FNE at IFF Bratislava: Five Slovak Films Premiere at Bratislava Festival

By FNE Staff

    The IFF Bratislava (www.iffbratislava.sk ), running through 11 November 2010, is presenting the world premieres of five Slovak films along with an overview of Slovak film productiton in 2010 in the Made in Slovakia section. The section includes both well-known and new names of Slovak film, including recent film school graduates. In addition, a Slovak animation film, Vanda Raýmanová's Who‘s There takes part in the international shorts competition.

    After an exceptionally productive year in 2009, this year has seen a major decrease in Slovak film production. Documentaries have always been at the front, bringing the most attention to Slovak film abroad. This year Jaro Vojtek will introduce his new medium-length documentary Out of Circle: What is behind that? Vojtek (director of Here we are or Border) follows a drug addict and his family living on the periphery of society and his struggle to come back to normal life. Juraj Chlpík (Blind Loves director of photography) will present his short sociological study Petržalka's Identities. The film is inspired by Chlpík‘s photography exhibition that was installed on the bridge connecting Petržalka (one of the largest housing projects in Central Europe) with the Old Town. It shows faces of inhabitants on the backdrop of a "uniform interior", and their everyday efforts to roots themselves in a concrete covered jungle of huge unified apartment buildings.

    Another documentary world premiere (planned for theatrical release in early December) is Adam Hanuljak‘s Protected Territory, which captures a 3-week U.S. tour of Theatre from the Passage from Banska Bystrica. The Theatre gives the mentally handicapped a chance to step out of mental institutions‘ anonymity. They were given the opportunity and space to prove that their abilities are very different from what they were always told. Now they stand before a new challenge - a three-week tour of the United States of America.

    Two recent Banská Bystrica film school students are also included in the section. Peter Magát directed the short feature Onemanshow. It is a story of an artist who is tries to raise money for his projects, but after visit in a bureaucratic institution he decides that it is better to do everything yourself. Dana Kojnoková's Bude dobre records glimpses of two homeless people's lives. The viewer is thus able to encounter the places and situations people on the edge of society find themselves. The films raises its voice against the institutions, and the same time conveys the power and the will to survive in the most extreme conditions. The festival will also premiere documentary anecdotes from elections rallies Now We Like You by Petra Hodál and Zuzana Líškova. The directors of this notable documentary filmed the recent election rallies with an ironic detachment and without any voiceover.

    New in this section is the addition of two non-Slovak productions that are connected to Slovakia. The independent film Modra by Canadian director Ingrid Veninger had a September world premiere in Toronto, where critics and the audiences alike praised it. The director, scriptwriter and producer of the film, Veninger was born in Bratislava, and in 1968 she emigrated with her parents to Canada, where she studied film. Modra is named after a small vineyard town right outside of Bratislava, where the film was shot last summer. During the shooting of a story about love and growing up of an adolescent Canadian girl on a family visit in Modra, Veninger was discovering her Slovak roots. She cast her daughter and her Slovak family in the film: "Almost all the actors in my film are my uncles, aunts, cousins. During shooting I came closer to my daughter had a chance to get to know my Slovak relatives. The dividing line between reality and fiction sometimes almost disappeared. When my mother saw the rushes, it reminded her of the life in Slovakia and she started to cry," Veninger said.

    The second film is Anna Hoffmann's documentary Housemaid. It follows the 29-year-old Slovak woman Martina, who travels to Bodensee to take care of an old German couple, Lore (75) and he husband Max (87). The job is paid well, but the non-stop work around the house, Lora‘s dissatisfaction and separation from home complicate Martina's stay in Germany.

    A Slovak documentary shot outside the country is Mongolia - In the Shadow of Genghis Khan, by Pavol Barabáš, the well-known filmmaker who collects awards around the world for his film travelogues. Mariana Čengel-Solčanská will screen two films at the festival: Flying Cyprian, the only Slovak feature length fiction film premiered in 2010, and a Slovak television production Autopsy, a drama narrated from 3 points of view, which takes place in the Slovak countryside and unveils complex relationships between an old father, his daughter-in-law and his grandson. Another Slovak television project in the section is the documentary short The Best Deal of My Life directed by Peter Navrátil and portraying the life of Blanka Berger-Efrat. During the reprisals against Jews she experienced shocking stories when she was hiding her family. Thanks to her business spirit and money, she saved her family before the transportation to the concentration camps.

    The only animation film in the selection is Katarína Kerekesova's Stones, an animated musical - a story of a tragic love story that takes place in a stone pit with an excellent score from composer Marek Piaček.