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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Czech Republic

Zlín Film Fest unveils the competition titles for its upcoming 60th edition

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- The Czech film The Pack and Slovakia’s Summer Rebels will be vying for the main prizes at the gathering

Zlín Film Fest unveils the competition titles for its upcoming 60th edition
Summer Rebels by Martina Saková (left) and The Pack by Tomáš Polenský

The International Film Festival for Children and Youth (Zlín Film Festival), the oldest and largest film festival for children, has revealed the competition titles for its 60th-anniversary edition, which has been postponed to 4-10 September, owing to the pandemic. "Youth-orientated or coming-of-age films are increasingly in the lenses of filmmakers, and they are being found not only at festivals such as the Zlín Film Festival, but also at Sundance-type film events. This year's Zlín youth competition also offers strong stories in which young people reach a new stage in their lives, but some are also in borderline situations in their fights against contemporary society," says the festival’s artistic director, Markéta Pášmová, about the competition line-up.

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In the International Competition of Feature Films for Children selection is the Brazilian film Monica and Friends by Daniel Rezende, based on the comic book by Mauricio de Sousa; Xie Deju and Huang Zhanchang’s co-directed effort Starry Road, following a group of kids trying to find a way out of their provincial Chinese school by attending the World Jump Rope Championships; John Sheedy’s feature debut, the coming-of-age tale H Is for Happiness, an adaptation of Barry Jonsberg’s novel My Life as an Alphabet, which previously bowed in this year’s Berlinale Generation sidebar; and the Slovakian-German co-production Summer Rebels [+see also:
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(see the report), the feature debut by Slovakian director Martina Saková, following 11-year-old Jonas, who is trying to get his grandpa in a good mood again after he lost his job, by creating an online dating account for him, among other things.

The International Competition of Feature Films for Youth will host the world premiere of the domestic film The Pack [+see also:
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, the first feature-length directorial effort by Tomáš Polenský (see the news), a sports drama about bullying. "The Pack is a film about teenagers, for teenagers. As such, it fits exactly into the profile of films that the Zlín Film Festival has been offering to its audiences for 60 years. We are glad that the Czech Republic will have its own candidate in the international competition, which, especially in recent years, has not been all that common. We are all the more pleased that a story set in Zlín – moreover, about hockey in Zlín – will have its premiere right in front of a Zlín audience. We believe that its screening at this festival will also be a successful start for the film's participation in foreign festivals," says the artistic director.

The overarching topic of the 60th edition is “Back to the Future”, and the festival will present a special anniversary sidebar called “2020: Back to the Future”, which aims to “broaden the horizons of young visitors in the area of science and technology. The films will be dramaturgically divided into three groups: documentary films on science and technology, live-action sci-fi fiction films for children and youth, and a section devoted to special effects in film,” according to Pášmová. The 2020 edition of the Zlín Film Fest will also pay tribute to filmmaker Ray Harryhausen in celebration of the centenary of his birth, while special effects creators will be celebrated in the “Magic of Film Tricks” section.

The full line-up of the International Competition of Feature Films for Children comprises Summer Rebels by Martina Saková (Germany/Slovakia), Monica and Friends by Daniel Rezende (Brazil), H Is for Happiness by John Sheedy (Australia), Starry Road by Xie Deju and Huang Zhanchang (China), The House of Us by Ga-eun Yoon (South Korea), The Crossing [+see also:
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interview: Johanne Helgeland
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by Johanne Helgeland (Norway) and My Hero Alexis by Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile).

Meanwhile, the full line-up of the International Competition of Feature Films for Youth comprises Sunburned by Carolina Hellsgard (Germany/Poland/Netherlands), Life without Sara Amat [+see also:
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by Laura Jou (Spain), The Pack by Tomáš Polenský (Czech Republic/Slovakia/Latvia), Rocks [+see also:
film review
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interview: Sarah Gavron
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by Sarah Gavron (UK), Perfect 10 [+see also:
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by Eva Riley (UK) and Summer White by Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson (Mexico).

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