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Festival Dailies

SEBBE: An Intense Story of Adolesence

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  One of the revelations and big winners of the Zlin Film Festival, which concluded its 50th anniversary last week, was the Swedish/Finnish co-production SEBBE. The film, written and directed by Babak Najah, won the Golden Slipper Award in the International Competition for Feature Films for Youth category. The intensely dramatic film follows the emotional travails of a teenage boy named Sebastian, Sebbe for short, as he grows up much too fast while being bullied at school and deal...

The Glories of Czech Cinema

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   FANTASTIC PLANET (René Laloux, 1973) For its 50th anniversary celebrations, the Zlin Film Festival, which climaxes with its Awards Ceremony this evening, has been a treasure trove of cinematic gems from the past 50 years of Czech cinema. Aside from the better known films from the Czech canon (incuding such award winners as THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS, FANTASTIC PLANET, THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, KOLYA and the classic films of the celebrated animator Karel ...

Photo Exhibition Of Top Czech Directors

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  As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the Zlin Film Festival in eastern Czech Republic is mounting a photo exhibition of top Czech and Slovak directors. Yesterday afternoon, the photo exhibition was unveiled at the new University Centre, a strikingly modern building that is now a huge addition to the Zlin skyline. The photographs are thework of famed advertising and commercial photographer Karel Česal, wth a theme of highlighting the best film directing talents in both...

Zlin Filmmaker In Focus: Manyar I. Parwani

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  Manyar I. Parwani, age 34, is an Afghan film director and screenwriter who is currently making films in Denmark. He was born in Afghanistan and has lived in Denmark for 23 years, but feels neither Afghan nor Danish. He just wants to be a creative filmmaker who tells stories that touch people across cultures. He has wanted to be a filmmaker ever since he worked as an usher in a Copenhagen cinema and dreamed about seeing his own name on a poster over the ticket counter. He didn’t ...

Rainbow Marble Advertising Awards

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  One of the major sidebars of the Zlin Film Festival, which is entering its final weekend today, is the Rainbow Marble, an international creative advertising festival accompanied by a 2 day professional conference. This year's conference, held on June 2 and 3, focused on political and green marketing and on media education The public was able to view the top advertising spots in competition, as well as 2009 winners from such other prestigious advertising festivals as the Cannes Lions...

European Films In Competition at FESTROIA

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   SUBMARINO (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark) Twelve of the best European films produced during the last year are competing for the main award of the 26th edition of FESTROIA. The prestigious Gold Dolphin will be determined by an international jury and announced on the final night of the Festival on June 12. The film directors of the above films are a mix of newcomers to Portugal, as well as directors long admired here. Amongst the returnees are the Danish director Thomas Vinterbe...

Festroia Lifetime Achievement Award

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  On its 26th edition, FESTROIA – International Film Festival of Setúbal decided once more to pay a tribute to Portuguese cinema, by presenting a Lifetime Achievement Dolphin Award to Rogério Samora, who is celebrating three decades as an actor. Rogério Samora is the fifth Portuguese actor to receive Festroia’s most important individual award, after Ruy de Carvalho (2003), Raul Solnado (2004), Joaquim de Almeida (2006) and Nicolau Breyner (2008). Born in Lisbon in 1958, J...

Zlin Film Festival At Midpoint

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 THE PERFECT AGE OF ROCK N ROLL (Scott Rosenbaum, USA) Well, the good news is that after several days of torrential rain showers, the sun is finally shining in Zlin as the Zlin Film Festival hits the halfway mark of its 50th anniversary celebrations. Despite the unusually cool weather, the atmosphere has been warm at this popular and important film event, the oldest devoted to films for the children and youth market (although adults are more than welcome).   The Fest...

Vojtěch Jasný: A Lifetime In Film

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  This year's Zlin Film Festival, which is currently running in the UNESCO Heritage city in the northeast corner of the Czech Republic, is providing its visitors and local audiences with an encyclopedic survey of the best Czech and Slovak films of the past 50 years (mirroring the Festival's own 50th anniversary this year). Participating in these festivities is a dapper gentleman of a certain age who has spent a lifetime in the worlds of film in his native Czech Republic and, for t...

Growing Up Is A Bitch: Films At Zlin FF

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   I KILLED MY MOTHER (Xavier Dolan, Canada) For young people today, growing up is more complicated than ever before. Not only is more expected of them, but today's youth is barraged with media images and information that they must learn how to assimilate. Innocence does not  last very long, and for those making the uneasy transition from childhood to young adulthood, the road is a dramatic one. This has been portrayed in many different colors in several of the films I hav...

Honoring Czech Legend Zdenek Sverák

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Zdenek Sverák in KOLYA For this year's 50th anniversary Jubilee edition of the Zlin Film Festival, held in the UNESCO Heritage City of Zlin in northeastern Czech Republic, several programs heralding Czech cinema of the past and the present are among this year's highlights. This includes a special sidebar for actor/writer/composer Zdenek Sverák, one of Czech cinema's best known faces and talents.  Zdenek Sverák is a true renaissance man, having scaled the heights of the fil...

Zlin FF Film In Focus: BROKEN PROMISE

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  The stories and lessons of the Holocaust remain a potent subject for films coming from Central Europe. Even almost 70 years after the tragic events unfolded, the interest in the subject and its human lessons remains a potent one in contemporary Czech culture. Now that it is free from the Communist yolk that all but repressed the subject (although the superb SHOP ON MAIN STREET, one of the revival highlights of this year's Festival, is an exception to the rule), Czech filmmakers con...

Films For Young People Are The Heart of the Zlin Film Festival

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  LONG LIVE THE KNIGHTS! (Karel Janák, Czech Republic)   At the heart of the Zlin Film Festival, which had its official opening this morning at the Grand Cinema, the 2500+ seat movie palace that is the largest in the Czech Republic, are films made for the children's and youth market. While the Hollywood studios package big budget fantasy films for the enthusiastic base of young cinemagoers, the films being showcased this week here are of a different stripe. Whle their stories va...

Wide Screen Splendor: 70MM Films Revived At Zlin Film Festival

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  It seems amazing, especially in the context of a film festival, that there might be a time in the not so distant future when young people will think of films as something they can download onto their mobile devices and view on their mini screens. Films as big screen events may never completely die, but clearly the trend towards miniaturization has made the wide screen epics of yesteryear seem quaintly anachronistic. Well, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, th...

Pointing East: Zlin Film Festival Opens

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JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME (1955, Karel Zeman) The eyes of the film industry are pointing east this week as the Zlin Film Festival kicks off its 50th anniversary celebrations in the UNESCO heritage city in the Moravia district of eastern Czech Republic. A mix of filmmmakers, programmers, distributors, critics and journalists have come from Europe, North America, Asia and beyond to participate in this year's event, the largest devoted to children and youth cinema (with many ad...

American Rock N Roll Drama To Open Zlin Film Festival

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  THE PERFECT AGE OF ROCK N ROLL, an award-winning American Independent drama directed by Scott Rosenbaum and featuring a stellar cast that includes Peter Fonda, Kevin Zegers, Jason Ritter, Lukas Haas, Kelly Lynch, Ruby Dee, Lauren Holly and Taryn Manning, will be the Opening Night Gala presentation of the Zlin Film Festival. The film, which is making its Eastern European Premiere at the Festival, kicks off the 50th anniversary celebrations on Monday evening, May 31, as one of Eur...

As Cannes Winds Down, Zlin Revs Up

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  As the Cannes Film Festival winds down and media professionals leave en masse for home (if their airplanes are not delayed by volcanic ash or French airline strikes), 500 miles to the northeast in the Czech Republic, the Zlin Film Festival is revving up for its 50th anniversary celebrations that begin next weekend. In the world of film festivals, the celebration of film never seems to end. The Zlin Film Festival, one of the oldest film events in the world, has been planning its 50...

The Illustrated Art of Peter Sis In Zlin

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  In preparation for the launch of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Zlin Film Festival, which officially opens on Sunday, May 30th, the Festival organization is displaying an art exhibit by one of its most famous native sons, Peter Sis, the Czech-born author, illustrator and filmmaker. To be technical, Sis was born in Brno, which is less than 50 miles away, but Zlin has many right to claim him as one of their own. As the major film event devoted to children and young adul...

Where And What Is Zlin?

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  With less than 2 weeks to go until the 50th anniversary celebrations begin for the ZLIN FILM FESTIVAL, the first major film  event following CANNES, the question I am hearing from associates is: where and what is Zlin? Well, let me answer that with some relevant information on a city both historic and modern. Zlin is a city situated in the southeastern Moravian district of what is now the Czech Republic. The city is a natural metropolis, a city of statues, a university seat and ...

Icelandic Animator Gunnar Karlsson

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   Gunnar Karlsson, Self Portrait   Iceland has had a rough patch of late.....first there was the economic collapse that threatened to engulf its European neighbors and then was the volcanic ash that did just that (and continues to be a major problem for air travel). But as a corrective, the films championed by Iceland are a reminder of that island nation's special geography, culture and allure. At this year's Zlin Film Festival, award-winning animator and visual de...

Hungarian Autuer Istvan Szabo Coming To Zlin

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  Oscar-winning director Istvan Szabo will be attending this year's Zlin Film Festival, the first major film event after Cannes. The Festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a number of special events, takes place in the UNESCO heritage city of Zlin in eastern Czech Republic from May 30 to June 6. Website: www.zlinfest.cz/en Szabo was born in Budapest in 1938 to an upper middle class Jewish family. His family were hidden by family friends during the Holo...

Artistic Film Clapperboards On View

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  So, you may be saying.....what exactly is a film clapperboard? Well, since the beginning of films, the clapperboard has  been used to visually introduce scenes so that a director and editor can organize their shots. While some prefer the new digital clapperboards, many filmmakers prefer the traditional wooden ones. Not only are a kind of nostalgia for the classic period of cinema but the loud "thwack" they make when they are closed is a sound that technicians, actors and di...

British Actress Jodie Whittaker Coming To Zlin

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  British actress Jodie Whittaker is the first of many international guests to be announced who will be coming to the Zlin Film Festival in the Czech Republic later this month to help fete the Festival on its 50th anniverary. Whittaker has previously been seen at the Zlin Film Festival before, albeit only on the big screen. Two years ago, the Festival screened the screen comedy ST. TRINIAN'S in its Competition Section. This year, Whittaker appears in two films screening at the ...

Zlin: Utopia Of Modernity

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    The Zlin Film Festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary from May 30 to June 6, is a chance to not only discover cinema from the past and the present, but also an introduction to the city's unique status as a UNESCO Heritage Site. For those who know their modernist architectural history, Zlin is indeed a utopia of modernity. Situated in the Moravian district in the eastern corner of what is now the Czech Republic, Zlin was a planned city that espoused modernis...

Focus On Czech Cinema, Old And New

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  2010 is a special year in the history of Czech cinema. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the Zlin Film Festival (which runs from May 30 to June 6 in the UNESCO heritage city in the Czech Republic) but the Festival will honor milestones in Czech cinema, both old and new.         The Festival is marking the centenary of the birth of one of the cofounders of Zlín’s film...

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