida Begić) from Bosnia and Herzegovina was nominated for the European Film Award for the best debut film.
Even the films narrating about unoptimistic aspects of life are not short of a certain lightened air; as it is in case of the Finnish film Thomas (Miika Soini), Russian Shultes (directed by Bakur Bakuradze), or Norwegian Cold Lunch (dir. by Eva Sørhaug). The authors of the Swedish portrait of an eternal outsider The King of Ping Pong (Jens Jonsson) or the Romanian debut Hooked (Adrian Sitaru) apply humour even more sarcastic.
Some films will be brought by the guests themselves: that is the case of the Polish film The Offsiders, which will be introduced by the daughter of the directors Agnieszka Holland and Laco Adamik, and co-director of the soon-to-be-finished film The True Story of Janosik and Uhocik, Kasia Adamik. The point of departure of her film is a fact that a group of homeless people get enthusiastic over the upcoming football championship that is meant exactly for them, people living on the street.
Also Johan Melin is going to introduce his debut - a mosaic film made with one shot without editing (!). Preludium traces the intersecting fates of several people. Ruth has been already for two years searching for Milovan, who mysteriously disappeared. Eva abandons her husband Lars who runs workshops, during which he gives advice to others on how to live...
NEW INTERNATIONAL RELEASES :
Among the expected hits in the section Made In USA, we may particularly name the drama The Reader. A story of settling accounts with the Nazi past was made on the basis of the famous book by the German writer Bernhard Schlink. The film was shot by the British director Stephen Daldry who astounded the audiences by his film The Hours in 2002.
The talent without limits of the "screenwriting maniac" Charlie Kaufman is depicted in the new film Synecdoche, New York, which proves that the elite screenwriter has also turned into an elite director. (Synecdoche features Philip Seymour Hoffman in the main role.)
The main character of another noteworthy American film The Visitor is an elderly intellectual whose routine existence accidentally crosses with the toil of a couple of immigrants. The burnt-out professor who has not been interested in his surroundings so far discovers, thanks to them, new life perspectives he would never dream of before. And the hero of Eastwood's latest film Gran Torino in many aspects resembles professor Vale...
The high points of the section Panorama of World Film will include the British film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by Marc Herman and the French film The Other, in which Dominique Blanc excelled in the role of a woman whose jealousy drives her to the brink of madness, for which she was awarded at the IFF in Venice.
Also the German film The Baader Meinhof Komplex by the director Uli Edel, covering the thorny theme of German terrorist organisation RAF in the 1970s, aroused much attention.
One of the greatest discoveries of the last year no doubt is the film Tulpan shot by the documentarist Sergei Dvortsevoy, which was nominated for the European Film Award in the best debut category.
The Belgian-French film JCVD will surely become a great hit of this section. The title initials stand for the name of the famed Jean-Claude Van Damme who shows that he is able to make fun of his own image.
P R O J E C T I O N S O U T S I D E THE C I N E M A :
As usual, also this year's festival will feature the projections outside the cinema halls (for the first time, the video-room was installed in 2000 at the Prague Main Train Station; this year's section is thus the tenth in the row!). This year's projections will guest in the Shopping Centre Černý Most featuring style films from the collection The World of Shops. The selection includes Slavínský's protectorate classic Golden Bottom starring Vlasta Burian, Forman's feature film debut Black Peter, Prefab Story by Věra Chytilová, Bony a klid or the mystification Czech Dream, supposed to open the section. Nine foreign films will take us for instance to the jeweller' (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead), confectioner's (Chocolat), music shop (Once), arms shop (Falling Down), or toyshop (The Toy)... The key scenes of Tarantino's gangster film Jackie Brown are situated in a shopping centre. "The selection of films about shops and shopping centres focuses on showing that even films of great quality are often based on simple ideas transformed into sharp formulations," summarises the programme director Jan Foll.
The admission to the projections within this section (two screenings a day) is - as usually - free.
A C C O M P A N Y I N G P R O G R A M M E :
F E B I O F E S T M U S I C F E S T I V A L
Febiofest Music Festival will please the festival audiences during the period from 27th March to 3rd April, bringing 3 concerts every night on the Main Stage in the underground garages of the Prague festival centre at Village Cinemas, and 2 concerts on the Small Stage in the Pizza Restaurant Mediterane" (next to the main entrance to Village Cinemas). The Main Stage in the underground garages will introduce the usual 24 music groups spanning across world music, ska, reggae, to progressive music projects. The audience will have a chance to hear Gipsy.cz, Fast Food Orchestra, Terne Čhave, Sunflower Caravan, and many others. "This year, we have primarily focused on addressing groups that have never appeared in the Febiofest so far," says Jiří Březina, director of the Main Stage programme. "That is exactly the case of Prague Ska Conspiracy, Sly Rabbits or Airfare."
The Small Stage will accommodate more intimate performances of 16 smaller music formations.
Altogether 40 concerts are scheduled, as usually, to take place from Friday to Friday (27th March - 4th April) every day at 18.00, 20.00 and 22.00 in the underground garages and at 19.00 a 21.00 hours at the Small Stage in the Pizza restaurant "Mediterane". The admission is also usual - free of charge!
TV ECHOES OF THE FEBIOFEST:
Public service Czech Television refused, without giving any particular reason, to continue to be the media partner (the decision had been taken before any negotiations could take place) even though the official promotional materials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, published in relation to this year's Czech presidency in the EU, IFF Prague - Febiofest is listed among three most significant cultural events of the Czech presidency (next to Prague Spring Festival, and IFF in Karlovy Vary).
Therefore, this year's Febiofest will co-operate with new digital TV stations: BARRANDOV TV and Z1.
Both TV stations, apart from the usual promotion of the festival, will put on over the weekend 21st - 22nd March the documentary montage about the past year of the festival "Looking Back at Febiofest 2008" directed by Linda Jablonská, and the documentary by the same author "Such was Febiofest 2009" will be put on during Easter holidays.
During the course of the festival, Barrandov TV will put on a daily festival newscast; and also the coverage of Z1 will devote the same regular attention to the festival events over its course.
The daily newspaper Lidové noviny will encompass from Thursday, 26th March to Saturday, 4th April the festival daily "Echo of the Febiofest" and Radio Impuls will be broadcasting regular radio "Febioimpulses".
SCULPTURE EXHIBITION AT THE PIAZETTA :
Also during this year's festival days, the square in front of Village Cinemas (called "piazetta") will turn into a sculpture exhibition; this time, the sculptures come from the young promising artists from the Technical College of Stone Cutting and Sculpture in Hořice.
During almost 125 years of its existence, the school brought up many famous sculptors like for instance Jan Štursa, Quido Kocián, Vladimír Preclík, or Kurt Gebauer.
The visitors of this year's Febiofest will have the opportunity to get acquainted during their walk around the square with ten best-marked sculpture works of present-day students.
FESTIVAL FUNDING :
This year's festival is being born under the difficult financial conditions brought up by the world-wide financial crisis.
Febiofest 2009 has received most significant support from the State Fund for the Support of Cinematography, and, as traditionally, from the City Quarter of Prague 5.
So far, there has not been any state grant provided from the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic; up to these days, no grant has been allotted to the event by Prague City Hall even though the Febiofest represents the biggest film festival in its history and since last year, it has born even the name of the Capital (last year, the support from Prague City Hall was reduced by one third!).
Despite the "financial crisis" affecting the sponsors and partners of the festival, due to which the organisers of the festival are forced to work with the lowest budget in the last 5 years (approximately 2/3 of the last year's budget), the visitors of the Febiofest should not feel the pinch of the handicap at all.
Both the film and music programmes will run it the usual range and quality; moreover, the festival has, for the first time ever, prepared Czech subtitles for all introduced films.
Only the funds for promotion were cut (for instance, the programme brochures will not be free of charge this year; they will be sold at a symbolic price of 20 CZK, and the catalogue for traditional 99 CZK), as well as the funds appointed for the social programme (for instance, the opening ceremony in the Municipal House etc.), and for the accompanying programme (for example, the music festival).
FEBIOFEST CONTACT DETAILS:
secretariat office : 221 101 111 (Lenka Pólová)
fax + answering machine : 221 101 120
press agent : 777 091 159 (Pavel Sladký)
production: 221 101 128 (Klára Bukovská), 221 101 127 (Roman Kašparovský)
programme direction : 221 101 116 a 117 (Hana Cielová and Štefan Uhrík)
programme coordinator : 221 101 118 (Zuzana Václavů)