TRENCIANSKE TEPLICE, Slovakia — The Art Film Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary with record attendance and the first live television broadcast of its closing ceremony on Saturday night.
Danish helmer Aka Sandgren won the best director Golden Key for his Dogma film “Truly Human.” “Pulse” by Stephen Dean took the Golden key in the Artefacts category, a broader grouping of films ranging from fiction to art documentary.
Czech film student Jakub Sommer earned two awards, including the Council of Europe prize worth $2,800 for his first feature, “ELFilm.”
Some 25,000 spectators and more than 1,000 accredited guests and journalists attended the nine-day fest in the spa town at the foothills of the Tatra Mountain.
A major festival draw has become the Actor’s Mission Award. This year Italian star Ornella Muti, Czech clown-turned-film-star Bolek Polivka, and grande dame of Slovak film and theater (and Art Film chairwoman) Bozidara Turzonovova were recognized in a ceremony broadcast on Slovak TV.
The festival also tipped its hat to the re-emerging Slovak film industry with a closing night screening of “Uprising,” which was filmed in Bratislava and at Koliba Film Studio. Director/writer/producer Jon Avnet flew in from London to introduce the film.
Avnet told Daily Variety that NBC’s four-hour saga of the Jewish rebellion in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II is receiving theatrical release in Euro territories.
Judging by the numbers, the festival has become a local success story. “What’s exciting is the audience,” program director Vladimir Stryc said. “We have many young viewers coming here for the festival, filling the cinemas for very complicated films.”