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Cottbus Fest focus on Czech cinema at Karlovy Vary

AT KARLOVY VARY, THE FILM FESTIVAL COTTBUS PRESENTS ITS FOCUS 2004:
„NEW CZECH CINEMA: THE VELVET GENERATION“

At the 39th International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, the Film Festival Cottbus will be making its traditional presentation in the section „East of the West“, this year showing the film LITTLE MEN by Nariman Turebaev (France/Kazakhstan 2003). The film experienced its German premiere at last year’s festival in Cottbus.
In addition, the Cottbus Festival - along with its media partner Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) - will be inviting guests to a Cocktail Reception on 5th July. Here the festival director Roland Rust will be giving visitors a preview of the programme for the 14th Film Festival Cottbus - Festival of East European Cinema, which takes place from 2nd to 6th November 2004.
This time around, a show of films from Germany’s neighbouring country the Czech Republic, will be following on from successful presentations of Polish and Russian film during previous years. The FOCUS „New Czech Cinema: THE VELVET GENERATION“ will again be realised with decisive support from the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Central Federal Office of Political Education).
The focal point of this comprehensive retrospective is recent film made in the Czech Republic, which is particularly significant within the context of the eastern European countries as a whole. In no other country
was the transformation process of the former state monopoly of film after the fall of the „socialist camp“ as early and as radical; nowhere else can this success be regarded as having had such a lasting influence on other national film businesses.
The up-and-coming film generation, who entered the public arena after the „velvet“ revolution, has made excellent use of the opportunities given by the film business’ privatisation since 1993. Taking a look at those numerous talents who began their artistic careers almost simultaneously, after a „New Wave“ in the context of the Prague Spring at the end of the sixties, it is now possible to refer justifiably to a second „New Wave“ of Czech filmmakers. Besides the Oscar winner Jan Svˇerák, these include his contemporaries Saša Gedeon, Jan Hřebejk, Alice Nellis, David Ondříˇcek, Filip Renˇc, Bohdan Sláma, Petr Václav and Petr Zelenka.
The main programme of this year’s FOCUS comprises c. 10 full-length feature films by the most prominent protagonists of this generation, who were inspired by the new spirit of departure. The film selection throws light on what has now been fifteen years in the development of Czech cinema between the „velvet“ revolution of the year 1989 and the country’s entry into the European Union in 2004.
Numerous special programmes, primarily short films of all genres, supplement the main programme. Here one focus is on student works that have been produced at the famous Prague Film Faculty FAMU – the germ cell of all future developments. In addition, the world-wide influence of this training institute will be illustrated with a programme that presents works by its numerous students who originate from other countries.
The „independent“ film scene will also be taken into account, as well as avant-garde video art, innovative music clips, and even exemplary commercials, in which prominent filmmakers often break with national characteristics and clichés in a humorous way.
As a link between the first and second „New Wave“ of Czech film, the Film Festival Cottbus plans a Tribute in Honour of Vˇera Chytilová, the „grande dame“ of Czech film. As a graduate of the FAMU in the late sixties, she became the spokeswoman of her generation, and now – two decades later, after the „velvet“ revolution – she
teaches today’s young generation at the academy where she learnt as a student.

The programme and presentations of the FOCUS 2004 are being realised in cooperation with our official partner, the Czech Film Center, Prague.
Main supporters of the Cottbus Film Festival are Land Brandenburg – Ministerium für Wirtschaft and the City of Cottbus; First Partner is Vattenfall.
On 4th and 5th November 2004, the successful film forum CONNECTING COTTBUS will offer the opportunity, for the sixth time now, to introduce European film projects from East and West to a selected audience of specialists. In accordance with the Festival’s focus, a particular emphasis will also be placed on contacts to the Czech film scene here.

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