The 13th edition of the international film festival focused on cinematography, Ostrava Kamera Oko, starts on Wednesday 29 September with a screening of the new Czech-Swiss comedy Lost in Paradise. Over the course of five days, the festival will offer more than thirty short and feature-length films from the fields of fiction, documentary, and experimental film with an overlap into the visual arts, as well as an extensive accompanying programme. The festival will run until Sunday 3 October.
Official selections from international festivals, the Short Film Competition for young domestic cinematographers, film selections in the Curator’s Selection, Audiovisual Evening with Genot Centre and Industry with a number of guests — Ostrava Kamera Oko festival presents this year’s programme, runing from 29 September to 3 October in the cinemas Etáž (Dolní oblast Vítkovice), Art (Dům kultury města Ostravy), and in the PLATO gallery.
The main festival competition, the Official Selection, will present six feature films that have caught the attention of programmers at international film festivals. From this year’s Cannes Film Festival, OKO brings to the Czech Republic the latest film by French director Bruno Dumont and cinematographer David Chambille France (2021) – an addressable allegory on contemporary France. The competition will also include a minimalist film with medium-length footage, First Moment (2021). Its author, German cinematographer, director, and conceptual artist Nicolaas Schmidt presented it at this year’s IFF Locarno. The next film in the Official Selection is the Serbian black comedy Heavens Above (2021), also released this August in Locarno. Films Honeymood (2020) by cinematographer Yaron Scharf and director Talya Lavie are a year older. The story of this romantic comedy begins where all others end – the wedding night. The penultimate nominee for the festival’s main prize is the Japanese drama True Mothers, about adoptive parents whose happy life is interfered with by their son’s alleged biological mother. In addition, last year’s Modern Loves (2019) from Mexico will also appear in the Official Selection.
“Both 2020 and 2021 are strange years. Films had their careers ruined, there was no time to put them on, and when they did enter the cinemas, they were not well attended. Dozens of films are now in limbo. We therefore decided to at least symbolically commemorate last year’s film apocalypse by re-releasing Modern Loves,” says Jakub Felcman, the competition’s chief dramaturg, describing what led his team to rerun the film.
The second competition section – Short Film Competition – annually presents emerging Czech and Slovak cinematographers. This year will be Helena Fikerová with her film Sleeping, Barbora Kučeríková and her film Between, Zdena Sýkorová and her Intermezzo, Lubomír Ballek with his film Sing and Patrik Balonek with his film Red Cap F 30.2.
The winner of the Official Selection will be decided by an international jury consisting of young emerging filmmakers – Indian cinematographer Bhumika Singh, South Korean cinematographer Tae Ho Kim and domestic filmmaker Jana Hojdová, whose feature debut Mirrors in the Darkness was screened at this year’s KVIFF and will also be presented to the audience of Ostrava Kamera Oko. The jury of the Short Film Competition will include established filmmakers George Chiper Lillemark from Romania, Irina Lubtchansky from France, and Santiago Racaj from Spain.
During the opening ceremony, which will take place in the Etáž cinema on Wednesday 29 September at 20.00, the new Czech-Swiss comedy Lost in Paradise starring Hana Vagnerová will be presented. It will be personally introduced at the opening ceremony by cinematographer Yvon Teyssler and director Fiona Ziegler.
Moreover, the Czech documentary about Sokol On Your Marks! will be released. – its cinematographer Denisa Buranová will also be present at the festival.
Curatorial Selection and Industry Program
This year, the OKO programme team approached selected personalities from the field of film and art to create their own curatorial selections for Ostrava Kamera Oko, reflecting their approach to the camera and film in general. This year’s film selection will be presented by film and media theorist Kateřina Svatoňová, film director Michal Hogenauer, and conceptual sculptor David Fesl.
The industry Programme will offer festival guests, experts, students and interested members of the general public the traditional Location Tour, a walk through interesting locations in the Moravian-Silesian Region, this year situated in the post-mining landscape of Karviná; a lecture and presentation by Julia Žáčková from the NOCHI talent agency on cinematographers represented by agents; a Masterclass by cinematographer Kryštof Hlůže, who, in addition to traditional cinematography, also works with visual artists; and two retrospectives of the work of currently debuting cinematographers.
The first one will be dedicated to Jana Hojdová, a juror of the Official Selection and a filmmaker, whose feature debut Mirrors in the Dark is soon to be released and who is currently preparing a documentary about Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (collaborator of Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Robert De Niro). The second retrospective will present the work of Tomáš Frkal (the director of photography of the successful documentary New Shift)). The selection of his short films will also include a new film by directors Eliška Kováříková and Adam Struhala, The Glory of Terrible Eliz.
As part of the Industry Programme, the partner Association of Czech Cinematographers will bring Shadow Country by Divis Marek and an exhibition dedicated to the centenary of this organisation. It will be on display on Prokešovo náměstí in front of the Ostrava New Town Hall.
Accompanying program – night at PLATO and art in the streets
Ostrava Kamera Oko in cooperation with the Prague music publishing house Genot Centre present audiovisual night in the PLATO Ostrava gallery. The intense musical and visual experience consisting of ten performances by domestic and international artists begins on Saturday 2 October at 9pm and ends with a shared breakfast at sunrise on Sunday morning.
This year’s Ostrava Kamera Oko also includes the OKO Warm Up, which extends into the visual arts and reflects different artists’ approaches to the camera. Jakub Jansa, Valentýna Janů, Johana Novotná and Televize Estráda will present their work both in selected places in the public space of the city and directly in movie halls.