Zlin film festival for children and young people

A 41st film festival for children and youth opens in the North Moravian town of Zlin in the last week of May. The festival's organizer are the Bonton Zlin Studios, a major audio-visual centre with nearly 70 years in the business, and it's held under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Culture. Alena Skodova reports:

Zlin is a world famous town of shoes - Tomas Bata started manufacturing them back in the 1920s. But Zlin is also known for its films, the studios dating back to 1936, and in the field of children's films the local film studios have achieved a high international reputation. The Zlin film festival for children and young people has found a permanent place in the world's festival calendar. It is a significant cultural and social event which attracts film makers, actors, producers, journalists and the leading domestic and foreign media firms. I spoke with the programme director, Pavel Melounek:

"I've been working as a programme director for three years now, we started preparing this year's festival last autumn, and now we have more than 200 films from 32 countries all around the world."

The festival programme presents an international comparison of the latest films for children and youth, including feature, animated and puppet and special effects films. Last year, Iran was the country of the season, as two Iranian films received two main awards.

"This year we'll also have films from Iran, one full length feature film and seven animated films."

A traditional part of the festival is an international mini-festival of students' films and documentary films featuring themes that interest young people. A novelty this year will be films from the Visegrad Four - that's four countries of Central Europe with close economic ties - the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, and a presentation of audio-visual work and new media. There will be several international juries at the Zlin festival, which will include famous personalities from the world film industry:

"In the main jury there will be Charlie Chaplin's daughter, Annie Chaplin, she's a theatre actress, she lives in France and is very popular there, and there will be two producers, two important persons of film business, Rock Demers from Canada and Jurgen Haase from Germany. The Czech Republic will be represented by Mr. Milan Cislar, last year's winner of the festival, who directed the winning film called 'The Spring Of Life'".