Each April, the capital of the Haná region becomes a film capital as well. Initiated by the Palacký University, the traditional festival Academia film Olomouc is held annually, systematically mapping the wide-ranging field of popular-scientific and documentary cinematography.
Each year, thousands of visitors of all ages come to see that AFO is more than a narrow profile event for the academic community. Within the past years, packed screening halls applauded e.g. the author of the legendary children's series Once Upon a Time ... Life or Nigel Marven who sets on fantastic adventures in the wildlife world. What program is made ready for the festival visitors from April 14 to 19 in Olomouc?
Under the sign of the mystery of the universe, animal rights and candy in the mixer.
An integral part of the festival, the two COMPETITION SECTIONS present both Czech and international documentary films competing for awards. Within the competition selection, the festival audiences will be offered about twenty films, carefully selected from several hundreds of registered films.
Among the members of the jury to select the winner of the INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION will also be film activist Mark Rissi. The traditional section TRIBUTE will also be dedicated to this renowned Swiss animal rights protector; within this section, he will personally introduce his newest films made in China. Besides the film Fun Fur? or Chimps in the Circus, he will also present the feature films from his previous filmmaking period. However, he comes primarily to discuss the environmentalist questions with the audiences. An accompanying section of the program, the block RISSI CHOICE includes three films selected by Rissi who considers them significant contributions to the debate on the relationship of man and the environment.
"Unlike the last year, when the non-competition part of the program called STUDIO focused primarily on two big themes, this year we have taken a different path. The composition of this part of the program is rather varied, covering a great number of scientific disciplines. Our goal is to attract audiences interested in astrophysics, psychology, gender studies, environment questions, medicine, law, the new
technologies and other topics. All in the form of screening blocks usually accompanied by expert introductions and discussion panels," says dramaturgist Jakub Korda about this year's program.
The block House M.D. - TRUTH OR MYTHS?, a workshop of respected American publicist, former CNN correspondent and holder of the Emmy Award Andrew Holtz will definitely represent an attractive part of the non-competition program. The author of the book "The Medical Science of House, M.D." will illuminate the audience as to whether the cases of Gregory House, M.D. are really as unreal as they seem at the first glance. At the same time, Andrew Holtz will introduce his upcoming book focusing on another famous series from the medical environment, Grey's Anatomy, in a world premiere.
TIME WARP , the newest project of the Discovery Channel, will be introduced by the author of the cycle himself, Jeff Lieberman. With the use of special digital cameras shooting with the speed of up to 20 000 images per second, the authors enable the viewers to watch the everyday as well as the less common physical phenomena in a way up to now unimaginable. What happens to the face of a boxer during the blow; what happens to candy dropped in the mixer; how does the explosion of dry ice shut in a bottle proceed? These and other questions are given frequently surprising answers by Time Warp. "It is a great honor for AFO that the Discovery production will stop filming the second season for a week so that Jeff can personally take part in the festival and be presented a special festival award," reveals Korda.
In the section MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE the viewers will have a chance to see that in the endless space of the universe, natural laws known from earth might take completely different forms. Dark matter, time as an irregular river full of twists and meanders, whose flow may be possibly reversed - not only these are the problems to be explained by the films of this section. The screenings will be introduced and discussed by prominent theoretical physicists like Petr Kulhánek or Luboš Motl. The latter will supply a lecture on the well-known cycle The Elegant Universe; the complete version of which will be available to the viewers in a prolonged screening block.
The section EXPERIMENTS ON HUMANS will be dedicated to social experiments realized in the past 50 years. Screenings and discussion panels will focus on the questions of the ethic of experimenting with human individuals, its results and possible contributions of this kind of research. Taking the experiments from the 1950s as a starting point, the section will furthermore introduce the famous Stanford Experiment by Zimbardo by screening both the documentary film and its acted reconstruction, not overlooking the Czechoslovak project The Adit to Mars from 1988, dedicated to the study of the influence of isolation upon an individual. "The whole problem of scientific experiments on humans will be perceived in a transcending way, e.g. in relation to such events as the abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison," adds Korda.
The principal theme of the section GENDERRR will be the question of "gender socialization", within which we repeatedly learn to be a man or a woman, according to both social and cultural conditions. Within two blocks, audiences can look at the problem of gender socialization not only at film screenings but also at the following lectures and discussion panels. The first block will focus on the theme of coming of age, the latter on the impact of expectations connected with masculinity and femininity in adulthood.
Within the section FILM AND IDEOLOGY, AFO will recollect the 50th anniversary of an event that had marked the development of Czechoslovak cinematography for a long time - the 1st festival of Czechoslovak film in Bánská Bystrica, Slovakia. The block will be introduced by film historian Ivan Klimeš; moreover, the living legends of Czech cinematography Jiří Krejčík a Ladislav Helge promised to participate.
Environmental problems or the relation of the media and politics seen through the eyes of American documentarists will be the subject of a cross-sectional mini-collection called Made in U.S.A. It will present films with multiple awards, e.g. the Oscar-nominated film The Garden, introduced personally be director Scott Hamilton Kennedy; or the film The People's President, brought by its author Chuck Workman, who, among others, already has one Oscar in his collection.
The goal of the section RETROSPECTIVE is to introduce one of the important contributions to the development of the popular-scientific genre - the project Popular Science, created by the American company Paramount Pictures between 1935-1949. During the fourteen years of its existence, it earned a number of awards, including several Oscar nominations; for decades, it became part of television broadcasting.
In another part of the section, the neglected personality of Czechoslovak popular-scientific film - Bohumil Vošahlík - will be remembered.
The program will be accompanied by smaller program blocks - the videopodcast phenomenon will be discussed in Olomouc by one of prominent Czech publicists dealing with the new media, Miloš Čermák; thanks to private archive materials, in HISTORY THROUGH CAMERA the viewers will have a chance to peep into the past of the region through authentic documentary records.
Filmmakers, television dramaturgists, lawyers, judges and prison psychologists will come to Olomouc to discuss the relation of the law and the media within the block ACCORDING TO THE LAW. According to the example of a TV cycle of the same title, they will deal with the questions of the attractiveness of the theme of crime and justice for today's media as well as the problem of protection - not only of witnesses but also perpetrators of criminal offenses.
Academia Film Olomouc will also be honored by the visit of the submarine filmmaker of Czech origin Steve Lichtag, who will not only sit on the jury of the CZECH COMPETITION but also introduce the special commented block called OCEANIC ADVENTURES for the students of Olomouc schools.
"The week of unique film screenings, discussions with filmmakers and lectures by international experts is an open invitation for everyone who is interested in the documentary film and in gaining knowledge. We offer the unveiling of the mystery of the universe, the human mind or sexuality; answers to the secrets of medicine or provocative questions relating to the future of mankind and the planet Earth. The viewers of this year of AFO have a unique opportunity to freely discuss the emancipation of women or the newest theories of the origin of the universe. All you have to do is to come, watch and know! " says director of the approaching festival Petr Bilík.
Within the accompanying program, the organizers of Academia Film Olomouc will introduce a unique exhibition of the large size cult comics MAYHEM OF THE BRAINS in the presence of its author Václav Šorel. "In the 1980s, this comic was like an apparition, influencing many from my generation. When it was published in re-edition several months ago, we immediately started to think about the way to celebrate it. It ended up in an exhibition," depicts dramaturgist Jakub Korda. Besides the traditional music program, this year secured by SUNSHINE, OHM SQUARE, NICELAND and ČOKO VOKO, visitors can enjoy a concert rendering of the
film JOURNEY TO THE POLE. This visual essay from the end of the world will be accompanied by a 15-member symphonic ensemble.
The scope of this year's program, in connection with the wonderful environment of the Art Centre of Palacký University where Academia film Olomouc is held annually, will offer the viewers a unique (not only film) experience. From April 14 to 19, 2009, AFO visitors will again "watch and know"!
Festival accreditation is for free! Those accredited by March 31 will be secured accommodation by the production for free.
More information at http://www.afo.cz/