19 October 2023
Once again, during the busy autumn festival season, Czech films are screened at various prestigous festivals around the world. The most frequent title is Green Border by Agnieszka Holland presented in New York, Chicago or Busan, followed by Annecy-awarded Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light set to play in Tokyo and sci-fi Restore Point screened at Fantastic Fest or in Sitges. Furthermore, Michal Hogenauer's second feature Calm in the Canopy, was just world-premiered at China's Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon IFF.
Agnieszka Holland introduced her latest feature Green Border, awarded in Venice, to the US audience at the end of September at New York Film Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigous showcases in the country, followed by screenings in Hamptons, Chicago, AFI Fest in Los Angeles in the US, Zurich and Valladolid in Europe or Vancouver in Canada, where it was screened together with Il Boemo by Petr Vaclav and Restore Point, a sci-fi crime story debut of director Robert Hloz. The Asian premiere of Green Border took place at the Busan International Film Festival, a festival crucial for entering the Asian market, in the Icon section.
Tokyo International Film Festival, yet another prestigious Asian festival, will showcase the Asian premiere of Czech animated gem for kids Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light by Filip Pošivač, which was already awarded in Annecy earlier this year. The film is also presented at the Best Children's Film Competition at Cinekid in Amsterdam, accompanied by two shorts competing for the Best International Animated Short award - Dede is Dead by Philippe Kastner and My Name Is Edgar and I Have Cow by Filip Diviak. The film Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light appeared thanks to his imaginative story also in the program of Spanish Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival, one of the leading festivals focusing on genre cinema. The second Czech representative in Sitges was the above-mentioned Restore Point, which was right before screened also at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, a perfect place for the North American premiere of the film before it enters US cinemas. In addition, the French premiere of the film is scheduled to take place in Arras, together with the French premiere of horror comedy She Came at Night by directing duo Jan Vejnar and Tomáš Pavlíček. Arras Film Festival will also present a special showcase of six Czechoslovak comedies from 1960s and 1970s including such classic as Closely Watched Trains by Jiří Menzel, Daisies by Věra Chytilová or Who Wants to Kill Jessie? by Václav Vorlíček. Also Thessaloniki International Film Festival features a Czech film this year - director Matěj Chlupáček will introduce his period mystery drama We Have Never Been Modern in the Meet the Neighbors+ competition comprised of first and second features that intend to offer the audience a deeper understanding on life, the human condition and the state of things in our wider geographical region.
Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival selected for its international competition (Hidden Dragons) the second feature film of director Michal Hogenauer and producers Václav Kadrnka and Simona Kadrnková (Sirius Films Manual) titled Calm in the Canopy, which touches the issues of fear and paranoia in the society, screened at the festival in world premiere. Michal is no stranger to the festival, as he personally introduced there in 2019 his first feature A Certain Kind of Silence.
Moreover, two major autumn documentary festivals feature Czech films as well. At just finished DOK Leipzig was screened Photophobia by Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík a two animated shorts for kids - the above metioned Dede is Dead, which proved to be a festival hit since its premiere at Berlinale, and Hedgehog by Daniela Hýbnerová. Amsterdam's IDFA will present the international premiere of feature documentary Atirkul in the Land of Real Men by Janyl Jusupjan, co-produced by Alice Tabery (Cinepoint) on the Czech side and short doc My Father by Pegah Ahangarani, produced by Czech outfit Europe Media Nest. In addition, three Czech films appeared in the program of Doclisboa - experimental feature of Jan Bušta called á-B-C-D-é-F-H-CH-í-JONESTOWN in Doc Alliance section, and short films Avitaminosis by Kateryna Ruzyna and Passportless Mess by Maja Penčič in Green Years Competition. And finally, Notes from Eremocene by Viera Čákanyová will be presented Montreal International Documentary Meeting (RIDM) in November.
International Film Film Festival of India in Goa, the largest festival in India, will present the Asian premieres of Endless Summer Syndrome by Kaveh Daneshmand, which was just recently announced to world-premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and We Have Never Been Modern by Matěj Chlupáček. The festival will also present the minority co-production Endless Borders by Abbas Amini introduced at the beginning of 2023 in Rotterdam.
And last but not least, Czech cinema has been traditionally well-represented at the two autumn festivals focusing of the region of Central and Eastern Europe - Cineast Festival in October and Cottbus Film Festival in November. The line-up of Cineast, organized since 2008 in Luxembourg, includes documentary feature Art Talent Show by directing duo Adéla Komrzý and Tomáš Bojar, animated short film Electra by Daria Kashcheeva, and the above mentioned feature film We Have Never Been Modern by Matěj Chlupáček. Photophobia or drama Victim by Michal Blaško will also be shown at the festival. Other Czech films presented at Cineast are documentaries The Great Nothing by Vít Klusák and Marika Pecháčková, Eastern Front by Vitaly Mansky and Jevhen Titarenko about the ongoing war in Ukraine, Notes from Eremocene, All About the Little Things by debuting director Denis Šafařík or the short film Island of Freedom by Petr Januschka.
In various sections of Cottbus Film Festival will appear the already mentioned films Restore Point, Photophobia, and Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light. Several other Czech films and minority co-productions will be presented at the festival including feature films Brutal Heat by Albert Hospodářský, Imago by by Olga Chajdas, Role Model by Nejc Gazvoda, Island by Rudolf Havlík, Oxygen Station directed by Ivan Tymchenko, Fugue by director Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Silent Land by director Aga Woszczyńska and short film Perception by Lukáš Mach.
Last but not least, Les Arcs Film Festival, one of the last festivals of the year taking place mid-December, will present Agnieszka Holland's Green Border in Hauteur section and Photophobia by Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík in the Oscar on skis section dedicated to national Oscar submissions. In addition, Anna Wowra's short film Stuck Together will be screened within the professional program as the director was selected to take part in the Talent Village initiative.