20th Festival of Slovenian Film (12 - 16 September 2017)

Overview of selected Slovenian film production

At the beginning of September, Portorož will host the special anniversary Festival of Slovenian Film, which offers an overview each year of selected Slovenian production of feature, documentary and animated films of all lengths. As befits a round number this year’s Festival will be something special. 

Visitors will get to enjoy watching films outdoors, right on the beach at Portorož. Audio-visual art enthusiasts, from creators to aficionados of film and the representatives of the “Seventh Art” will be able to view the rich selection of films from the past year in the Amphitheatre, the summer covered venue, and the main hall of Portorož Auditorium.

The Festival of Slovenian Film (FSF)  could be described as the successor to the Week of Domestic Film, which took place in the 1970s in Celje. Following independence, the event was renamed the Slovenian Film Marathon, and 20 years ago, in 1998, it became a festival of national importance, was renamed the Festival of Slovenian Film, and moved to Portorož. In the early years it took place at different times of the year, from April right up to November, but finally found its rightful place at the beginning of September, when the summer season is drawing to a close, but the sunny days and warm sea still attract people to the coast, ensuring not just a viewing of the best films of the past year, but also numerous accompanying events.

Rich Festival programme

The main event of the overview of Slovenian audio-visual production – the Festival of Slovenian Film – has long since departed from its format of a film marathon, or more precisely an overview of the entire national film production each year, and focused instead on a select competition and overview programme that still offers a comprehensive yet select repertoire of local features and shorts. Over the years, it evolved from a screening event into a meeting of creative people and the profession, which is a side activity for all film festivals. Each year the accompanying festival events play an important part in the local film industry, rather like the Olympic Games in Ancient Greek society. This is a period of peace, when old insults and feuds are forgotten, and regardless of the differences (aesthetic or ideological) between us, and regardless that this is also a competition, everyone sits down together before the film screen and surrenders to the Seventh Art. The purpose of provoking passions, fierce debate and ground-breaking views is one and the same for all participants – to stimulate high-quality work in this field. This is a time when filmmakers offer each other the respect and praise they expect for themselves; and ultimately this is a time when it is right to recall and bring to awareness the undoubted truth that only together, and in a spirit of solidarity, can we move mountains for the benefit of film art.

The audio-visual event, the meeting of filmmakers, film professionals and visitors, with its rich accompanying programme running throughout the Festival, will this year present new film works by already established Slovenian directors as well as younger filmmakers – Boris Jurjaševič, Marko Naberšnik, Jan Cvitkovič, Hana Slak, Rok Biček, Matjaž Ivanišin, Boštjan Slatenšek and numerous others.  

Like every year, the Festival will also involve the presentation of the top Slovenian professional award in the area of film, the Metod Badjura Prize, which is awarded by the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers for the recipient’s life work in film, and has been presented since the Festival began. The Vesna, which is the highest national award for achievements in film art awarded each year by the expert jury, has been presented since 2001, and this year Vesna* represents the central figure of the Festival’s visual image.

In addition to numerous selected works of audio-visual production, this year’s special anniversary Festival will be enhanced by the extensive and far-ranging accompanying programme, and by outdoor screenings, which will take place right on the beach at Portorož. So this year’s Festival of Slovenian Film will serve especially to bring together all those who love film art, from viewers to makers, and enliven events on the Slovenian coast, as well as drawing in a large number of Slovenian and foreign guests.

* The Vesna symbolises the power of the heroine of the legendary film of the same name, directed in 1955 by František Čap, a director of Czech origin. Today the film Vesna represents one of the pillars of Slovenian film history.

Text by Ula Ukmar

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