FNE at ZLIN: Superhero Conquers Zlin

By FNE Staff

    ZLIN: The German/Irish coproduction Death of a Superhero was the big winner of the 52nd Zlin International Film festival for Children and Youth (www.zlinfest.cz), while local favorite Blue Tiger from Negativ (www.negativ.cz) producer-turned-director Peter Oukropec wond the Town of Zlin Award.

    The Czech children‘s story addressing adult issues of corruption and social selfconfidence was the local title of the year hoping to follow the proud Czech traditions of big children‘s productions. However, it was Germany that brought home the most awards. Death of a Superhero directed by Ian FitzGibbon won four awards: the main prizes of both the children's and adult's juries in the youth category, the Audience Award, and the ECFA Award (European Children's Film Association, www.ecfaweb.org). The other German film in competition, Famous Five (www.samfilm.de) directed by Mike Marzuk, won the adult jury prize for best film in the children's category.

    In the European First Films competition, the Lithuanian film Anarchy in Zirmunai (www.tremora.com) directed by Saulius Drunga took the Special Jury Award, while the U.K. film Wild Bill received the Europe Award of the Czech Minister of Culture.

    The Czech ministry of culture Alena Hanáková, attending the festival, told Zlin attendees that the new Czech cinema law was on the way to parliamentary approval. "And we have to make sure that its system of support will set such conditions and regulations that would facilitate the production of films for children and youth," she said, amid enthusiastic discussion that new Czech children's film production is coming back to life after more that seven weak years.

    Public broadcaster Czech TV (www.ceskatelevize.cz) once more showed its importance to the children's sector of the film industry, presenting the international premiere of Juraj Šajmovič‘s 20 milion CZK (800,000 euro) film Watchdog (Tady hlídám já) produced by Beatriz Šajmovičová of Road Movies Ltd (www.tadyhlidamja.com). The story of a girl and her dog deals with the problem of hyperactive ADHD children. "The film was developed with the huge support of Czech Television, which raised to almost one third of the budget. And it shows our goodwill to dedicate more to children production," said the manager of Czech Television productions Jaroslav Kučera.

    The festival moved to a new location, the impressive and recently constructed futuristic Congress Center in the center of the city. The move helped offset financial cutbacks. "I consider the festival to be extraordinarily successful. We managed to prepare an extraordinary program for moviegoers and visitors to supporting events despite the fact that we had 30% less money to do this," festival director Petr Koliha said. The 53rd edition of the festival is scheduled for 26 May - 2 June 2013.