Czech films at festivals: Occupation to compete in Tallinn

13 October 2021

Czech Film

Czech films at festivals: Occupation to compete in Tallinn

Czech Film

Czech films at festivals: Occupation to compete in Tallinn


Czech films and co-productions are definitely not slacking off with the arrival of autumn. Occupation by Michal Nohejl will compete at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival along with 4 Czech animated films, Sao Paulo selected 6 Czech films for this year’s edition, and Czech filmmakers also are present in Chicago, Denver, Busan or London. Czech animation has collected more awards and Czech documentaries are not lagging behind either. What more is in store for Czech films these days and coming weeks? Here is the summary of what is important to know.

Estonian Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (November 12-28, 2021) revealed the line-up of this year’s First Feature Competition, and Czech black comedy Occupation is part of the selection. In his feature-length debut, director Michal Nohejl delivers an original contribution to the topic of 1968 Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia, in which a sleepy actors' party at the bar is disrupted by a drunken Russian officer. Producers Julie Žáčková and Jan Hlavsa of Unit and Sofa made the film in co-production with PFX and Czech Television and also with the support of the Czech Film Fund (EUR 77 000 in 2019). The rest of Tallinn’s selection will be revealed in the following weeks.

Four Czech animated films will compete in Tallinn as well. Even Mice Belong in Heaven, directed by Denisa Grimmová & Jan Bubeníček and produced by Vladimír Lhoták of Fresh Films, apears in Children's Competition Programme and ECFA Competition. Furthermore, the Festival selected Children of Gainmore: How the Found It by Petr Mischinger for Short Kids Animation Competition and Inside by Viktorie Štěpánová and Love, Dad by Diana Cam Van Nguyen for Short New Talents Competition: Animation. Directors of all three films are students at Prague's FAMU.

Major festival event in South America, Mostra – Sao Paulo IFF (October 21 – November 3, 2021), includes 6 Czech films and co-productions in the programme of its 45th edition. The winner of Locarno’s Pardo d’oro, documentary Brotherhood by Francesco Montagner, will compete in the New Directors Competition along with Polish-Italian-Czech Silent Land by Aga Woszczyńska which is co-produced on the Czech side by Jordi Niubo (i/o post). Mostra’s International Perspective includes Bird Atlas by Olmo Omerzu, Ali Mosaffa’s Absence (screened in world premiere) and festival favourites Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn and Leave No Traces.

The aforementioned co-production films will also appear at Denver Film Festival (November 3-14, 2021) and Chicago International Film Festival (October 13-24, 2021). Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn and Silent Land will be screened at both events. In addition, a traditional event in Colorado will screen Leave No Traces and animated short film Love Is Just a Death Away by Bára Anna Stejskalová, which will compete in the Student Shorts: Animation Competition. Chicago’s selection also includes Peter Kerekes’ 107 Mothers which recently won Orizzonti’s Best Screenplay award, also with the participation of Czech co-producers of endorfilm and Hypermarket Film.

It’s a busy season for Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn. The Golden Bear winner is also screened at the ongoing Busan International Film Festival (October 6-15, 2021) in World Cinema section as well as at the BFI London Film Festival (October 6-17, 2021), which also gives floor to feature film for young audience Martin and the Magical Forest by Petr Oukropec, short anidoc Love, Dad and co-production features Leave No Traces and The Crossing. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn and Martin and the Magical Forest also met at the Zurich International Film Festival (September 23 - October 3, 2021), along with Bogdan George Apetri's Miracle and Silent Land.

Czech films will also please the audience at the upcoming Cinekid festival in Amsterdam (October 13-31, 2021), which has grown into the most respected festival for children and youth in the world. The programme includes animated features A Colourful Dream by Jan Balej and Even Mice Belong in Heaven, Pat & Mat: Baking and Grilling, desired fiction feature Martin and the Magical Forest as well as animated shorts Old Gramophone’s Ghostly Tones and Sounds Between the Crowns. The Polish Kids Kino IFF (September 25 – October 3, 2021), which had a similar Czech representation this year, honored the Norwegian-Dutch-Czech film Dragon Girl with festival’s main prize and also the ECFA award.

Czech animation has been scoring quite frequently lately. My Sunny Maad by celebrated auteur Michaela Pavlátová won the international competition of the Guadalajara IFF (October 1-9, 2021), where it was accompanied in the International Animated Feature Competition by The Crossing (co-produced on the Czech side by MAUR film). Both films also appear on the menu of Romanian Animest (October 8-17, 2021), along with the short film Sisters by FAMU student Andrea Szelesová. Furthermore, Greek Animasyros was literally flooded with Czech animation in September – the festival featured Love, Dad as well as Red Shoes by Anna Podskalská and Sisters in the Student Competition and also screened A Colourful Dream or Hungry Bear Tales by Kateřina Karhánková & Alexandra Májová.

Rising star of Czech animation Diana Cam Van Nguyen received an honorable mention in the IMDbPro Short Cuts Competition at the Toronto International Film Festival, and with her film Love, Dad (produced by Karolína Davidová of 13ka), talented director spices up the programme of ongoing Montreal Festival de Nouveau Cinema (October 6-17, 2021), already won the Jury award at the First Crossings festival in Italy and also heading to major documentary events of this autumn.

The oldest documentary festival in the world, DOK Leipzig (October 25-31, 2021), selected 4 Czech films and co-productions for the Competition for the Audience Award: shorts Love, Dad and Fluid Life by Zora Čápová, and features The Crossing and The Cars We Drove Into Capitalism - Bulgarian-German-Danish-Croatian-Czech will world-premiere at the festival.

The prestigious IDFA – International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (November 17-28, 2021) revealed the noncompetitive sections and selected René – The Prisoner of Freedom, directed by celebrated auteur Helena Třeštíková and produced by Kateřina Černá and Pavel Strnad of Negativ, to world-premiere in the Masters section. Love, Dad will be screened in IDFA’s Best of Fests section as Dutch premiere, and the festival will also screen Viera Čákanyová’s student film Alda.

Millennium Docs Against Gravity (September 3 – October 3, 2021) included Helena Třeštíková’s previous time-lapse doc Anny in this year’s edition, and also presented Forman vs. Forman, Katka and René within festival’s retrospective dedicated to Třeštíková’s work. In addition, the festival screened Vitaly Mansky’s celebrated Gorbachev. Heaven, which will also be part of DocLisboa (October 21-31, 2021). The major Portuguese documentary event also includes Traces of Landscape by Petr Záruba, and another Portuguese festival, Porto Femme (September 10 - October 5, 2021), recently honored Way of Silvie by Verica Pospíšilová Kordić (Best Animation Film in the International Competition) and anidoc S P A C E S by Nora Štrbová (Special Mention in the Animation International Competition).

Last but not least, Wolves at the Borders by Martin Páv won the Central and Eastern European Competition of the Astra Film Festival (September 5-12, 2021) and Living Water by Pavel Borecký celebrated its French and Italian premieres at the Nancy International Film Festival (August 27 – September 5, 2021) and Visioni dal Mondo (September 16-19, 2021), respectively.

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