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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Czech Republic

The Zlín Film Festival brings hope for brighter days to adolescents

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- Inspirational teen movies are about to lock horns in the international competition of the major festival for children and youth

The Zlín Film Festival brings hope for brighter days to adolescents
Ride the Wave by Martyn Robertson

The largest Czech gathering dedicated to children’s and youth cinema, the Zlín Film Festival, will kick off its 62nd edition on 26 May. The festival returns to its usual spring slot after two years of pandemic-related disruption, this time introducing 276 films from 49 countries. “Although only seven months have passed since the selection of films for the previous edition of the festival, which was held exceptionally in September, we have managed to compile a very good programme with many premieres. This is quite a complicated feat with regard to the children's film sector,” said artistic director Markéta Pášmová.

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The theme this year is the festival itself. “We want to strongly emphasise face-to-face communication, with a particular focus on the younger population, and invite people to turn off their monitors, limit e-communication on their social-network sites, and go to the cinema, to a concert or to indulge in some other activity,” explains executive director Jarmila Záhorová.

The festival opens with the Czech-Slovak-Belgian 3D animated feature Journey to Yourland [+see also:
trailer
film profile
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. The international competition for feature films for adolescents from the age of 11 upwards will again present six movies, including Ari Folman’s Where Is Anne Frank [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ari Folman
film profile
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and Comedy Queen [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sanna Lenken
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by Sanna Lenken, and for the first time, a Tunisian film will be locking horns for the Golden Slipper for Best Film for Teenagers: A Second Life by director-producer Aniss Lassoued. The main competition will also host the world premiere of the Dutch film Bigman (see the news) by Camiel Schouwenaar, about a promising footballer called Dylan whose emerging career is thwarted by a car accident.

Furthermore, seven feature-length documentaries for young audiences will be competing for the European Children's Film Association (ECFA) Award. The competing titles include the British film Ride the Wave [+see also:
interview: Martyn Robertson
film profile
]
by Martyn Robertson; the Norwegian documentary Hello, World [+see also:
trailer
film profile
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by Kenneth Elvebakk, which previously won the Audience Award at the Norwegian Oslo Pix Festival; the French environmental documentary Animal [+see also:
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by Cyril Dion; and the Ukrainian film about the life of children in the Donetsk region, Boney Piles [+see also:
film review
interview: Taras Tomenko
film profile
]
by Taras Tomenko.

A selection of domestic productions for big and small screens alike will be showcased in the New Czech Film and TV programmes. The horror-bromedy Shoky & Morthy: The Last Big Thing (see the news), the Holocaust drama The Auschwitz Report [+see also:
trailer
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile
]
, the period drama Kryštof [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and the online webseries aimed at young adults tbh will be screened alongside a host of new domestic films, such as the 3D animated flick The Websters Movie by Katarína Kerekešová and another project by Kerekesová, co-directed with Ivana Šebestová: the 2D animation Mimi & Liza – The Garden. They will be joined by a fairy tale by Slovak director Mariana Čengel Solčanská, The Cursed Cave, and the adventurous fantasy sequel The Old Blunderbuss Mystery by Ivo Macharáček.

The festival is also organising an industry sidebar for professionals, Zlín Industry Days 2022, which entails a presentation of selected film projects by students and young aspiring filmmakers applying for financial support from the Filmtalent Foundation Fund, Filmtalent Pitching. The industry programme also boasts a presentation of six contemporary books for children and young people, offering ideas for a potential film adaptation, and a networking platform called the Central European Children’s Film Co-Production Forum, which supports partnerships between producers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Poland. Plus, festival programmer Ondřej Moravec will talk about the most important aspects of creating a VR programme – from the curatorial selection, through production and organisational know-how, to financing issues.

The 62nd edition of the Zlín Film Festival unspools from 26 May-1 June. The full programme is available here.

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