PRESS RELEASE from 17/3/2023

PRESS RELEASE from 17/3/2023

International A-FilmTeensFest announced the winners of the 3rd edition

This week marked the end of the main programme of the 3rd edition of the A-FilmTeensFest, the international festival of audiovisual creations by children and young people aged between 6 and 20 from thirty-seven countries on five continents, which officially opened on 8 February 2023 at Cinema 70 in Jilemnice in cooperation with the local Jilemnice gymnasium. Between 8 February and 12 March, a total of 161 films were screened free of charge on the online platform www.afilmteensfest.com in the following seven programme sections: Earth - A Place to Live, Roots, Me and The Ones that are Closest to Me, Inner Worlds, The System, Signs of the Times and Joy. In the eighth non-competitive section of the YCN (Youth Cinema Network, a network of youth festivals), four films were selected by YCN members as the best films of 2022. The selection of the festival competition brought together a larger number of films on the themes of relationships, mental health from different perspectives and identity - why I am here, where I am from, who I am, how I can deal with my life and contribute to change... In total, there were fifteen screenings for primary and secondary schools and three screenings for the public in cinemas in Jilemnice, Vrchlabí, Dobruška, Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Mnichovo Hradiště and Mladá Boleslav. The last one was on 19 March.

The winners of the 3rd edition of 2023 were decided by a jury consisting of Tomáš Hanák (actor), Alena Müllerová (producer of Czech Television), Diana Cam Van Nguyen (animator), Antonie Formanová (actress), František Svěrák (editor), Jakub Šmíd (director and actor) and Martin Stýblo (sound engineer). The jury expressed their sincere surprise at the high quality of the competition films, which reflect the current situation in the world in an authentic and alarming way.

The best film in the category of the youngest filmmakers under 10 years of age across genres was "Teddy, tell us a story" from the Prague animation workshop Aniděti (run by Kateřina Knappová), which also won the Younger Children's Jury Award. The main prizes in the feature film category went to "Beth" by Ava Bounds from Great Britain and "Distance and Longing" by Danish director Mikkel Warren. In the documentary category, the winners were "The Rock Pool Waltz" by a 15-year-old filmmaker from Australia and the debut "Paint and Pain" by an Iranian director. The best animated films were "Nameless Island" from Belgian children's group Camera-etc., "System Error" by Poland's Piotr Kaźmierczak and "Walking at Knight" by an American animator Faye Thomas. "Dada Poetry" from ZUŠ Ledeč and Sázavou, "The Complete Man" by Greek director Antonis Goumas and "Caterpillar Kisses" by American director Ella Fields won awards in the experimental film category. The best Czech out-of-school film was the clip "Robots" by animator Ondřej Brýna and the best school film was "Good Morning, Vera" by Matouš Kaleta, a student of the Secondary School of Art in Ostrava. The prize for the best films with the theme of sustainability went to "Ragworld" and "Walking Through a Hundred Year old Paradise Garden of Bobbin Lace and Needle Lace" by Marek Horáček. The Senior Children's Jury Award was given once again to Ella Fields and to her film "Over the Moon" and the Audience Award was narrowly won by the Swedish director Klara Ljung with her movie "Pyromeownicat".

The Ben Barenholtz Award for original enrichment of international animation for children and young people went to the Estonian studio "Creative Place". The Vojtěch Jasný Prize for systematic and sincere work with children in the field of audiovisual education in the Czech Republic was awarded to Markéta Rosenkrancová, teacher and head of the film club at the Mnichovická Primary School in Kolín.

A total of fourteen honorable mentions were awarded. Two of them were awarded to films made within the framework of the "Windows to the World" project of film workshops for children's homes. These were the moving documentary "Our Dreams" from the Duchcov Children's Home, which was shown only in cinemas, and the feature film "Escape from Children´s Home", which was made in the Kašperské Hory Children's Home.

In addition, a total of eight workshops were held at five schools (Bělá pod Bezdězem Primary School, Bílý Újezd Primary School, Mukařov Primary School, and grammar schools in Vrchlabí and Jilemnice) on the topics of Social Networks and Bullying, Media and Misinformation, and Critical Thinking and Argumentation. Under the guidance of professional lecturers, film workshops were held in Vrchlabí, Mladá Boleslav and Rychnov nad Kněžnou related to the regional competition "My home?! or My Relationship to the Place Where I Live and Grow Up", which, including consultations with lecturers, will continue as part of the AFTF echoes until the end of April 2023. For more information, visit www.afilmteensfest.com. It is aimed at children and young people up to the age of 19 from the Mladá Boleslav, Rychnov and Vrchlabí regions.

"This time we managed to reach a really large number of children, teenagers, pupils, students, as well as teachers and parents. The total number of viewers of the online screenings on our festival website, most of whom were pupils, students and teachers, exceeded 25,300. Viewership cannot be calculated to the nearest unit because entire groups participated in the online screenings, although we keep as accurate statistics as possible. There were 1,698 pupils, students, teachers and children from orphanages at the physical screenings in the cinemas", Zuzana Dražilová, the festival director, was pleased to say.

The festival was attended by a total of 394 Czech schools (9 special schools and 2 international schools), mainly from the Central Bohemia and Hradec Kralove regions, but also from other regions throughout our country. In addition, 17 elementary art schools, 4 Czech schools abroad, 30 children's homes, 2 youth hospitals, 2 refugee centres and 19 other different groups working with children and youth registered for the project. A total of 940 subjects and 1,742 individuals registered for the online screening, both from the Czech Republic and thirty-eight other countries.

The final awards ceremony for the international and regional competition "My Home?!" will take place on 10 June 2023 in Mladá Boleslav. In addition to Czech authors, it will be attended by authors and guests from abroad and children from Czech orphanages.

The general partner of the project is the Škoda Auto Foundation. Other partners are the Central Bohemian Region, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, AV Media Systems, O2 Chytrá škola, and the Ministry of Education (which supported the participation of children from orphanages). In-kind prizes for the winners of the film competitions are provided by the National Film Museum, Biofilms, Foto Škoda, Albatros Media, Meander and Kazda Publishing House, Grada Publishing House, Host Publishing House, Euromedia - Book Club, Dino, Tep factor, IQ Landia and Bombus. Partner organisations are the House of Children and Youth Mladá Boleslav, Kultura Mladá Boleslav, Kultura Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Kino 70 Jilemnice and Kulturní dům Střelnice Vrchlabí. A-FilmTeensFest was held under the auspices of the Governor of the Central Bohemia Region, Mgr. Petra Pecková.

"Our goal is to cultivate aesthetics as well as moral and social perception in today's teenagers, to broaden their knowledge and information, to shake their opinions and to support the development of their critical thinking by means that are closest to them. It is essential for us to inspire educators and youth workers and to support the development of audiovisual and film education and non-formal education in the Czech Republic. The activities of the festival are also partly focused on the prevention of socially pathological phenomena among children and adolescents. We wanted Czech children and teenagers to get to know the best quality work of their peers both from abroad and from the Czech Republic. This should inspire and motivate them to their own activities and creative activities," adds the director of the unique project, satisfied with the results of the 3rd year.

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