Press release 2019

In the early evening of December 15th, 2019, the third Sunday of Advent, the TEENFILMFEST.CZ 2019 awards were presented at the art cinema Světozor in the very centre of Prague - and so the first International Film Festival of audiovisual works made by young people (eight- to twenty-one-year-olds) from around the world was successfully completed. The festival was held over the whole weekend of December 14th and 15th in both screening rooms (big has 356 places, small has 52 places) of the art cinema Světozor. The after-party in Café Therapy (5 min. from the cinema) followed the award ceremony, and it was sponsored by companies: „Ovocný Světozor“ („Fruit Worldview“) that provided us with many cakes, sweets and other delicacies - as well as „Pepsi“ that provided us with a variety of non-alcoholic drinks.

The film festival for children and young people, unique for the territory of Czech Republic, screened a total number of 149 films from 23 countries around the world. There were 132 audiovisual works competing with each other, in a total of eight screening blocks, and 15 basic competition categories according to genre and the the age of the creators: fiction, documentary, animation, experimental and other videos and subcategories according to the age of the filmmakers: 8 - 12, 13 - 17, 18 - 21 years old. The screening blocks started at 10 am on both days (for the youngest audience) and ended around 11.30 pm. Out-of-competition films were screened in eight units only on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8 pm, and they were defined for the oldest audience from 16 years and above.

The jury consisted of: Vít Klusák (popular Czech documentary director), Olga Dabrowská (Czech scriptwriter and director of fiction films), Emil Hakl (well-known Czech writer and scriptwriter), Miroslava Bažantová (teacher at an elementary art school in Chocerady and producer of the Holocaust film „They Refused To Get On Board“ that won many international awards), Lukefry (well-known Czech youtuber), Karel Jirák (young Czech actor) and Anna Čtvrtníčková (popular 17-year-old Czech actress).

The head of the jury, well-known Czech director Vít Klusák commented on the selection of films: "We appreciated the high quality of all the competing audiovisual works, I think that the whole jury was pleasantly surprised. The weakest part of the films in general was sound and used music. The visual part of Czech films seemed to us neglected in comparison to foreign films. But it is very good that there is always something to improve.“

There were given 22 basic prizes: seven for fiction films, five for documentaries, four for animation, five for experimantal and only one for „Other works“ (17 for foreign and 5 for Czech work). Further awards were awarded to these films: „Best Foreign Film“ to the animated film Garden of Living made by the Danish director Sine Juhl, „The Most Original Audiovisual Work“ to 5.35 by Anna Šulcová and Jan Čadek, „The Best Czech School Film“ to Stigma by Jakub Semrád, „Best Czech Out-Of-School Film“ to Hynek by Jáchym Bouzek. There were given 21 complementary honorable mentions to 7 foreign and 14 Czech creators, 5 by the jury and 16 by festival director. This was due to the considerable quality of films which did not win prizes.

The highlight of the evening was the handover of two special festival awards. The leading Czech actress Zuzana Stivínová, a member of the National Theatre, handed over the "Ben Barenholz Award" (B. Barenholtz was an independent American producer, distributor and executive of Jewish origin, who died in July 2019 in Prague) for the Holocaust film „They Refused To Get On Board“. The „Vojtěch Jasný Award“ (V. Jasný was a well-known film director of Czech origin, one of the leading personalities of the „Czech New Wave in 1960s“, in 1970 he emigrated to Germany and later he taught for many years at Columbia University and Tisch School of the Arts in New York) was awarded for an original contribution to the world production of emerging filmmakers. Its beneficiary was the 19-year-old Canadian director and cinematographer Morgana McKenzie, who was the main guest star of the festival. She made her first film at the age of twelve and she learned the basics of audiovisual production herself, without any training.

The awards were presented by the very popular Czech singer Matej Ruppert, the well-known Czech youtuber and singer Reago, members of the jury and the festival director. The festival welcomed interesting foreign guests, such as Hermann Josef Gruel, the director of the Norwegian Youth Film Festival in Tromso, Nisse Koltze, the director of Danish Next Film Festival, the leaders of London film workshops SPARKS Dan Farrell and Donna Bamford, Viga Vagner and Mikkel Wagger, the director and cinematographer of the winning film „Bubblehead“, the Korean delegation of the film „The Moving Day“ (received a honorable mention) and others. The whole festival was accompanied by other events such as workshops, talk shows and concert and theater shows mediated by Radio Junior, the station of state Czech Radio. The most visited events were the workshops „Filmmaker with mobile“ and „A Professional YouTuber“. All Q&A and talk shows were moderated by young people from Disman's Radio Children Ensemble.

"I am very happy that we managed to screen above-average films at our festival from 23 countries around the world. We had an excellent jury of real professionals, amazing and supportive partners and the entertainment was of a high quality, and at the same time there were educational accompanying programs. We will continue this first festival year with screenings of the most interesting festival films in many Czech schools of various types. We all have a huge interest in the growth and importance of this festival. I believe that the next time it will be even more interesting and will bring some more news", said the director Zuzana Dražilová.