Welcome to the seventh Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia 2019, affectionately known as CaSFFA.
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of 1989’s famously peaceful ‘Velvet Revolution’, when 500,000 people took to the streets to demand an end to the one-party Communist state. As a result of residents’ bravery, a new era of democracy was ushered in, ultimately leading to the ‘Velvet Divorce’ of Czechoslovakia and the two distinct, independent republics that stand today.
Our theme for the 2019 festival, “keys to the city”, represents the people unlocking the doors of power and taking back control of their heartland.
This kind of defiance is perhaps best captured in one of our feature films, Jan Palach, which follows the final months in the life of the Czech student who self-immolates to protest the Soviet occupation of his country. This movie follows in the footsteps of the brilliant HBO miniseries Burning Bush (Hořící keř), shown at CaSFFA 2016.
And acts of defiance are not limited to Prague or Bratislava. Both the Czech and Slovak Republics are fortunate to be blessed with a multitude of beautiful cities and towns, all steeped in a unique history. We invite you to witness the landscapes of the lesser known but equally impressive cities and towns featured in this year’s films.
Our theme of “keys to the city” also signifies a catalyst for change and it has been a big year of change for the CaSFFA team. Firstly, we farewelled founding committee member and artistic director, Cerise Howard, following seven years of tireless dedication. Cerise has not left us entirely, being a curator for this year’s Melbourne Cinematheque partnership titled Prague: a longitudinal docu-fantasia. We also bid farewell to another founding member and former president Linda Studena. CaSFFA could not be where it is today without their amazing work.
This year we also bid a temporary ahoj to our host venue ACMI. While ACMI undergoes its visionary redevelopment, we have moved back to our spiritual first home of The Capitol, RMIT University on Swanston St. The freshly renovated, fully restored Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin Chicago-gothic style design is worth the price of admission itself. With The Capitol seating over 500 people per viewing, we have condensed the Melbourne festival to four days only, so make sure you plan ahead and set aside time to attend!
In Canberra, we will again be screening at the Arc Cinema at the National Film and Sound Archive, with a selection of films from the Melbourne festival.
On behalf of the CaSFFA team I am very proud to extend an invitation to all Melburnians and Canberrans to attend this year’s Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia. Whether you have Czech or Slovak heritage like myself or are simply a cinephile – or both! – we invite you to help celebrate our cultures and explore the terrific films on offer.
Marcel Mihulka, President
As ever, the CaSFFA programming committee presents a number of recent and not-so-recent Czech and Slovak films.
Join us on Opening Night for Na střeše (On the Roof) coming straight to us from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. We close with Jan Palach, the new feature by director Robert Sedláček which has been named Best Film (2019) by the Czech Film Critics’ Awards. And what of the films in between? Well!
Be sure not to miss the new Slovak thriller Dôverný Nepriateľ (Intimate Enemy), a slow-burning, well-crafted drama that will force you to face ethical dilemmas and question what you would do if you were in a similar situation. There is BataStories, a documentary on the work of Tomáš Bat’a who expanded the Bata Shoe Company and built entire cities in his name, preceded by Po Sezóne (Off Season).
On Saturday we have O zakletém králi a odvážném Martinovi (Christmas Wish) accompanied by an episode of the much loved television series Mimi and Lisa – A Christmas Lights Mystery recently awarded the Best TV Special Award at Kescemét Animation Film Festival. And this year we have two new Czech comedies— Trash on Mars and Teroristka (Shotgun Justice). In Teroristka, director of CaSFFA 2016 comedy hit Tiger Theory, Radek Bajgar, presents another all-star cast of well-known Czech and Slovak actors with comedy great Iva Janzurová in a standout performance as a disgruntled senior citizen who takes the law into her own hands. And we are particularly pleased to present Svetáci (Men About Town), the much-loved comic-farce and political commentary on Czechoslovakian society in the 1960s on Sunday afternoon.
We have continued our partnership with Melbourne Cinémathèque to bring you Prague: A longitudinal docu-fantasia. Over three weeks you are invited to join us to explore this city that Věra Chytilová saw as “the restless heart of Europe” from some of the first demonstrations within the Czechoslovakian republic (From Saturday to Sunday (1931) and Batalion (1927) through to the present day reflections on the Velvet Revolution (Citizen Havel (2008) and Katka (2010). This programme, curated by CaSFFA co-founder and former artistic director Cerise Howard, transgresses surrealism and realism, fiction and documentary, and much more in between as Prague is a city of many faces, many times, and many histories.
Eleanor Colla, Artistic Director
To showcase, celebrate and promote a contextualised range of classic and modern Czech and Slovak live-action and animated films to Australasian and expatriate audiences through a yearly, not-for-profit arts festival.
To encourage active participation in and from the Czech and Slovak communities for the advancement of their culture in Australasia.
To cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships with Czech, Slovak and local businesses and cultural organisations.
The CaSFFA Team
Marketing & Brand Manager
IT and Technical Production
Philanthropy, Grants & Sponsorship
PR & Publicity
CaSFFA functions with collaborative involvement across all areas.
Adam Johansen, Adriana Tuček, Andrea Czesaná, Andrej Bučko, Andrew Sommers, Barbora Ligasová, Benjamin Haller, Benjamin Tuček, Bradley Dixson, Brendan Black, Camilla Plummer,
Carmen Reid, Cerise Howard, Chris Barwick, Clare Douglas, David Milne, David Heslin, Dylan Rainforth, Eugenia Mocnay, Galja Vajagic, H.E. Mr Tomáš Dub, H.E. Mr Tomáš Ferko, Hana and Avni Sali, Hana Flanderová, Hana Šilarová, Inja Korać, Iona Goodwin, Isidora Karan, Jack Hayes, Ján Slivka, Jana Ridilová, Jana Studená, Jarmila Poláková, Jimmy Ujgunovski, Josef Chromý, Karina Libbey, Kateřina Besserová, Kateřina Fojtová, Kateřina Javorská, Kristýna Gardášová, Lee Farrell, Lesley Chow, Linda Studená, Liptár Folk Dance Group, Lisa and Okan Safi, Lisa Delahunty, Lisa Kovacevic, Markéta Fillingerová, Markéta Šantrochová, Marta Kapusta, Marta Kucharová Mentzlová, Martin Černy, Martin Šmatlák, Martina Vacková, Mia Falstein-Rush, Michael Koller, Milan Kantor, Miroslav Koman, Monika Kristl, Olga Junek, Ondřej Beck, Ondřej Boháč, Pavel Šindelař, Peter Denison, Petr Hájek, Radovan Holub, Silvia Panáková, Taťána Marková, Tereza Lee, The Zika Family, Tom Danby, Veronika Paštéková, Victor Griss, Viera Langerová, Viktor Schwarcz, Vítězslav Chovanec, VodaFest, Zuzana Vasitch
and all our FABULOUS CaSFFANS, GENEROUS SPONSORS and WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS.
Subscribe with CaSFFA and receive a range of great benefits.more info