One of the country’s biggest film festivals celebrates 15 years

Thursday night sees the opening of the Febiofest film festival. Between now and next Thursday audiences in Prague will be able to choose from nearly three hundred films from all over the world. The festival will then travel outside Prague to eight other Czech and Moravian towns. Febiofest takes place at Prague’s Village cinemas at Anděl and when people have had enough of watching films they can enjoy a number of accompanying music programmes. Earlier today, I met the festival’s spokesman Pavel Sladký and asked him to tell me about the history of the festival.

“It all started in 1993. Febiofest at that time was a small event screening just a few films. Then it became more and more popular and this is the 15th year of the festival. This year we are screening 248 films from 62 countries.”

Do you screen only features or documentaries as well and is there any central theme to your festival?

“There are some documentaries; there are even some animated films but the main focus is on feature films. The sections are divided geographically. There is the British-American panorama, the American independent section and so on. You can see documentaries on the Iraqi situation, on South America and Israel, but as I said, we mainly focus on feature films.”

Are you actually giving out any awards?

“Febiofest has traditionally handed out Kristian awards to Czech filmmakers. But this year we are introducing a new prize. It is the international Grand Prix of Febiofest selected by a 33-member jury. It doesn’t consist of filmmakers and critics, as is customary, but its a sort of cross-section of Czech audiences.”

Sir Alan Parker,  photo: CTK
What are the biggest names at this year’s show?

“This year we start with three films and two of them are brought by the filmmakers themselves. Sir Alan Parker is going to open the festival and debate with the audiences in the so-called Cinema of Stars. We are going to screen his films including Midnight express, Pink Floyd: The Wall and Mississippi Burning.

“The other director presenting his work is Asif Kapadia, the author of the Warrior. His new film is called Far North and it’s an Inuit history from far North. There are many more guests this year, such as the Slovak actress Magda Vášáryová the Swedish directors Roy Anderson and many others.”