'Khadak' picks up jury prize

PRAGUE — The eighth Slovak film fest wrapped Saturday with helmer Royston Tan’s “4:30″ picking up the award for film while Amat Escalante won the director’s honor for Mexican/French co-production “Sangre.”

Hermila Guedes won the actress award for “Suely in the Sky,” a Brazil-Germany-Portugal-France co-prod.

Actor prize went to Antoni Pawlicki in Polish pic “Retrieval.”

Jury gave its kudo to “Khadak” from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Zlaty Bazant aud prize and the Fipresci crix laurels went to Polish helmer Slawomir Fabicki’s “Retrieval.”

Fest attracted record crowds of 23,000, despite a disappointing year in which not a single purely Slovak feature was completed.

The $14 million historic thriller “Bathory,” a European co-production helped by U.K. backing, is an expected bright spot for 2007, as is the first English-language film of Slovak art helmer Juraj Jakubisko.

Despite that, fest held a panel on Slovak film in production.

The weeklong sprocket opera, held in capital city Bratislava, saw industryites fretting over Slovak filmmaking, pointing out that the neighboring Czech Republic, which produces some 22 features a year, got $1.8 million in state coin this year, while Slovaks got $5.6 million but came up with zilch.

Slovak public TV plays little or no role in filmmaking, some complained, while Czechs enjoy pubcaster funding and local product is aired on TV.

Slovak docus like Marek Skop’s “Different Worlds,” exploring village life, are winning kudos around Europe, but helmers lack popular features, said panel speakers.

“It’s a very sad situation,” said fest program director Petr Nagl.

Auds enjoyed seeing once-banned Czech actor Jan Triska, 70, picking up his lifetime achievement award. The U.S. resident, a star of local films in the late ’60s, was a last-minute surprise.

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