The annual film festival dedicated to children and youth has commenced today in Zlín. Celebrating its 63rd edition this year, the festival presents an impressive lineup of 295 films from 50 different countries, including highly anticipated world premieres. Open to the general public, the festival also offers morning screenings specifically tailored for schools. Due to overwhelming interest from both local and non-local schools, an additional screening venue has been introduced in Zlín this year—the auditorium of the University of Zlín on Mostní Street, as announced by Jarmila Záhorová, the festival’s executive director, during the inaugural press conference held earlier today. Running until the 7th of June, this festival stands as the largest and most long-standing event of its kind globally.
“The capacity of the morning screenings is currently 85 percent full, and the same is true for the morning film workshops. Compared to last year, the number of non-Mozlin schools going to the festival for a one-day school trip is also increasing slightly. This year, 38 of them will be heading to us, the furthest ones are from Litomyšl or Čáslav, for example,” Záhorová said. Two pairs of free buses will also take visitors from the region to the festival this weekend. The number of accredited guests before the start of the festival was 2214, similar to last year. “The capacities of all the accommodation facilities in the city that we had booked for our needs are completely exhausted at the moment. And so are the remaining free capacities in Zlín and its surroundings,” Záhorová said.
Zlín Film Festival will offer films from European countries such as Germany, Finland and France. “However, exotic countries such as Peru, Qatar and Nicaragua are also represented,” said Markéta Pášmová, the artistic director. There is a strong presence of Canadian and Norwegian scene there as well. Tonight’s featured film for the opening night is “Billie Blue,” a Canadian production, making its highly anticipated world premiere.
The morning’s inaugural film, tailored for the young audience, is the captivating animated feature titled “Tonda, Slávka, and the Magical Light.” This Czech-Slovak-Hungarian co-production, directed by Filip Pošivač, will have its world premiere. Notably, actor Pavel Nový, lending his voice to one of the animated characters, will receive the esteemed Golden Slipper (Zlatý střevíček) award this evening in recognition of his lifelong contribution to children’s and youth cinema. The festival president will also present the second Golden Slipper to actress Zlata Adamovská at the conclusion of the festival. Moreover, actors Tereza Ramba and Jan Cina will be honored with stars on the illustrious Zlín Walk of Fame. Showcasing their talent as young and promising actors, the festival will introduce Antonia Formanová and Vojtěch Vodochodský as the so-called Young Stars.
As part of the film programme’s non-competitive section, the festival will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of Břetislav Pojar’s birth by showcasing the works of Czech animators in the “Hezky česky” program. These screenings will be accompanied by special introductions that include demonstrations of diverse animation techniques. Additionally, recognizing the growing trend of web series targeted at teenagers, the festival’s programmers have curated a brand new section dedicated to European web series specifically created for young audiences.
“This year we will focus on Scandinavian productions and each day of the festival we will present one series with themes reflecting contemporary teenage issues – identity, immigration, coming out, bullying and more,” said Pášmová.
The festival’s accompanying programme will also focus on themes aimed not only at the young generation. “Among other things, there will be talks and a talk show called Life is like this, where we will talk to interesting personalities about their ups and downs in life,” Záhorová said. The programme will also include concerts, children’s programmes, workshops, exhibitions, dancing in the streets and a party tent. There will also be an auction of artistically rendered film flaps and a festival half marathon. There will be a programme for film professionals and educators.