Lights, camera, Prague! The Czech capital's most popular film festival seeks fresh talent

Amateur filmmakers have until the end of March to submit a film or video under five minutes in length on the theme "My City."

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 04.02.2021 15:00 (updated on 04.02.2021)

Amateur filmmakers have a chance for their efforts to be seen at an international film festival in Prague later this year.

The 28th edition of Prague International Film Festival – Febiofest will again feature an amateur short film competition called You Are the Filmmaker. This year’s theme is My City. Filmmakers can address issues in their town or community that they think deserve attention.

Films or videos should run between one and five minutes. Winners will receive a monetary award, as well as a chance to see their piece screened at the festival. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2021. Applications and submissions are accepted through an online form on the festival’s website.

The first, second, and third place winners will split a total of CZK 95,000, and the winning films will be screened as part of Febiofest’s official program.

The competition is open in two categories: individuals (and groups), and student teams from primary and secondary schools. The My City theme should be approached in the form of a short documentary, report, or survey. The winners will be selected by an expert jury.

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Collaborators on the project this year will include personalities such as Jan Faltus, who runs the popular Instagram account Lepší město (Better City), and the internet duo Janek Rubeš and Honza Mikulka, who are behind the Honest Guide videos.

“In this day and age, it’s no surprise that one can change the space around them with the help of a film. Whether you love your town or hate it, give it some of your creative time – you can bring the place you know best closer to others, inspire others through your unique vision, and even bring about the change it needs,” Honest Guide’s Mikulka said.

The festival organizers strongly urge filmmakers to follow pandemic health and safety rules while filming.

Image from Vít Rosenkranc's winning film  Robinson Crusoe.
Image from Vít Rosenkranc's winning film Robinson Crusoe.

Last year, the topic for the amateur films was the environment. Vít Rosenkranc won in the individuals category with Robinson Crusoe, a playfully narrated story drawing on elements of contemporary reality. The jury was particularly impressed with the use of sound.

The team category was won by Prague’s Secondary School for EU Administration for the film Absolute Environmentalist. The satire held up a mirror to society with delicate humor and showed that simplicity is key to an environmental and sustainable life.

The amateur short film section You Are the Filmmaker is one of four competitions featured in the festival. There are three other categories for full-length films: the main competition, comedy competition, and Amnesty International Febiofest Award.

The Slovak-Czech-Romanian-Irish drama Servants won the main competition in the 2020 edition of Febiofest. Call Mom! was chosen by a jury of viewers to win in the festival’s first comedy competition. The Iranian-Czech drama Son-Mother, which is prohibited from being screened in Iranian cinemas, took the Amnesty International Febiofest Award.

The 28th edition of Febiofest so far is scheduled to place April 29 to May 7,2021, with smaller versions of the festival in other Czech cities to follow afterwards. Last year, the festival was moved to Sept. 17–25 due to theaters being closed during the originally planned dates. Around 100 films will be shown, with both domestic and international productions.