New Indie Fest In Prague
by Michael Lee
Prague will not be without a film festival this year after all. Though the
Golden Golem Festival remains dead after only two years, a casualty of
financial collapse and public ill will, there is a new forum: Prague
Indies, the International Independent Film Festival, set to roll November
13-18 at three theaters in downtown Prague.
"This Festival is different," co-organizer Jana Kralikova says. "It's not
trying to compete with Karlovy Vary, or other similar festivals. It is the
first ever independent film festival in Central and Eastern Europe." Unlike
in the U.S., film independence in Europe means mainly independence from
government support, not from large studios. Most European films screened at
major European festivals receive the bulk of their funding from local
and/or European Union governments.
"Not many films are made independently in the Czech Republic or the
surrounding countries," says Kralikova. "The idea is to introduce people
here to the concept of independent film, that a filmmaker can realize his
vision even if the state or big studio producers will not support it, even
if he can't always use the most advanced equipment."
Not that the idea of independent film is totally unknown to the region.
Witness "Strange Times", by Natalia Piankova, made under the aegis of
StudioGorkovo, the former Moscow film monopoly turned cooperative, in which
the members sell flowers and produce on the side to raise funds for their
films, each with a budget of U.S. $20,000.
Other confirmed European entries of note: Pavel Tshukrai's "The Thief", and
25 year old Danish director Nicholas Refn's "The Pusher". Overall, the
Festival will screen about thirty features, including a retrospective,
mostly of American films, stretching from John Cassavetes' "Shadows" to Ed
Burn's "The Brothers McMullen" and Morgan Freeman's "Hurricane Streets". There
will also be a selection of international shorts. Piankova, Refn, and Burns
will be in attendance.
[The Festival is still accepting submissions. To contact them, fax Jana
Kralikova at: (US: 011) 4202 261 134. Or email @ PragueIndies@hotmail.com]