The Summer Film School in Uherske Hradiste celebrates its 30th anniversary

The first visitors, photo: CTK

As every year at this time the Moravian town Uherske Hradiste is host to the Summer Film School. The event, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, began as a summer gathering of a few film fans who spent their holiday watching independent films, has later evolved into a generally respected cine-meeting visited by people from all over the country.

The first visitors, photo: CTK
The head of the Summer Film School, Jiri Kralik, took over the organization 11 years ago in 1993 following the school's two year struggle for survival:

"In 1992 there were only about 250 participants, and we showed movies in a single cinema. The program was not too attractive, so the participants were not too happy with what they had seen. The break came in '93. We invited a renowned European film director Peter Greenway, and the interest rose suddenly. We established that there are still lots of young people eager to see good films who would also like to meet the film makers to discuss different issues. Therefore we followed this model in the ensuing years, when we continued inviting more and more foreign and local guests. Than we of course had to deal with the event getting bigger every year. We got into a crisis in '95 or '96. We had so many participants that we could not admit everybody. At that time we had to organise a sort of "double film school". Later we built on this experience and we tried to get more cinemas involved. We also started to show movies in other places like theatres etc. Nowadays the Film School embraces over 4000 visitors, we show films in 11 rooms, it really has become a large event."

Uherske Hradiste, photo: Martin Mikule
The Film School focuses on a few themes which are different every year. This year's themes are dominated by the topic - childhood. The viewers can see not only fairytales and films for small children, but also stories about childhood and children's worlds. Apart from others the audience has had a chance to visit a few films by the Iranian director Majid Majidi. Especially, his famous "The children of heaven" received a warm welcome from the spectators.

Another theme of this year's Film School is the Chinese cinema. The School presents one of the greatest selections of Chinese films ever shown in the Czech Republic. The Czech film director Vojtech Jasny spent part of his career in China and has a special relation to Chinese cinema culture:

"I love Chinese cinema and all the great films I could see before. Now I am looking at them because there is such a culture - old culture. I am in my heart Taoist."

The Summer Film School continues until 1 August and will be visited by a few famous film personalities, such as; Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Tom Stoppard or Andrej Zvjagincev.