Bratislava Film Festival
When Bratislava's International Film Festival debuted in 1999, it arrived at cinema's darkest hour in Slovakia. After producing some leading lights in the film making world during the sixties, such as Stefan Uher, Juraj Jakubisko (who is currently working on a film about the bloody Countess Bathory!), Elo Havetta and Dusan Hanak, things went into slow decline as, following the events of the Prague Spring, the arts were repressed and international recognition for Czech and Slovak artists became impossible. Although things were to pick up again with the onset of "normalisation" (when Czechoslovakia returned to the pre-reform normality), ironically it was the end of Communism that signalled the demise of the Slovak film industry. Now a separate country to the Czech Republic, and without any state funding it became impossible for new directors to break through. A sense of national cinema slipped from the public conscious in the light of the more pressing concerns of political and economic upheaval.
Nearly a decade into its existence the Bratislava International Film Festival has had a noticeably positive affect on the industry. It has given new filmmakers a platform to show their work, and generated an interest from a previously apathetic public. Importantly it has also exposed Slovak filmmakers to the best in new international films, providing some much needed inspiration and motivation.
The Bratislava Film Festival takes place in November-December of each year and comprises of several strands, the principal one being the International Competition - a competition for directors making their debut or second feature. For a programme and tickets, visit the official Bratislava Film Festival website.