Press Release - January 5th, 2023

The A-FilmTeenFest International Festival will offer engaging films made by children and teenagers. For the first time, it will launch a film competition focusing on the relationship with home

More than 165 films from 37 countries will be screened at the 3rd edition of the A-FilmTeenFest 2023 (AFTF), the general partner of which is the ŠKODA AUTO Foundation. Children and teenagers between the ages of six and twenty have created engaging, original and often surprising films, more than a third of them from the Czech Republic. The festival starts on 8 February and is the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic that allows you to watch all the films online and for free at www.afilmteensfest.com. This year, for the first time, the film competition "My Home?! or My relationship to the place where I live and grow up". The AFTF and its general partner, the ŠKODA AUTO Foundation, are launching this competition for the youngest generation of filmmakers from the Mladá Boleslav, Rychnov and Vrchlabí regions. The festival also offers screenings in selected cinemas, workshops on cyberbullying and fakenews, free film workshops with consultations with professionals and the opportunity to ask young filmmakers your questions online. The show will end on 10 June with an awards ceremony, where international filmmakers and guests will also be invited.

"Between 8 February and 12 March, the festival's films will be available online in more than 25 blocks. The youngest viewers and kindergarteners as well as high school graduates can choose from a range of themes," says festival director Zuzana Dražilová. She adds that the films are thematically divided into seven basic sections: Protect the Earth in Every Country, Signs of the Times, Surviving the System, Roots, Me and My Loved Ones, Inner Worlds and Joy. All films have Czech, English and this year Ukrainian subtitles.

Screenings for schools will be offered in cinemas in Mladá Boleslav, Mnichovo Hradiště, Jilemnice, Vrchlabí, Rychnov nad Kněžnou and Dobruška. "Schools themselves can choose a programme suitable for teaching for a symbolic admission fee. Our expert lecturers will discuss the films with the audience," says Dražilová. The show is accompanied by workshops on cyberbullying, critical thinking and fakenews. There will also be free film workshops: the first of these starts in Mladá Boleslav on 14 January.

"We are not only about cultural experiences and entertainment, but also about education, non-formal learning and conveying information, knowledge and skills through audiovisual production. We want to inspire educators and youth workers. So far, 180 primary and secondary schools, art schools, children's homes and hospitals, children and youth homes and other organisations from Central Bohemia, Hradec Králové and Liberec regions, as well as other areas of the Czech Republic, have signed up for online festival screenings. This is twice as many as last year," says Dražilová.

According to her, the festival triangulates aesthetics as well as moral and social perception among children and teenagers. "But it also works to develop the critical thinking of today's youth by means that are closest to them. The project is also a prevention against bullying, criminality and other socially pathological phenomena among children and adolescents," says the festival director.

Promoting talent and self-esteem

"All the films entered compete in the following main categories according to genre: fiction, documentary, animation, experimental and other works, which include video games, music videos, etc. Filmmakers also compete in sub-categories by age: under 10, 11 to 14, 15 to 17 and 18 to 20. In total, we will give out 14 basic prizes," says Zuzana Dražilová. "We deliberately want to award as many children and teenagers as possible. It's important to encourage and encourage their talent, and of course their self-confidence, to motivate them to act. It is at school age that a person is shaped for his or her future life as an adult," explains Dražilová.

Common themes, different processing

The festival programme consists of films from 37 countries - from Europe, Canada, South America, but also from the Philippines, South Korea and other countries. "Children and teenagers bring something that is somewhat lacking in the films of professional filmmakers. It is a different, very authentic and sometimes painfully honest view of life and contemporary society. The youngest filmmakers are often concerned with their identity: why am I here, where am I from, how can I deal with my life and contribute to change?" says Dražilová.

The jury thus assesses the strength of the content and themes in the works, alongside the craftsmanship. "The films are often about finding oneself in the contemporary world, they often talk about nature and climate change or about violence and bullying among peers. What makes the emerging filmmakers from different parts of the world different is the way they process them. In Canada, for example, filmmakers are tackling the burning issue of indigenous peoples - Inuit and Métis. Personally, however, I was surprised by how many young Czech filmmakers dealt with war, the Second World War and the First World War," says Zuzana Dražilová.

Media »