Numerous Audience at the Opening of 6th STIFF!

At the opening of STIFF the audience was shown seven movies, brought together by the topic of this year’s edition – Fear. Through three documentaries, three animated and one fiction film in two programming slots, various contemporary social questions were posed – from war-torn zones of Syria to the wastelands of Serbia where wild boys grow up in on their own terms. The second day of the festival will screen eight films in competition and open At Once, an international exhibition of GIF animations.

Sovjetski psi (Nikica Zdunić, Hrvatska, 2018.)

Can unconditional love heal the fear of meaningless existence? Can we cope with the present moment, if it is not what desire? How can we look forward to the future after a traumatic experience when we haven’t yet healed? Under the masterful hand of our artistic director Maša Drndić, the second day of the festival brings two programming slots, Interlude and Levitation.

Interlude, starting at 7PM, confronts the unbearable weight of existence. Armed with a touching story and outstanding acting, Till the End of the World (Florence Bouvy, fiction, The Netherlands, 2018) is a story about a strong eight-year-old Marie who fights for her father’s love and health, and their relationship which is getting out of hands because of his alcoholism. Being trapped in time and space of tragedy was skilfully depicted in a Croatian experimental fiction Soviet Space Dogs (Nikica Zdunić, fiction, Croatia, 2018), where pain turns into inability to communicate, safely cocooned in silent beauty, finally burning into a new beginning. A Horse with Eight Legs (Felix Mott, documentary, Germany, 2018) is a joke told by a guest in a pub in a remote German town where destinies of regular guests who seek home, refuge, family, and therapy will be revealed to us. In a jovial, minimalistic animated Hello Emptiness (Louison Chambon, animated, Belgium, 2018) we follow Eli who is “sucked in” the endless vortex of melancholia.

Levitation at 9PM brings a dreamy depiction of reality, alongside a struggle with everyday routine that threatens to destroy our dreams. So, should we give up our dreams, or fight for them precisely because they are threatened? The films in this block suggest the answer is somewhere in the middle, between heaven and earth.

In a bittersweet music comedy Girl with a Fork in the World of Soup (Yotam Knispel, fiction, Israel, 2018), one encounter will herald a life similar to romantic films to a clumsy and dreamy Dafni, a scenario she longs for and so decides to grab the opportunity. In a skilful production of the SF thriller Proxima-b (Stefan Bürkner, fiction, Germany, 2018), Captain Sternberg shares her dreams with an android Phintia SX-3 on her way to the exoplanet named Proxima-b, unknowingly creating a powerful enemy. With an inspiring animated film The Kite (Martin Smatana, animated, The Czech Republic, 2019) we levitate together back to a point in our childhood when we learned that all living creatures must die, but also that death doesn’t have to be the end of our road. Six personalities, six professions, six unbelievably contagious passions make up a witty documentary story about a magical Royal Castle (Tadeusz Kabicz, documentary, Poland, 2019).

And after excellent movies, join us in the opening of an exhibition of GIF animations, at 10:30PM in SKC Gallery in Palach, and the opening party. At Once is a side-programme of STIFF dedicated to the shortest form of moving image, the haiku of video – GIF. The exhibition is designed as an ambient audio-visual experience on the topic of fear in contemporary context, showing works of thirty international GIF animators. Curator of the exhibition is Elena Apostolovska, and the design of the exhibition is by Damjan Šporčić and students of video-mapping workshop.

During the day, join us at Fearless Filmmaking programme, tackling the possibilities and restrains of independent filmmaking, methods of resistance and brave expressions in film and art, at the discussion Pride and Prejudice, at 12PM at Mini Art-kino.