The Czech Republic currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Czech-In festival was founded on the occasion of the first Czech presidency, in 2009. It is therefore natural for us to recall this important event. The selection of films was inspired by the handover of the Presidency between France and the Czech Republic . The 8th edition will highlight the cultural dialogue between the two countries, looking at joint artistic projects and artists who have created or been inspired by the two countries. Hence, the programme consists mainly of Czech-French co-productions. 

The real prelude to the festival will be a musical film Symfony Bizzare, directed by Michal Kocáb, the leader of the cult Czech band Pražský výběr. It is a full-length recording of their concert in the O2 Arena in Prague.

The festival will also provide an opportunity to discover the films of Christian Paigneau and Joël Farges, two French directors inspired by Czech cinema: the former taking a look at the Czechoslovak New Wave and the latter paying homage to Czech animator Jiří Trnka. The French tightrope walker Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga will present a documentary about her crossing of the Vltava River, filmed as part of the Letní Letná festival. 

The audience will also have the opportunity to see one of the first French-Czech co-productions, the 1957 animated film The Creation of the World by Eduard Hofman. Visual art lovers will be delighted to discover the documentary on the life of the Czech surrealist painter Toyen, who lived and worked in France for 40 years. This film will close the festival on the National Day of the Czech Republic on 28 October at the Auditorium of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris in the presence of the director Andrea Sedláčková.

Ten selected films, mostly unreleased in France, by Václav Fletel and Jakub Voves, Tereza Brdečková, Ondřej Provazník and Martin Dušek, Jana Boková, Václav Kadrnka, Eduard Hofman, Roman Vávra and Bohdan Sláma, will be accompanied by a debate with filmmakers and other guests, with the aim of making contemporary Czech cinema better known to the Parisian public. The Czech-In festival will take place mainly the weekend of the 8th, 13th-16th, 21st-23rd October at the cinema Les 3 Luxembourg in Paris. Several satellite screenings are planned in November at the Czech language departments of INALCO and the Sorbonne. 

The festival is part of the official programme of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of the City of Paris, which has awarded it the Label Paris Europe, and under the high patronage of the Government of the Czech Republic and the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to France, His Excellency Michal Fleischmann with his wife Kateřina Lojdová.

The full programme is available on the website: http://czech-in-film-festival.fr/page-festival-2022/

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WEMW CO-PRODUCTION FORUM - DEADLINE: November 4, 2022

We are happy to share with you 16 new European documentary projects, which will be presented at the 2nd edition of the Ji.hlava New Visions Forum held as part of the 26th Ji.hlava IDFF on October 27–28.

CZECH REPUBLIC/Brno - The EKOFILM dramaturgy team has selected the top 25 films in competition from a total of 243 entries. The festival jury will award the best films in the sections Beauty of Nature, Central European Films and Short Films. Any of the films in competition can then win one of the other awards - the Main Award of the Minister of the Environment for the best film and the President's Award of the Festival. The festival will take place from 12 to 15 October in Brno, and we are already revealing the programme and opening bookings for individual screenings on the website www.ekofilm.cz.

On Tuesday, 20 September 2022, in the early morning hours, a fire broke out on the premises of the Digital Audiovision Department of the Slovak Film Institute (SFI) – an in-house digital restoration centre of the Slovak Film Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The European Film Forum Scanorama presented its expanded short film competition Glimpses of Europe. The programme, which has replaced a regional short film competition New Baltic Cinema in its 13th edition, is to showcase new film talents from all over Europe.

This year, the organisers received twice as many entries as in previous years, from which 16 short films from 10 European countries were selected. The selection will be screened in three separate programmes at this year's Scanorama on 17-19 November. The films will be reviewed by an international jury, which will choose and announce the best overall film and the best Lithuanian film. The authors of the selected films will compete for cash prizes totalling €8,000. The winners will be announced on 19 November.

Born in 2008 as the Baltic short film competition New Baltic Cinema and having expanded to the whole Baltic Sea region in 2019, this year's event has changed its name to Glimpses of Europe and welcomes Scanorama's 20th anniversary with an ambitious goal of becoming a major player in the European short film scene. This year, the competition welcomed entries by young filmmakers from all around Europe.

“The competition has maintained its key objectives to reflect the trends of young cinema, seek out new talent and provide it with a platform. By expanding the geography of the competition, we sought to offer European filmmakers a strong space for artistic exploration and dialogue, helping them lay down the first contours of their own universes,” says Gražina Arlickaitė, Scanorama’s founder and artistic director.

This year's Glimpses of Europe jury will be headed by Cédric Succivalli, Italian film critic and programmer, in charge of the Giornate degli Autore parallel programme at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. He will be assisted by Otto Suuronen, short film distribution coordinator at the Finnish Film Foundation, and Christof Wehmeier, Head of International Relations at the Icelandic Film Centre.

“Short film is an alternative territory for the creative and thought processes, which frees up artistic exploration and experimentation. We wish to provide the new voices in European film with this new space of opportunities that encourages one to open up towards newer and greater professional challenges,” says Cédric Succivalli.

Films selected for this year’s Glimpses of Europe:

  1. Spiral, dir. Salla Sorri, Eva-Maria Koskinen, Finland
  2. The Devil, dir. Jan Bujnowski, Poland
  3. Vague, dir. Joni Tuominen, Finland
  4. Invisible Border, dir. Mark Siegfried Gerstorfer, Austria
  5. Hollywood, dir. Tia Kouvo, Sweden
  6. Exterior Day, dir. Giulia Magno, Italy
  7. Curiosa, dir. Tessa Moult-Milewska, United Kingdom
  8. Blue Hour, dir. Stacey Rushchak, Poland
  9. Memoir of a Veering Storm, dir. Sofia Georgovassili, Greece
  10. Tramway, dir. Bartosz Reetz, Poland
  11. Task, dir. Deyan Rumen Angelov, Bulgaria
  12. #LIKE4LIKE, dir. Serhii Mysak, Ukraine
  13. Dance, dir. Danielius Minkevičius, Lithuania
  14. Through Gloom, dir. Arnas Balčiūnas, Lithuania
  15. Before Pandemic and War, There were bed bugs and love, dir. Nuruzzaman Khan, Lithuania
  16. Caprice, dir. Beatričė Bukantytė, Raskto Novaković, Lithuania

The jury will award:

a cash prize of €5,000 by the LATGA Association for the best film in the overall programme
a cash prize of €3,000 by the Lithuanian Film Centre for the best film by a Lithuanian director

This year's edition of the European Film Forum Scanorama will be held on 10-20 November in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai.

BRATISLAVA: FNE spoke to Veronika Golianová, co-founder and co-CEO of Slovak Impact Games, about their current activities, as well as the state of the Slovak game development industry.

Astra Film Festival brings again the Dome-type cinema to Piața Mare in Sibiu and proposes, between October 9-16, the special AFF New Media program, dedicated to viewers of all ages who want to be initiated in digital cinema - Concept Art, VR, Augmented Reality. The International Documentary Film Festival in Sibiu will thus be an exceptional itinerant excursion, from classic non-fiction cinema to immersive, unconventional cinema that uses the latest creative technologies, from viewings in the cinema to the unprecedented 360-degree cross-media projections experience. Tickets for AFF2022 films and events have gone on sale and can be purchased here: https://bilete.astrafilm.ro/.

Started six years ago, as the only program of its kind in Romania, the films created and projected in the format of new technologies are grouped this year under the aegis of Astra Film NewMedia, signaling the fact that, after 6 years, the production of films dedicated to immersive stories has changed, it has diversified and evolved.

"If 2020 was the year of a reinvention forced by the pandemic, and we had Astra Film Online and Astra Film Outdoor, in 2022 we are returning to the digital education platform and transforming Piața Mare into the most intense point of interaction for fans of unconventional cinematography. In the dome located in the heart of Sibiu, immersive and 360° films will be projected, a selection of the best productions of the moment, relevant for the New Media area", declares Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival.

AFF New Media audiences will enjoy an immersive cinematic experience, watching some of the newest and most immersive 360° films. It will basically be a continuous journey. From the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the microscopic to the celestial, on the rhythms of electronic music and jazz ("Black Mantis" - UK, 2021). We will immerse in a spiritual journey, triggered by a dose of ayahuasca ("Ayahuasca, Kosmik journey" - France, Luxembourg, 2019 - film selected at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in 2019), or into the story of the endless journey of the two Voyager space probes, which carry with them the interstellar message sent from Earth to possible extraterrestrial civilizations ("Voyager: the never ending journey", Ukraine, 2019).

The audience will be drawn into a hypnotic and immersive experience where questions are raised subtly, with fantasy and lyricism ("I don't understand" - Spain, 2022), in a visual feast that amazes with the instant connection with the sky and nature, through music ("Piano Under the Stars" - Chile, Spain, 2020), or directly into the mysteries of the Universe, as they are revealed by scientists from the largest radio telescope in the world, together with the Yamaji people - on whose land the telescope is built ("Star Dreaming" - Australia, 2021).

There will be screenings dedicated also to younger audiences, invited to find out curiosities and explanations about light and the way we perceive it, in a unique fulldome experience ("Travelling with light" - Spain, 2020), traditions and scientific methods derived from a journey in the footsteps of Captain Cook and the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman ("Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators" - New Zealand, 2021), the story of the seasons, with a strong educational character ("Magic globe - a story of the seasons" - Poland , 2020) or "Legend of the Enchanted Reef" - Germany, 2021, an adventure film to be watched with the whole family.

 

About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

Sponsors: Campari, Promenada Sibiu, Ursus, Cotnari, Cinelab, CineGold, Sonne, Kulinarium, Cafe Pardon, Nod

Main Media Partners: PRO TV, VOYO

Supported by Europa FM

Media Partners: HotNews, Radio România Cultural, News.ro, G4Media, Edupedu, Spotmedia, PressHub, TV5 Monde, Film New Europe, Cineuropa, All About Romanian Cinema, Movienews, Observator cultural, LiterNet, Films in Frame, Film Menu, Cinefilia, Capital cultural, Turnul sfatului, Tribuna, Sibiu 100%, Ora de Sibiu, Știri de Sibiu, Sibiul azi, Zile și nopți, Transilvania, Hermanstadter Zeitung, A List Magazine

Press monitoring partner: MediaTRUST

Delivery partner: DPD România

Travel partner: Nordis Travel

Reading partner: Cărturești

Communications Partner: PiArt Vision

Children and teenagers have their own festival again. Astra Film Junior, the first and most complex cinema education program in Romania, returns to Sibiu between October 9th -16th. Designed for three age categories (6+, 11+ and 15+), the AF Junior educational program includes film screenings in cinema halls and in the full-dome 360 cinema (Astra Film New Media Full Dome), followed by didactic activities in  class, comic strips contest and a film workshop. Details about the Astra Film Festival program on the website https://www.astrafilm.ro/program-2022.

Astra Film Junior presents a selection of the best productions on the market of narrative documentary films for children and teenagers.  "Everything will be great because you will expand your horizons.  And, through the Astra Film New Media Full Dome program, you will see immersive projections, come into contact with new technologies and get acquainted with an unusual type of cinema, in 360 ̊ format, where the film surrounds the viewer", Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival conveys to the young viewers  

The organizers have prepared for the viewers in the 6+ category life stories of children close to their own age, children who came out of anonymity by thinking outside the box, through a constant desire for knowledge and insight. Yang, an 11-year-old boy from China, makes many sacrifices to learn all about traditional Chinese theater (The Monkey King, 2019). Aatos, Amine and Flo, three inseparable friends from a neighborhood in Brussels, are looking for answers to big people's questions (Aatos and the World, 2019). Azat and his colleagues, from Tartastan, are 12 years old and as little journalists they take care of an important mission each week (Azat and Youtubers from Tartastan, 2018). In turn, Clara, Matei and their friends embark on a journey full of adventures in the Danube Delta (Sentries of the Delta, 2022). And the film #On the Web answers some questions such as What is and how does the internet work?, Who are the trolls?, What about the influencers?.

Viewers in the 11+ category will learn about the dreams of children from different corners of the world: Asho, from Iran, wants to become a famous actor (Asho, 2019); Ayana, a girl from Kyrgyzstan, would like to be first in an exclusively male sport (Ayana, 2019); Rehad, from Denmark, wants to become a pigeon breeder (Bird Boy, 2019), and Julieta, a young woman from the Netherlands, initiates an action to clean the ocean which she considers her second home (Julieta & the turtles in the plastic soup, 2020).

High school students will discover, in the program dedicated to the 15+ category, the life of one of the most followed 14-year-old girls on Instagram (Girl Gang, 2022), the artistic maturation of a Norwegian singer who drops out of school to become a pop star (Aurora, 2019 ) or the way in which the image of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu is perceived by today's teenagers (You Are Ceaușescu to Me, 2021). Through the documentary films selected for them, young people learn how to react to sexual predators in the online environment (Caught in the Net, 2020) and what are the effects of the rapid spread of artificial intelligence - saving humanity or, on the contrary, its total control (iHuman, 2019).

Young and very young viewers are also invited to the immersive full-dome cinema 360 screenings in the Dome installed in Piața Mare (Astra Film New Media Full Dome special program). Through spectacular filming, they will learn that there are other sources of light besides the Sun (Travelling with Light, 2019), mysteries of the Universe will be revealed to them with the help of the largest radio telescope (Star Dreaming, 2021), and they will get to follow the story of interstellar messages carried to extraterrestrial civilizations by space probes launched 45 years ago (VOYAGER: the Never-Ending Journey, 2019). At the same time, young viewers will retrace Captain Cook's journey through the Pacific Ocean (The Navigators, 2021), see how an electronic music composer finds inspiration in the sound of the Arctic Ocean (-22.7C, 2021) and follow with their hearts the adventures of Shorty, Indigo and Jake in Legend of the Enchanted Reef (2021), a film for the whole family, full of humor and imagination.

"We have a generation that consumes a lot of audiovisual content from an early age but is given too few opportunities to reflect on it. The role of the Astra Film Junior program is precisely this: to provide them with the necessary tools for the formation of critical thinking and for exercising the agility to understand the audiovisual content to which they are exposed", said Dumitru Budrala.

Astra Film Junior also contains a Film Workshop for high school students, which aims to practice both the ability of teenagers to understand a documentary film and the process by which it is made, as well as the ability to speak in public. The long-awaited meeting with comic strips will not be missed - a creative educational tool through which children and teenagers are called to analyze and interpret the films they watch and tell their own story through comic strips - an exercise to strengthen the skill of creating a work on a given theme.

The teaching staff and educational counselors who will accompany the children to the screenings will benefit from the "Profession of Educator" training, in which they learn how documentary cinema can be used in the educational process. There will be a special screening for them: the disturbing documentary film "Why didn't you stay for me?" (directed by Milou Gevers, 2020), which will be accompanied by a presentation and followed by a free discussion about the help we can offer to children who are going through difficult times after the loss of a parent.

 

About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

The Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, which will take place between October 9th -16th, presents a selection of the newest and most valuable Romanian documentary films of the moment. In total, 17 Romanian films will be screened, of which 14 can be seen for the first time in Romania, in Sibiu. All of them make up a puzzle of the Romanian society. The screenings will take place in the presence of the filmmakers, who will enter a dialogue with the audience. After the 29th edition of #AFF, some films will also be watched online in Romania, and Astra Film organizers will be able to make direct nominations for the European Film Awards, from among the award-winning films.

"This autumn's edition will truly be a festival, in all the bright senses of the word, if we think about the fact that most of the films in the official selection are premieres and bring to the big screen never-before-seen content. They are poorly financed productions, which brings an additional argument to the idea that we are talking about films with relevant, valuable content. And when Romanian films which were developed in Sibiu, in the "laboratories" of the festival are released, their success is a celebration for the entire Romanian cinema community", said Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival.

Comunities

The film from the opening of the festival, "The Chalice. Of Sons and Daughters", by Cătălina Tesăr and Dana Bunescu (2022 - national premiere), exposes for the first time in the cinema, the interesting world of the `cortorari`. The film shows the world of this traditional Roma community from Transylvania, exploring ancient customs, marked by arranged marriages, at the center of which is, symbolically placed, a golden cup handed down from generation to generation. The film was conceived a few years ago within the DokTank Astra Film laboratory program, and in order to document it, Cătălina Tesăr, PhD in anthropology at University College London, spent two years among the locals, during which she learned the language and customs.

Communities and traditions are also discussed in two other films. "Memories from the community of Gheorgheni and Frumoasa", by Armine Vosganian (2022) - international premiere, features 100-year-old Peter, the only man from Frumoasa who still speaks Armenian and knows the customs of the elderly.  Alexandra Gulea also makes a deep foray into the community of Aromanians in their historical exile, between the mountains and the sea ("Flying sheep", co-production Romania, Germany, 2022 - international premiere, Central and Eastern Europe Section).

Writer Adina Popescu and director Iulian Ghervas bring to Sibiu, as an international premiere, a documentary film that uses as a pretext the story of a football team that has been in the bottom league for decades, to explore how a rural community in the middle of Transylvania lives, prisoner in an anonymous world ("Eagles from Șaga", 2021).

Communism and post-communism

Documentary filmmakers are studying again the impact of the communist regime on the lives of so many generations. The communist regime left deep wounds and destinies to chance. Dragoș Zămosteanu is "In search of the engineer Dragomirescu" (2022) - the story of a person sent to prison and never returning for singing "Deșteaptă-te, Române!" and "Vântuleț de primăvară". In "Rear Entrance to Socialism" (2022), László Csibi describes communist censorship as perceived by Hungarian media representatives, members of political structures and cultural figures who were active during the communist regime.

In "Globus" (co-production Romania-Poland, 2022 - world premiere), Clara Kleininger sensitively watches how the trainers of the Globus State Circus become acrobats and clowns after their animals are taken to the Zoo. And in "The Man and His Shadow", by Dragoș Hanciu (2021), we see how Georges, a flamboyant technician in the photo lab at UNATC, loses his job when digital photography gains ground in front of analog photography.

One of the most surprising films of this year is ”You Are Ceaușescu To me”, by Sebastian Mihăilescu (2022), an experimental mix of documentary and fiction that will be presented in Sibiu as part of the Astra Film Junior program. The film follows the reactions of young people between the ages of 15 and 22, from different backgrounds, who want to play the role of Nicolae Ceaușescu, at a time when the former communist dictator was very young.

Migration

Two Romanian films from the official selection address the phenomenon of migration. In "Waves on dry soil" (2021 - world premiere), Raluca David filmed in Ecuador, the Republic of Moldova and Portugal the story of a young Moldovan surfer who tries to overcome his immigrant status, while "Arsenie`s First Birthday", by Valentin-Rareș Fogoroș (2022 - world premiere), follows the struggle of a woman from Ukraine, a refugee in our country, who fights with the bureaucracy to obtain EU documents for her son, Arsenie.

Destinies 

One of the most emotional portraits that will be presented at this AFF edition is "Trapped in His Own Movie" (2022 - world premiere), in which Alexandru Oiță presents the fate of director Andrei Cătălin Băleanu, showing how life really beats film. Another portrait, collective this time, is that of the people who are building a section of the Via Transilvanica - the road of more than 1,400 kilometers "that unites" ("People of the Road: Terra Banatica", by Mircea Gherase, 2021).

Another story, with deep meanings and with the occasion for essential questions, is the journey that a young woman makes, in the time of Covid19 restrictions, to a 500-year-old pilgrimage destination: Șumuleu Ciuc / Csíksomlyó ("My Home, My Home" , by Anikó Nagy, 2020 - national premiere). And "Too Close" (2022), by Botond Püsök, is a tense story about a mother with 2 children, and her turmoil when she must accept parental visitation from the father of the second child, after he is released from the penitentiary where he had been imprisoned for what he did to the woman's first child.

One of the films in the official DocSchool selection seeks an answer to a difficult question, "What happens after death?" ("One click away", by Janine Gruen (2022 - world premiere), and the young viewers of AF Junior will see the adventures of some children in a camp in the Danube Delta, who discover two poachers fishing illegally ("The Sentries of the Delta", by Liviu Mărghidan, 2022).The official #AFF2022 selection also presents a surprising satirical documentary essay, "Whose dog am I?", by Róbert Árpád Lakatos (2022 - Romanian premiere), which shows big politics as a world where citizens are dogs, and politicians - dog breeders.

About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.