Other Worlds’ Vary success to boost moral, sales
by Sakis Kontos
Marko Skop’s Slovakian production Other Worlds (Ine svety) made history last week when it became the first documentary to win the Audience Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Feature-length documentaries offer Slovak cinema a sense of existence these days. Of the four films involving a Slovakian producer that premiered in the country in the first half of this year, two were documentaries.
None of them, though, has made it to the country’s Top 20 box office charts, including Other Worlds. However, according to critics, success at Karlovy Vary, along with the obvious boost of Slovakian cinema morale, might now have Skop’s work destined for international sales success.
Other Worlds follows the effects of globalization on the lives and traditionally diverse cultures of six representatives of different ethnicities - Sarisans, Ruthenians, Jews and Gypsies - in the small Slovakian border town of Saris, one of EU’s final frontiers to the East. "The film simply presents the stories of six heroes in a small-scale Babylon, at the edge of EU – the edge of the globalisation world", says Skop of his first feature documentary.
Because of the practical difficulties associated with such a project, the film took three and a half years to complete, half of which were devoted to research and script development.
Skop first presented the idea in 2003 as a project in development at the Jihlava East European Forum. In 2005 it was among nine films presented to festival programmers and distributors in Docu Talents From The East at Karlovy Vary.
Other Worlds is a co-production between Slovakia’s Artileria company and Mirage in the Czech Republic, and received support from the Slovak Ministry of Culture, Czech TV, the Tibor Vichta Award and the East European Forum, organised by the Institute of Documentary Film. It premiered in Slovakia last February.