Art Film Fest changes its home address
by Martin Kudláč
- The longest-running film festival in Slovakia has relocated to Košice owing to a lack of cinema infrastructure
The organisers of the longest-running Slovakian film festival, Art Film Fest, have decided to make a bold move – relocate the entire festival. Art Film Fest had run continuously since 1993 in the small spa town of Trenčianske Teplice in the south-western region of Slovakia. The stable growth of the gathering and the high number of visitors (over 20,000) from year to year triggered a demand for additional space, a situation that was fixed by extending the event’s activities to the adjacent, bigger city of Trenčín, 15 km away from the festival’s main hub. The lack of screening spaces in Trenčianske Teplice (where two venues were used) was compensated for by two additional venues in Trenčín, along with the securing of further screening rooms in a local multiplex. This imbalance gave rise to a complicated situation in terms of the cinema and cultural/social infrastructure, which organisers cite as the reason for the festival’s relocation; they also view it as the cause of the stagnation experienced by the gathering.
“If [the organisers] did not want to see the festival decline and did not want to succumb to the false illusion that everything was alright, they needed to act. After a thorough analysis and definitive recognition of the existent and practically inalterable status quo, the shifting of the location was a brave, yet from the perspective of furthering the festival’s progression, a logical and necessary step,” explained artistic director Peter Nágel in a statement to Cineuropa. When asked about the possibility of the festival’s rebranding, Nágel reacted, “There is something akin to an artificially nurtured bubble when it comes to the unique atmosphere in Trenčianske Teplice, even though everybody knew the festival’s screenings had an unrivalled and much bigger space in Trenčín. So I would not like to talk about a significant rebranding.” He added that the change would not trigger any modifications to the programming or the festival’s structure. “There is not one single reason for that,” he concluded. The founder of the festival, Peter Hledík, has decided to step down from the position of vice-president, and his post has been filled by film producer Rudolf Biermann.
The festival’s new home location is the second-biggest city in Slovakia – Košice – situated in the eastern part of the country. Košice is the economic and cultural hub of Eastern Slovakia, and it possesses the necessary facilities to meet the festival’s needs, as the city was the European Capital of Culture in 2013 and will be the European City of Sport in 2016. The event’s screenings will be held across six venues, a number that will increase in future editions. The new iteration will also launch a partnership with Film Europe, which will extend its Be2Can concept (read the news) through the festival’s “Be2Can starter” sidebar.
Following the announcement, rumours about the possibility of starting a new festival in Art Film Fest’s vacated premises in Trenčianske Teplice began to circulate. However, no official statement on this matter has been issued so far.
The 24th edition of Art Film Fest runs from 17-25 June in the city of Košice.