The 15th edition of the Ostrava Kamera Oko (OKO) International Film Festival, the only in the Czech Republic focused on the presentation of cinematography, will take place from 15-19 November 2023 in Ostrava.
The festival kicks off on Wednesday, 15 November, with a screening of the Romanian-Czech film Dark Ages. The main competition will feature five new films from the Cannes, Venice, and Locarno festivals. OKO is also preparing a short film competition, feature film debuts, and an audiovisual night entitled Lights of Sound. The industry programme is dominated by a masterclass by cinematographer Jack Petrycki, who has worked with Kristof Kieślowski and Agnieszka Holland.
“We are extremely grateful that the world-famous cinematographer Jacek Petrycki, winner of two BAFTA awards and nominee of three Oscars, accepted our invitation to Ostrava this year. The public can meet him during a masterclass, i.e., a film lesson, during which Petrycki will present his working methods and style,” says OKO director Gabriela Knýblová.
The panel discussion on Camera in Animation, focusing mainly on stop-motion animation techniques, will be moderated by Matouš Svěrák from AMU. His guests will be the cinematographers Jaroslav Fišer and Ondřej Nedvěd and the cinematographer and president of the Association of Slovak Cinematographers, Lucia Zavarčíková. Cinematographer Denisa Buranová will also come to Ostrava to present her new animated film Tonda, Slávka a magické světlo/ Tony, Shelly, and the Magic Light, as well as cinematographers Yvon Teysslerová, Klára Belicová, and Veronika Donutková from the platform Women Cinematographers Prague. Graphic designer Bohdan Heblík will present his new book Reflection of Czech Film Posters and accompany the lecture with an exhibition.
The opening screening of OKO will be attended by a film delegation headed by the producer Martina Netíková. It will feature the debuts of Martin Štěpánek (O malých věcech/All About the Little Things) and Filip Marek (Bod obnovy/Restore Point).
As part of the festival, we are happy to present the special screening of Annexions, a film directed by Haruna Honcoop, who will be in the company of set designer Petra Lemonnier and sound designer Bart Bielinski.
In the Official Selection, the festival’s main competition, Latin American cinema, is strongly represented this year. Films from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico are represented. The opening film, however, will be purely European and made in Czech co-production. The chamber drama Zlý časy/Dark Ages (2023, DoP B. Filip) is the debut production of Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu. From the Cannes IFF, OKO will bring to the Czech Republic Eureka (2023, DoP M. Herce) and the film collage Portraits of Phantoms (2023, DoP P. Sotero). Human Surge 3 (2023, DoP V. Pereda) is the work of a director with cinematographic experience, Eduardo Williams, who was a member of the international jury at OKO in 2016. The film was screened in the main competition at the Locarno IFF and won the Independent Film Critics Award. Locarno also premiered Mademoiselle Kenopsia (2023, dir. V. Biron), an intimate film about loneliness and isolation. And from Venice to Ostrava comes Yannick (2023, dir. Q. Dupieux), a new film by French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux, also known as the musician Mr. Oizo.
“These are masterpieces created on the margins of standard filmmaking. Yet they have the power to revive, liberate, and move it forward. We have chosen fragile films for an open, confident, and sensitive audience,” says Jakub Felcman, dramaturg of the Official Selection.
The Short Film Competition will present Filip Hájek with his dance film Impulsum, Vojtěch Lukeš’s film Skrz/Through, Marcela Mencelová and her film Muž, který neměl přijít/The Man Who Wasn’t Supposed to Come, Miloslav Pecháček’s Kurt and Jan Valis’ Trip.
“Filmmakers from among film school students are nominated for the competition every year by the winners of previous years, and the same was the case this year,” adds Zuzana Černá, OKO’s Programme Coordinator.
For the fifth time, OKO approached selected personalities from various fields to prepare their curatorial block for the festival, illustrating the diversity with which the camera can be viewed.
Visual culture theorist Andrea Hrůzová Průchová explores how aerial footage influences our perception of the cinematic image. Cinematographer and director Ondřej Nedvěd will focus on the camera in animation, and his selection includes Daria Kashcheeva’s award-winning puppet film Dcera/Daughter (2019). The platform Women Cinematographers Prague is also preparing its curatorial block. Tomáš Slunský (Gin & Platonic) has selected the Canadian film He Thought He Died (2023), which will have its European premiere at OKO.
Nela Klajbanová (PAF, AVU) is preparing a programme including an audiovisual performance by Ester Grohová and Jonátan Pastirčák (expandcollapse & Isama Zing) and the premiere of the documentary-speculative film Net Worth (2023) by Jakub Daňek, Daniel Rajmon, and Tamara Spalajković.
The programme will be complemented by photographer Tomáš Hrůza and publicist Viktor Palák, who will prepare a musical garnish to the ceremony by Lucie Králíková alias Efemér.
Industry Programme and Special Release
The Industry Programme will offer masterclasses, Q&A discussions with guests, and a section on Cinematographer’s Debuts. The latter will present feature-length debuts of cinematographers whose work OKO has been following for a long time – Filip Marek (Bod Obnovy/Restore Point, 2023), Tomáš Uhlík (Brutální vedro/Brutal Heat, 2023), Jan Skriečka (Erhart, 2022), Anna Smoroňová (Němá tajemství/Silent Secrets, 2023), Adam Mach (Oběť/Victim, 2022), Martin Štěpánek (O malých věcech/All About the Little Things, 2023), and David Hoffman (Grand Prix, 2022).
This year, the traditional Location Tour travels to Landek. Participants will see the former coal mine and the iconic chain lockers. In cooperation with the Department of Animation of the University of Ostrava, OKO will organize an animation workshop for the public, and a block of animated films from the animation studio of the Secondary School of Art in Ostrava will be screened at PLATO Bauhaus.
A special screening will be given to the film Annexions, in which students from the Wichterle Grammar School in Ostrava participated in the Erasmus+ programme. The screening will accompany a live orchestra in the new music hall at the City Campus at Černá louka.
AV NIGHT: Lights of Sound
“The longer I do concerts, the more I appreciate the visual component, which doesn’t try to be at the forefront at all costs. It’s outstanding to just be an appropriately chosen wallpaper. But then there are times when that wallpaper swallows you up, you stop distinguishing between sound and image, and you find yourself in a completely new space. This is the kind of space we would like to create at AV Night,” says Ondřej Lasák, curator of the audiovisual evening at PLATO.
In November, PLATO Bauhaus will present MSHR, a creative duo from Portland, OR, USA, dedicated to interactive audiovisual creation; the Austrian music producer Jung An Tagen and the experimental filmmaker Rainer Kohlberger, and the evening will close with a DJ set by the Prague-based Scottish producer Evil Medvěd.
This year, OKO will take place in the Etáž cinema in Dolní Vítkovice, Minikino, the City Campus of the University of Ostrava, Pet Punk, and the PLATO Bauhaus gallery, where the accreditation center will be located.
Accreditations are available for pre-sale on the website ostravakameraoko.com. They will be on sale at all screening venues during the festival, as well as tickets for individual screenings.
OKO is financially supported by the State Cinematography Fund, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Statutory City of Ostrava, and the Moravian-Silesian Region.