FESTIVALS: Zlin festival marks 50th anniversary

Written by FNE Staff

One of the oldest film festival events in Europe and the largest celebration of films for the youth and young adult market, Film Festival Zlin (www.zlinfest.cz) 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," 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), hosting filmmakers, producers, television executives and buyers of European cinema geared to the youth audience.

The Festival will showcase an exhibition devoted to the internationally renowned Czech animator Karel Zeman in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

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.

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.