I participated in the Film Festival/ Summer Film School at Uherské Hradiště this year and was bowled over by the experience. Thousands of people streaming the streets of an extraordinarily pretty town in the Czech Republic – many of them very young – arriving from all parts of the country and abroad to see films, listen to lectures, participate in discussions. The town itself contributing all of its institutional resources to make it possible. Uherské Hradiště had turned over theatres, schools, gyms, centres and every available tent to the Festival/ Summer School so that many different types of films could be screened and also so that young people can just roll out their sleeping bags and have a place to sleep. There are no searchlights, limousines or red carpets. But there is excellent programming, a pedagogic ethos, a party atmosphere, famous guests (Lav Diaz this year), and superb organisation that makes for a rich, varied and democratic experience. Everyone seemed eager to see and learn.
These are some of the reasons why I wanted to talk to Jan Jílek, Programme Director of Film Festival/ Summer Film School, Uherské Hradiště. In the podcast we talk about the roots of the festival in the Film Club Movement and its continuing connection with the Association of Czech Film Clubs (AČFK); how the festival tries to build on its heritage while also helping construct new audiences for diverse work; the changing role but continued importance of introductions and programme notes; how distinguished guests are important but how the main focus is really on the audience; we discuss the infrastructure of programming (first blocks, then sections, then films); the continuing focus on education (Lectures, Master-classes, Introductions, notes); there is also an industry stand; and we question the Festival/School’s connection to a history/development of Czech cinema. Finally, the festival will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary so we discuss some of the highlights of previous years and what to look for next July/August when this extraordinary event celebrates its 50th anniversary. May it long continue.
The podcast may be listened to here:
The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT