The Art Film Festival in its old home in Trencianske Teplice

Košice: Slovakia’s Famed Film Festival Flying In Its Second Year in Town

Košice’s intimidatingly impressive arts scene just keeps growing (it’s already so big that we have quietly admitted to ourselves here at Englishmaninslovakia that one article would no longer do it justice). The arrival in June 2016, of one of Eastern Europe’s most important film festivals, Art Film Fest, might have been huge news, but it’s equally big news that it’s going from strength to strength in the city too, with 2017’s edition of the festival highlighting it really is a permanent (and well-received) fixture in the city events calendar now.

Of course, this news is all the more significant because the festival was already significant. It’s a festival as old as Slovakia, in fact – founded in 1993 as a showcase of contemporary film to promote awareness of groundbreaking cinema in this part of the continent. The festival rapidly soared up to become, behind Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, the second-most important film festival in the entirety of Eastern Europe. It’s necessary to remember the precedent when this fact is mentioned. What had come before 1993 was fifty years of a stifling repression in the arts scene hereabouts (no need to utter the “C” word): Art Film Fest really was one of the primary mediums through which the world finally got to see what Slovak film could do and through which Slovaks got to see what world film could do.

Jeremy Irons at Art Film Fest - photo by Radovan Stoklasa

Jeremy Irons at Art Film Fest – photo by Radovan Stoklasa

The festival’s much-loved home became Trenčiankse Teplice, the delightful little spa town outside Trenčin in Western Slovakia. But despite garnering plenty of international clout (celebrated Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko and Roman Polanski among those who attended), limited capacity was the main issue at the venue – hence why Košice stepped in from 2016 to become the festival’s new base.

So there we have it. The 25th annual Art Film Fest kicked off (as all subsequent Art Film Fests are planned to) in Košice, a natural location given the city’s renaissance as an arts Mecca. 2017 festival dates were June 16th to June 24th – 2018 dates have yet to be announced.

Kosice by night

Kosice by night

 

A Quick Guide to the Other Content We Have on Košice

Places to Go: Climbing Košice cathedral

Places to Go: Unsung charms and legends: insights into Košice city centre

Places to Stay: The city’s first ‘eco-hotel’

Places to Eat & Drink: Košice’s most imaginative breakfast stop

Places to Eat & Drink: THE bistro to be seen at in Košice

Getting Around: Košice’s flight connections

Getting Around: Quirky Košice city tours

Musings: The Definition of ‘Discussed’

nordfest

Nordfest!

Nordfest - A Celebration of film from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland

Nordfest – A Celebration of film from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland

Running until the 22nd of March in Nostalgia at Kino Nivy is a little-celebrated but extremely interesting film festival celebrating Scandinavian film: the appropriately titled Nordfest. I had a long hard look at the lineup. Most of the films are, understandably, in Danish, Swedish or Norwegian with a couple in African or Chinese, depending upon the collaborators and the setting. All have Slovak subtitles but none had any English subtitles, which sadly limited me to only two films that I could really watch: Searching for Sugar Man (on 7th March) and Factotum  – the 2005 adaptation of the classic Charles Bukowski novel – on 21st March (both in English).

 

I renew a call, as I have with the Jeden Svet (One World) Festival in the past, to showcase these wonderful Bratislava cultural events a little bit more by having subtitles in English for a few more of these films. I know we’re in Slovakia, guys, but if you had a more commonly-spoken language (give me Spanish, French, even German at a push) for secondary subtitles on these great film screenings it would help show the rest of the world just how much Bratislava has going on culturally.

Anyway, fortunately Factotum is the film I most want to see there!

To get to Nostalgia, which is the other side of the Medická Záhard, follow Karadžičova north to the cross with Pol’ná just after the cemetery, turn right, head straight over the pedestrian walkway, take the first left and then bear first right on Velehradská. In two blocks’ time you’ll read Súťažná. Turn left. The cinema is at Súťažná 18.