Czech and Slovak
Handymen Pat and Mat accompanied the third Czech and Slovak Film Festival, which again proved that it has its rightful place in Perth. And not only that, it managed to give the organizers the chance to do it under our own baton. Their legendary victory shake of hands is therefore more than appropriate.
The coincidence of ideas, our ambition and, last but not least, perseverance introduced this year’s festival to a new coat. Seven feature films and one short film were screened at three locations in three days – in the traditional Paradiso cinema, in a smaller cinema, but with an amazing atmosphere, Backlot Studios. The independent film Roots in Ego took place in the beautiful club Fly by Night in Fremantle. And the complete novelty was the subsequent dance party that followed the theme of the film. The festival atmosphere was also complemented by a party with director Jiří Strach.
The festive atmosphere of the opening evening of the festival highlighted the beautiful compositions of the young talented clarinet player Stella Sawyer, accompanied by her father Bruce playing guitar. Bowls of various homemade sandwiches along with fruit and cheese plates created an appealing kaleidoscope on the tables thanks to Miša Ondová and her catering company. Between the buzzing and feasting crowd in the foyer, there were also rare guests. From the Canberra – representative of Ambassador of the Czech Republic Miroslav Píša, Czech Honorary Consul Zdeněk Cihelka and from the Czech Republic came Jiri Strach with his wife and Kristyna Weiserová. The opening speeches started the first film of the festival – Teacher. A black comedy inspired by a teacher’s true story brought us not only into school benches of socialism, but left us with a bitter taste of the difficult dilemma of the parents of the children of the time.
Live music was not missed at Gala’s final evening. The gentlemen from “No Panic” band did not really scare us, but actually the opposite, their blues and lyrics were soothing to the soul. The final film Masaryk, who portrayed the life of diplomat Jan Masaryk in the difficult times before the outbreak of World War II, was the strong end of this year’s festival. Statistically, it also had the largest participation.
Like last year, every visitor to the festival also had the opportunity to win one of the five prizes after the final screening. The main were accommodation packages for two people, kindly donated to the Resort and Spa OK Divers Bali and the Six Foot Eco Lodge Blue Mountains. Thank you very much.
The preparation and course of the festival was managed by the committees of the Czech and Slovak Associations in Western Australia with visible enthusiasm and admirable cooperation. For example the great brochure and other graphic designs of the festival were created by Lucie Vrbská. Many of you have appreciated our work with very nice comments we really appreciate.
And the festival itself in phases:
Wednesday – The festival began with the hopelessly sold Anthropoid movie at Backlot Studios. The environment was famed, the mood was amazing, the cinema owner pleasantly tuned and the overall atmosphere indescribable. The film itself was just a cherry on a Wednesday’s cake.
Thursday – After big preparations, the official Opening Night was held, the tables were bending under a number of luxury sandwiches and champagne bubbles flowed. After the introductory words, the movie Teacher started. The movie was great, if that is the right word used for an ice-cold comedy.
Friday – The movie Eights at Backlot Studios was successful and the audience enjoyed actor’s concert led by Ivan Trojan.
Paradiso unfortunately did not disappoint and brought us an ice shower embodied in subtitles, even though everything had been absolutely fine half an hour before the start. Fortunately, after a while, the Angel of the Lord 2 is running and subtitles are working. We sincerely apologise to all of the viewers who left, we are very sorry. Otherwise, the movie was superb, as expected. The follow-up talk with Mr. Strach, the director of the movie stumbled into the early morning hours, and we laughed a lot.
Saturday – Slovak movie The Kidnapping was chilling us to the depths of our bones, but the audience praised it, which was our intention. Unfortunately, not all stories are the ones with a happy ending.
In Fremantle the feature film Roots in Ego was personally delivered by director Kristina Weiser and the subsequent dance party by DJ BBoss. This was the perfect combination for the Saturday night. It was just a shame that we did not find more crowd at the party. But whoever came was enthusiastic, and that is essential.
Sunday – Afternoon screening of the movie Santini Language screened in Backlot Studios was once again a great experience. Baroque architecture stood out from the canvas to the audience and left them with resonance of the elaborate narrative.
And then there was only a ceremony left to finish this film marathon. Closing Night and the movie Masaryk was the excellent conclusion of the festival. We experienced full cinema, great feedback and a big relief that all worked well this time. Wow. It was great and sensational.
Committee member Kateřina Švejcarová appreciated her first festival as follows:
This year’s film festival was the absolute jewel of our Czech and Slovak Association. It was worth of series of sleepless nights by the main organizer Martina Tlamsova, who deserves a great compliment! As she says: “Nothing is painless.” Each of the films screened here in Perth found its audience, from the sold-out cinema screening Anthropoid to the final movie Masaryk. The selection of movies has sparked curiosity in everybody Czech native or not. Many came to see the movies, but some perhaps to remember their native homeland as well. I hope that everybody enjoyed the sandwiches and Czech chandeliers, because we had a lot of fun making them with Míša and Maruška even though we were dangerously challenging the timeframe.
For me and my one year old son, thank you very much for watching movies close to our hearts on this end of the world.
The young director, Christina Weiser, wrote to us in the chronicle (abbreviated):
My dear friends from the Czech and Slovak Association,
Staying with you here at the festival in (for European extremely interesting city) Perth was for me not only a holiday but also a time with a deep inspiration. Every one of you I met here radiates the extra energy or aura that surrounds you which I hope I sucked in, and at least a part of it will bring back to Prague. It is the aura of people following their dreams, patiently building their lives not complaining and move constantly forward. Thank you all for contributing to make my event here ROOTSINEGO.CZ happen. Thank you and believe that our meeting will remain written in chronicles of my life. Actually not just written, but with a strong ribbon embroidered. THANK YOU A LOT!
Petra Jerejian, who took great care of our guests (married couple Strach), wrote about the festival:
At first I was a little nervous about how I am going to manage to take care of a personality like Jirka Strach. In the middle of the evening everything was ready for a “Welcome Party” and barbecue. A couple of great people came to us so we would not be alone. Even two professional chefs! But already at the door of Jirka and Magdalena’s welcome, nervousness left me. They were amazingly nice and humble people who fit right away into our bunch. In the next days the time flied very quickly. We enjoyed a well-organised opening night. The fairy tale Angel of the Lord 2 was loved and the after party was beautifully stretched out into the late hours. On Saturday, Jirka and Magdalena left us. They were amazing guests, extremely modest and unpretentious. And how beautiful was it to talk to them! Sunday’s final night was great. Excellent food tasted well and the movie was perfect. Amazing summit for this year’s film festival.