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Zlin will turn 50 and will further celebrate kids movies

One of the oldest film festival events in Europe and the largest celebration of films specifically for the youth and young adult market, Film Festival Zlin marks a milestone 50th anniversary this year when it unspools from May 30 to June 6 in the cultural heritage Moravian city in eastern Czech Republic.

"We are expecing attendance at the Festival this year to be over one hundred thousand", Film Festival Zlin artistic director Petr Koliha announced. "The 50th anniversary has already aroused much interest in the Czech Republic and abroad." Of special importance in the world of childen/young adult cinema will be the convening of a special forum of the European Children's Film Association (ECFA) during the Festival. In this way, Zlin will host the important filmmakers, producers, television executives and buyers of European cinema geared to the youth audience.

A number of special events are being planned and will be announced in the coming weeks. The Festival has already proclaimed that the Festival will showcase an exhibition devoted to the internationally renowned Czech animator Karel Zeman in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. In February, in parallel with the Berlin Film Festival, the Film Festival Zlin hosted a cocktail reception in honor of “The Film Magician Karel Zeman” exhibition at the Czech Centre in Berlin. This special exhibit moves from Berlin to Zlin during the Festival dates, continuing a world tour that began at Prague’s Hybernia Theater and the Bohemian National Hall in New York City in late 2009.

Another exhibition that opened on March 29 is also part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. The 2010 Mini Salon of Film Clapperboards, a composite of 80 original artworks in the style of film clapperboards that have been traditionally used in marking scenes in filmmaking since the beginning of sound film, opened in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on March 29 and will remain in the Chamber through the end of this week.

From there, the exhibition will be seen at the historic Hybernia Theater in Prague until it travels to Zlin next month for a display in the city’s Galerie pod Radnicí (Gallery Under the Town Hall). The full Salon of Film Clapperboards, composed of over 120 original artworks will then be auctioned off as a fundraising event for the Festival on June 4 at the Academic Centre of the Tomas Bata University.

2010 is a special year in the history of Czech cinema. The Festival is also marking the centenary of the birth of one of the cofounders of Zlín’s film studios, Oscar-winning director Elmar Klos, who won the Best Foreign Film Oscar together with Jan Kadar for the celebrated film THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET. Klos, who died in Prague in 1993, was a major figure of the Czech film scene and a prime mover in the establishment of Zlin as a city of culture and the filmic art.

Another milestone event being celebrated this year is the 70th anniversary of the Film Harvest, also known as the Zliennale, which was the first major film event in what was then Czechoslovakia. Held in 1940 and 1941, and then suspended due to the depravation of the war years, the event was one of the first of its kind held in Europe. Film selections from thoseearly years of this international showcase of cinema, including the presentation of many restored and “lost” Czech films, will be part of this celebration of both Czech cinema and the city of Zlin’s importance in Czech film history.

However, this year’s celebration does not ignore the new works being produced by innovative Czech film artists. The Festival will be dedicating a non-competitive Festival section to Czech and Czechoslovak cinema. This special "country focus" will be part of a program that will showcase nearly 500 hundred feature films, documentaries, animation and short films from around the world.

For more information on this year's program and special events, visit the Festival's website: http://www.zlinfest.cz/en/

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