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Czech style – Focus on the Czech Republic at the 62. KFF

This year, Czech films will reign supreme in Kraków! The program of the Krakow Film Festival will include a film about synchronised gymnastics performed by thousands of athletes, one of the last films by Helena Třeštíkova – a Czech documentary master and winner of the Dragon of Dragons award, as well as iconic Czech cartoons. All this – and more – is part of the “Focus on the Czech Republic” series.

For years the Czechs have been among the nations most liked by Poles. We like Czech cuisine; we adore Czech beer, and we love Czech films. So, we couldn’t wait to hand over part of the Krakow Film Festival program to the Czechs, says Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła, Head of Programme Department at KFF. – It has long been known that Czech films possess their own unique charm, and that the local filmmakers have an innate talent for observation and for showing the unobvious – often in an amusing way. This is also true for documentaries. Viewers will have a unique opportunity to meet great characters and experience incredible stories. Czech filmmakers have an unusual quality – they embrace even very important matters in a light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek manner.

The film to inaugurate Focus on the Czech Republic is On Your Marks! (dir. Mária Pinčíková) – a fantastic Czech-Slovak documentary comedy. We will examine some quite absurd preparations for a gymnastic event held every few years, in which as many as 15 thousand athletes – former and current members of the Czech chapter of the legendary Sokol movement – take part at the same time.

Among the 6 presented feature-length documentaries, there is also one of the latest films by the most famous Czech documentary filmmaker – Helena Třeštíková, winner of the Dragon of Dragons award, and a documentalist famous for using long-term observation in her films. In the documentary Anny, Třeštíkova accompanies the title character for 16 years. She is a woman in her forties employed in a public toilet who moonlights as a sex worker on the streets of Prague.

A New Shift (dir. Jindřich Andrš) will tell us what to do when you lose your job after 25 years. When the mine closes for economic reasons, Tomas joins a state training program to retrain from miner to software developer. He accepts the challenge and prepares to radically change his life. But will a forty-year-old punk rocker who has spent a lifetime doing hard manual labour fit in with the younger digital generation?

The film Every Single Minute (dir. Erika Hníková) tells about an innovative – and notoriously controversial – method of raising children. Four-year-old Miško spends every spare moment pursuing new achievements – both sporting and intellectual. His parents devote their entire lives to their “child project”, which is to contribute to his future success.

I Want You If You Dare (dir. Dagmar Smržová) is a story about a mother and her two disabled daughters. Both are now adults, but due to her inability to move Jana continues living with her mother. Despite her illness, she would like to become independent and her greatest desire is to experience the closeness and touch of another human being. To this end, she starts searching for a sexual assistant.

Fans of Czech humour will enjoy Peculiarity of Fisherman’s Soul (dir.Ivana Pauerová Miloševičová) about a group of friends who go on a men’s fishing trip to distant Norway. Armed with fishing rods, life jackets and bottles of beer, they will have to face adverse weather, unreliable technology and… each other.

The series will also include special screenings of iconic Czech cartoons, which will be shown in an open-air cinema. It is excellent opportunity to go on a sentimental journey back in time and a unique chance to see such legendary cartoon characters as the Mole, Rumcajs, or Pat & Mat on the big screen.

The program also includes short films made by students of the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. We will also see Czech productions in the Kids&Youth Fest section for children. Kids&Youth Fest Traditionally, as part of the program for filmmakers – KFF Industry – there will be a presentation of the Czech film market, where representatives of the Czech and Polish film industry will get a chance to meet.

We will also see the latest Czech films in the festival’s competitions. At Full Throttle (dir. Miro Remo) and Reconstruction of Occupation (dir. Jan Šikl) will be featured in the international documentary competition, while Kapr Code (dir. Lucie Králová) will represent the Czech Republic in the DocFilmMusic international music documentary competition.

Partners of the series include: Czeskie Centrum Warszawa, Czeski Instytut Filmowy, the Institute of Documentary Film (IDF), the Czech Association of Audiovisual Producers (APA), FAMU ().

Partnerami cyklu są:

Documentaries in the Focus on the Czech Republic program:

  • Anny, dir. Helena Třeštíková, 67’, Czech Republic 2020
  • Peculiarity of Fisherman’s Soul, dir. Ivana Pauerová Miloševičová, 77’, Czech Republic 2021
  • I Want You If You Dare, dir. Dagmar Smržová, 84’, Czech Republic 2019
  • Every Single Minute, dir. Erika Hníková, 80’, Czech Republic/Slovakia 2021
  • A New Shift, dir. Jindřich Andrš, 91’, Czech Republic, 2020
  • On Your Marks!, dir. Mária Pinčíková, 80’, Czech Republic/Slovakia 2021

Documentaries in the international documentary competition:

  • At Full Throttle, dir. Miro Remo, 85’, Czech Republic, Slovakia 2022
  • Reconstruction of Occupation, dir. Jan Šikl, 100’, Czech Republic 2021

Documentaries in the DocFilmMusic international music documentary competition:

  • Kapr Code, dir. Lucie Králová, 91’, Czech Republic 2022

Czech cartoons in open-air cinemas:

  • Bob a Bobek – králíci z klobouku: Na koncertě, anim. 7’, Czech Republic 1977
  • O loupežníku Rumcajsovi: Jak Rumcajs vysadil duhu na nebe, anim. 8’, 1967
  • O makové panence: O makové panence a veverce Barče, anim. 6’, 1972
  • O Sazinkovi: Jak Sazinka s dětmi chytal zloděje, anim. 7’, 1975
  • Pohádky z mechu a kapradí: Kterak pekli kaštany, anim. 7’, 1970
  • Rákosníček a hvězdy: Jak Rákosníček zachraňoval raka, až se mu zatočila hlava, anim. 7’, 1975
  • Říkání o víle Amálce: Jak přetancovala obra Hrompace, anim. 7’, 1975
  • Štaflík a Špagetka: Jak Štaflík a Špagetka nemohli usnout, anim. 6’, 1971
  • Pat a Mat: Grill, anim. 9’, 1981
  • Krtek: Krtek filmová hvězda, anim. 28’, 1988

Krakow Film Festival is included on the prestigious list of film events qualifying for the Academy Awards in the short film competition (fiction film, animated film, documentary film) and feature-length documentary film competition, as well as recommending films for the European Film Awards in the same categories. The festival also qualifies for BAFTA awards in the short documentary and fiction film category.

The Kraków Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation. 

A full program of this year’s Festival and tickets will be available in May 2022 at www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

The Krakow Film Festival will be held in Kraków cinemas from 29 May to 5 June, and online throughout Poland on 3–12 June 2022.