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Review of major cultural events in Czech Republic in 2016

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Prague, Dec 5 – Review of major cultural events in the Czech Republic in 2016:
– The Brno Philharmonic celebrated its 60th anniversary by its New Year’s concert in the Janacek Theatre.
– The year-long programme on the occasion of the 80th birth anniversary of the late Czech president, playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), was opened on January 6.
– The Czech Film and Television Association (FITES) bestowed its annual Vladislav Vancura Award for contribution to cinematography on film director Vojtech Jasny, 90, who won fame in the 1960s and in the United States after the 1968 Soviet invasion.
– Famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwe, critic of the communist regime in China, presented his sculptural work and opinions in Prague in February.
– A Syrian Love Story, documentary directed by British Sean McAllister, won the 18th One World international human rights film festival that took place in Prague from March 7 to 16. It presented 123 films from 62 countries. After Prague, it moved to 32 other Czech towns and also to Brussels.
– The National Gallery (NG) returned the Madonna of Veveri 14th-century Gothic panel painting to the Catholic parish in Veverska Bityska, south Moravia, on March 7, within the church restitution or return of the property confiscated from churches by the communist regime.
– The 23rd Febiofest international film festival in Prague presented 150 films from 56 countries from March 17 to 25. Sparrows, film by Icelander Runar Runarsson, won the festival’s New Europe competition. Selected films from the programme were shown in other Czech towns.
– Daniela Hodrova’s novel Tocite vety (Spiral Sentences), reflecting friendship and memory, won the Magnesia Litera 2016 Book of the Year prize on April 5.
– French chanson singer, composer and actor Charles Aznavour, 92, gave his first concert in Prague on April 6.
– The 23d Days of European Film festival took place in Prague from April 7 to 16 and then in Brno and five other Czech towns. The programme offered 40 films from the EU member states and candidate countries.
– The Anifilm International Animated Film Festival in Trebon, south Bohemia, offered more than 400 films from May 3 to 8. Its main theme was migration.
– The 71st Prague Spring international music festival was opened by the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Paavo Jaervi of Estonia. The opening concert was broadcast live in selected cinemas for the first time. The programme offered almost 50 concerts until June 4.
– The 22nd four-day international BookWorld book fair was opened at Prague’s Exhibition Grounds on May 12. It focused on Scandinavian literature.
– Main projects on the occasion of the 700th birth anniversary of King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378) were launched on May 15. Czech crown jewels were displayed at Prague Castle and a large Czech-German exhibition on the emperor and his era opened in the Wallenstein Riding School on the National Gallery premises. More than 90,000 people saw it until its end on September 25.
– Israeli film Abulele, directed by Jonathan Geva, won three awards at the 56th International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Zlin, south Moravia, held on May 27-June 3. It showed 361 films from 56 countries.
– The 18th Khamoro world Romany festival was held in Prague on May 29-June 4.
– The Adoration of the Shepherds painting by Spanish mannerist El Greco, loaned from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Arts, was displayed in the Olomouc Museum of Art for three months from June 2.
– The 58th Smetana’s Litomysl opera festival offered 35 concerts and opera performances on June 9-July 3.
– Hungarian film It’s Not the Time of My Life directed by Szabolcs Hajdu won the Crystal Globe best film award in the main competition of the 51st International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, held on July 1-9. Hajdu also won the Best Actor award. The Best Actress award went to Slovak Zuzana Maurery for the title role in the film The Teacher by Czech director Jan Hrebejk. Over 200 films were screened during the festival.
– The International Music Festival Cesky Krumlov started in this UNESCO-listed town in south Bohemia on July 15. It ran through August 6 and attracted about 15,000 viewers.
– Uherske Hradiste, south Moravia, hosted the 42nd Summer Film School festival on July 22-30. It presented around 230 films.
– The Trutnoff Open Air rock music festival, which used to be visited by Vaclav Havel, was held on August 18-21.
– The European Heritage Days were launched in Slavonice, south Bohemia, on September 3. Until September 11, more than 900 heritage sights were exclusively opened to public all over the country within the event.
– The Dvorak Prague international music festival was held on September 5-24.
– The Moravian Land Museum in Brno launched the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of its foundation on September 9. They will culminate in 2017.
– The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) selected Lost in Munich directed by Petr Zelenka as a candidate for the Academy Award nominations in the category of the best non-English speaking film on September 17.
– A memorial to poet Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986), laureate of the 1984 Nobel Prize for Literature, a sculpture with his verses, was unveiled in Prague-Zizkov neighbourhood where he lived on September 19.
– The famous Czech dancers, brothers Jiri and Otto Bubenicek, had their last performance for Czech audiences at the opening of the Golden Prague international TV festival on September 28.
– U.S. writer Chuck Palahniuk, 54, was the main guest to the Writers’ Festival Prague held on October 7-18.
– Legendary pop music singer Karel Gott, 77, gave his first solo concert after successful oncological treatment at the Malostranska beseda little music club in Prague centre on October 10.
– The National Film Archive (NFA) announced that it gained and identified a more than 100-year-old film by cinematography pioneer French Georges Melies (1861-1938), which was considered lost, on October 11.
– Famous French chanson singer Mireille Mathieu performed at a solo concert in the sold-out Congress Centre in Prague on October 16.
– Spectres are Haunting Europe documentary about the Greek refugee camp Idomeni, by French-based Greek Maria Kourkouta and Greek writer Niki Giannari, won the main award at the Ji.hlava 20th International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava, south Moravia, held on October 25-30. It presented 310 documentaries.
– Italian author and translator Claudio Magris, 77, received the Franz Kafka Prize, the only international literary prize awarded in the Czech Republic, on October 27.
– The 21st Prague Theatre Festival of German Language, held from November 19 to December 5, offered dozens of performances from German-speaking countries as well as Czech stagings of German playwrights.
– A photograph from the protests during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Prague taken by Michal Sula, from the Mafra publishers, won the 2016 Czech Press Photo competition.
– Frantisek Kupka’s Series CI (Plans Miniscules) painting of 1935 was sold for 62 million crowns including the auction surcharge in Prague on November 26, which was a Czech auction record.
– Karel Gott won the Czech Nightingale pop music poll in the best male singer category for the 41st time in his career on November 26. The best female singer was Lucie Bila and the best band was Kabat as in the past years.
– In other music genres, but classical music, the Prague audiences applauded U.S. song writer and singer Paul Simon, who launched his European tour in Prague’s O2 arena, British composer and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, British singers and musicians Rod Steward, Elton John and P.J. Harvey, Canadian pop music singer Justin Bieber and Canadian jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall as well as U.S. band Red Hot Chili Peppers and British Black Sabath.
($1=25.426 crowns)

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