Febiofest has a new comedy competition, new sections and a focus on emerging talent

A new artistic director is taking the 27th edition of Febiofest in a new direction

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 10.02.2020 10:00:48 (updated on 10.02.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

The 27th Prague International Film Festival – Febiofest will take place March 19–27, with new programming sections, an added venue, and two completions.

The bulk of the films will again be at CineStar Anděl, with some others at Ponrepo and for the first time at Edison Filmhub.

Czech actress Iva Janžurová will receive a Kristián Award at the festival’s closing ceremony. Her films Morgiana, Boarding House for Bachelors (Pension pro svobodné pány), and Ene Bene will be screened. The award is named for a classic 1939 Czechoslovak film.

Iva Janžurová in Morgiana, 1972

Febiofest has a new artistic director, Nikolaj Nikitin, who wants to bring a new perspective to the festival. He said he hopes to present artistic films that the Prague audience can relate to, while avoiding “arrogant” films. He also wants to focus on emerging talents, as debut films are often a window to the filmmaker’s soul. New categories will be introduced this year.

The festival’s films are divided into 14 sections. Some popular sections have been kept including Panorama, with notable new works and hits from film festivals, Generation, which focuses on family screenings, and Queer Now, covering LGBT themes. Sections on documentaries, current TV production, and retrospectives of award winners are also back.

Roman Polanski’s new film An Officer and a Spy, about France’s 19th century Dreyfus Affair, will be in the Panorama section. The film won the second-biggest prize, the Silver Lion, at the Venice International Film Festival.

The social drama Corpus Christi by Polish director Jan Komasa has been nominated for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars. The story of a young man who undergoes a spiritual transformation at a youth detention center had its world premiere at Venice and will be screened in the Panorama section.

A new Comedy Competition features art house-style comedies that are largely neglected by festivals. The section will close with a special screening of The Circus, a 1928 film by Charlie Chaplin. The jury will have 33 film fans plus an honorary chairman from the Czech film realm.

The Main Competition has debut films on the themes of human dignity and the power of personality. The section will be, for the first time, evaluated by an expert jury consisting of Czech actor and director Jiří Mádl, Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi, and Canadian director Denis Côté, whose films will also be showcased.

A retrospective will focus on the work of Max Ophüls, a German director escaped the Nazis and worked mainly in France and the US, where he made almost 30 films. He is renowned for his innovative approach to film language.

Febiofest is bringing in new sections, such as Planet Dark, centered on dark genres including horror, thriller, true crime and movies with crude humor.

Focus on: Busan is a curated selection of films from across Asia. Jay Jeon, director of Busan International Film Festival, is in charge of the section’s content.

The Eastern Delights section combines the former Centropa and Balkan Echoes sections. It showcases works by both major and emerging directors from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

In cooperation with the Girls in Film platform, the festival will showcase new works by the emerging generation of female directors.

Slovak screenwriter and director Mira Fornay’s new filmCook, F**k, Kill concerns a day in the life of Jaroslav K., who is fighting for his children – not only with his wife and his domineering mother, but also with his own dark side and demons. It will be screened in both the Eastern Delights and Girls in Film sections.

The Culinary Cinema concept has three special evenings combining film screenings and a themed dinner. The menus have been created by Mirek Kalina, Tereza Jeřábková, and Ondřej Koráb. The three films are Puzzle, The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, and Le Chocolat de H. After the screenings, guests will move to the Delight restaurant at hotel Vienna House Andel’s Prague.

The amateur shorts competition You’re the Filmmaker is already underway and has a deadline of February 21. Both individuals and school teams can submit films of one to five minutes. The theme of the competition’s seventh edition is a major issue at present: the environment, climate change and its impact on our surroundings.

As every year, viewers can purchase festival passes for three, five or nine days with which they get access to available tickets. Pre-sale of passes begins February 6. Online tickets will be available from March 4.

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