FNE at BRATISLAVA IFF: Slovak Oscar Hopeful Preps Fifth Boat

    Iveta Grofova Iveta Grofova

    BRATISLAVA: Slovak director Iveta Grofova, whose debut feature film Made in Ash was selected as Slovakia 2012 Oscar candidate, will follow up with a fiction film cast with amateur actors and based on a prize winning book, Fifth Boat.

    Grofova, who was attending the 14th IFF Bratislava (www.iffbratislava.sk) running through 15 November 2012 where Made in Ash (www.azdomestaas.com) was seen as a strong contender in this year’s newly launched Slovak Film Competition, spoke with FNE about the nomination and her upcoming films.

    “It’s definitely exciting, as I’m a debut director, and I was very surprised by the nomination,” she told FNE. The film won Grofova the Best Director award at the recent Tofifest (www.tofifest.pl) held in Torun, along with a prize of 20,000 PLN. It debuted at the Karlovy Vary IFF (www.kviff.com) where it was the opening film in the East of the West competition. Grofova, who graduated from film school just three years ago, began the film as a documentary, but realized it needed to be told as a fiction film. The result is an unflinching yet intimate portrait of a young Slovak Roma woman who moves to a Czech border town to work in a factory, but spirals into the sex trade. Grofova employs her training as an animator in film sequences that emerge as scribbles that echo the girl’s emotional state.

    She’s now preparing her next film, Fifth Boat, once again co-writing the script with Marek Lescak (a co-writer of Martin Sulik’s multiple award winning film Gypsy), and plans to use Made in Ash DoP Viera Bacikova. Like Made in Ash, the cast will include non-professional actors to tell the story of an eight-year-old girl of a single mother who has to become the caretaker for her mother and herself, along with a pair of abandoned twin infants.

    The novel by Monika Kompanikova, which was based on a true story, won the Slovak literary prize of 2011. The film will be produced by Jiri Konecny of Endorfilm (www.endorfilm.cz), a Czech company with a solid history of coproducing with Slovakia. Shooting should take place in 2013, with completion in 2014.

    Slovakia audiences won’t have to wait another two years to see Grofova’s work, however. She’s one of the ten Slovak directors chosen to provide a ten-minute short film for the omnibus film Slovakia 2.0 produced by MPhilms (www.mphilms.sk) to mark Slovakia’s 20th anniversary as an independent country, which takes place in 2013. Grofova told FNE her segment, Discoboy, is about “a 60 year old D.J. living in Az,” the Czech/German border town of her debut film. “He’s a character who deserves a film of his own – he’s part boxer, part mafia. The film could be a documentary or a mix of documentary and fiction,” she said. Displaying an assured hand in juxtaposing fiction, documentary and animation in her debut feature film, Grofova has emerged as one of the cadre of new generation Slovak filmmakers making an impact locally and internationally.