Zlín comes alive with films for youth and children

The Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth got underway in the South Moravian town on Thursday. The oldest and largest film festival of its kind in the world, which is now in its 62nd year, will feature nearly 280 films from 49 countries. I discussed the programme with the festival’s artistic director Markéta Pášmová and  first asked her what makes this year’s edition special:

“The festival is a really important event for the city of Zlín, which celebrates its 700th anniversary this year and we are of course a part of this history.

“The past two years were very difficult for us because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so this year we would really like to share the film experience with children and families and all the festival-goers. So this is the reason.”

The festival got underway with the screening of the film Yourland, by Slovak director Petr Budinský. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Photo: Dalibor Glück,  ČTK

“It is the world premiere of an animated feature film for children, made in coproduction with Czech Republic, Slovakia and Belgium, and it is the only Czech representative in the main competition. So hopefully, children will enjoy it.

“Because we are a festival for children and youth, we actually have two opening ceremonies. The one in the morning is for children and in the evening it is for adults and guests.

“So in the evening we will screen the German film The Path. It is a film about refugees and I think it has a very important message. The screening will be followed by a party and fireworks. ”

What are some of the other highlights of this year’s edition of the Zlín festival?

“We would like to focus on teenagers, because I think it is a very important group of viewers, so we created a special section of films for them called Top Teen Ten.

“Of course we are also screening films from other festivals. This year, we created a section called Festival Laurels, which showcases films that are not for children, but about children, and it is a great opportunity to see films from festivals such as Cannes, Sundance and Berlinale here in Zlín.”

Photo: Dalibor Glück,  ČTK

What about the accompanying programme?

“The accompanying programme is really special for the Zlín festival, because it usually takes place in the open air and at the moment, the weather is really nice. We offer all sorts of workshops, theatre performances and music, so I think Zlín is really very alive with the festival right now.”

The town of Zlín is celebrating its 700the anniversary this year. How will that be reflected in the programme?

“The anniversary of Zlín will be reflected in our exhibitions, because Zlín of course was and still is a film city, so we have exhibitions about the local film studios and also about famous filmmakers who came from this city.”

The Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth will run in the South Moravian town until next Wednesday. A special section will also be devoted to Ukrainian children.