Festival celebrates vibrant Czech comic scene
On Tuesday the first ever festival of comic art in Prague - KomiksFEST2006 - officially opened at the Svetozor art theater, just a stone's throw from Wenceslas Square. Twelve locations around the city will host KomiksFEST events, which run the gamut from exhibitions of graphic art to movies and plays. The festival highlights the work of Czech artists like Jiri Grus and Karel Jerie, and is designed to attract comics lovers as well as the general public.
Radio Prague's Emily Udell caught up with co-organizer of KomiksFEST2006 and editor-in-chief of komiks.cz Tomas Hibi Matejicek just before the festival's grand opening. Emily began by asking him what kind of events people can expect during the month-long festival.
"We want the festival to open to a very wide public and we want to show the people that Czech comics really do exist and have some very nice connections with other subcultures. So we are presenting not only full-length feature films in Svetezor, but also short animations. And we are presenting about seven exhibitions of Czech authors, two concerts and two theater plays, as well as some discussions and publishers' presentations. We want to show people that comics is a really interesting medium and there is something to be interested in."
"It is quite a pity that almost none of the Czech authors are known in foreign countries. The Czech scene has been developing quite a lot in the past five years and many Czech authors and artists are pretty good and I think they can be easily compared to the artists outside our borders. But unfortunately almost none of the projects have been published outside. There are some of them because there are some very active people in the Czech comic scene, mostly from Brno, and they are trying to push Czech comics into some friendly magazines, mostly in Eastern Europe. And there are some individual projects that were presented in France and in some other countries. But I think the Czech scene is too close to the Czech Republic because almost no one outside our borders knows about it."
What do you think that a wider public - say somebody who doesn't know anything about comics - will get out of attending the events at this festival?
"I think he may get a lot of surprises. Because he may find out that not only that Czech comics is not only Zeleny Raul or Ctyr Listek, but that there are a lot of projects being run and the Czech comic scene is very rich in its variety and it has very interesting projects and connections to some other subcultures. So I think this festival may - or should - open the eyes of wide public to meet comics."