The Visegrad region under the spotlight at Summer Film School
by Martin Kudláč
- The largest non-competitive festival in the Czech Republic will showcase past and present films from the Visegrad region as part of its rich programme
The second-biggest – and the largest non-competitive – film festival in the Czech Republic, Summer Film School (24 July – 1 August), enters its fifth decade this year. What originally began as a seminar for film-club members has evolved into a broad gathering mapping out the landscape of cinema past and present, and steadily attracting 6,000 visitors every year.
This year’s 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has had an influence on two cycles of the Visegrad Horizon section: one about Czech filmmakers in exile during the war, which will present a retrospective covering the works of directors Jiří Weiss, Karel Lamač, and cinematographers Otto Heller and Otto Kantůrek; and another entitled “Has War Ended?”, which traces the cinematic outline of the Visegrad region over the last seven decades, with echoes of war as the central motif.
Apart from these historical excursions, some more recent efforts originating in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are on the menu in order to provide a comprehensive overview of what is currently happening in the Visegrad region. The award-festooned Slovakian boxing road movie Koza [+see also:
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile] by Ivan Ostrochovský, a reflection on human mortality in Slávek Horák’s feature debut Home Care [+see also:
interview: Slávek Horák
film profile], a portrait of a paedophile in Daniel’s World [+see also:
interview: Veronika Lišková
film profile], Szabolcs Hajdu’s neo-western Mirage [+see also:
film profile] and Malgorzata Szumowska’s acclaimed Body [+see also:
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
film profile] will demonstrate that “our geographic space is cinematically very active, and multifarious in terms of its genres and themes”, according to Iva Hejlíčková, programming director of Summer Film School.
A special programming slot is reserved for up-and-coming talents through the presentation of student films from film schools in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This year’s Student Films section has undergone a conceptual change, as the programming director explains: “Instead of gathering movies from all the film schools and picking the best, the section programmer will try to select the most interesting creative personalities and present them from A to Z, from their first student film right through to their graduation one.”
The Focus section traditionally introduces the past, present and most significant filmmakers from within the chosen nation’s cinema. After Spain and Portugal were placed under the spotlight in previous years, the upcoming edition will zoom in on Finland, which will be examined through the presentation of key chapters in its cinematic history, with introductions by Olaf Möller. “We follow various film industries and try to find an appropriate concept for each of them,” Hejlíčková explains. “As Finland is rather a small industry, we have chosen this model.” Mika Kaurismäki will be in attendance for the occasion.
The festival’s full line-up, guest list and special events are yet to be disclosed. The 41st edition of Summer Film School runs from 24 July to 1 August in Uherské Hradište, in the Czech Republic.