FNE at KVIFF: Slovaks Audiences Await Local Films

By Cathy Meils

    KARLOVY VARY: Slovak cinema attendance was down by almost 22% in the first quarter of 2011, but with a non-stop schedule of Slovak domestic premieres just about to start, numbers could pick up soon.

    "We had only one Slovak film in the cinemas so far this year," Miroslav Ulman of the Slovak Film Institute (www.sfu.sk) told FNE. In recent years Slovak blockbusters led by box office champ Bathory and Soul at Peace drove up attendance. Admissions in the first quarter of 2011 totaled just 792,518, compared to totals topping one million previously.

    The release of the highly anticipated Gypsy (Cigan) by Slovak director Martin Sulik on 14 July could change the situation. The film has been widely promoted in Slovakia -- a press conference with Sulik, co-writer Marek Lescak, and producer Rudolf Biermann (www.infilm.cz) at the recent Art Film Fest (www.artfilmfest.sk) was a must for Slovak journalists. Biermann told FNE that tickets for the premiere screening at the Karlovy Vary IFF (www.kviff.com) taking place on 5 July were a hot item.

    In the fall, Slovak films are scheduled to be released in cinemas at the rate of one every two weeks. The line-up includes comedy film The Corpse Must Die on 15 September; Berlinale success The House on 29 September; Love on 14 October; and Visible World starring Czech actor Ivan Trojan in November, along with a handful of titles still to be confirmed.