The annual festival in Košice, Slovakia, rewards films by local television, production companies and young authors
The 18th International Festival of Local Televisions, the Golden Beggar, held each year in Košice, Slovakia, concluded Saturday June 16 with the award of top prizes to films from Belarus, Slovakia and Macedonia.
The awards ceremony brought to an end a festival that included a competition among nearly 100 films and a coming together of more than 130 producers and media professionals from 20 countries in Europe and North America.
Also part of the festival was the screening in the city’s Ster Century Cinemas of a broad variety of films – from Norway, Poland, the Balkans and Russia, among other countries. Notably, there were Russian films that concerned World War II, like “The Minefield,” and “The Color Waltz.”
Mikhail Alexeieff, head of the Russian Foundation for Support of the Development of Cinema came to Košice with the films. He said he liked what he saw in the Slovak city.
“This festival has a small family atmosphere,” he said. “I feel more comfortable here than at the Moscow festival, which increasingly has a student mood.”
Alexieff offered the Košice festival director Eva Dekanovská the possibility of the Slovak festival’s cooperation with Russian film festivals in Yalta, Ukraine.
“This is a prestigious event as well,” he added in speaking of the Košice festival. “It opens up the possibility of the presentation of Slovak films in Russia. We shall discuss this.” Alexieff left Košice and went directly to Moscow for the opening of a film festival there.
The Golden Beggar Festival also opened up the possibility of new areas of cooperation in future editions. For example, Piero Bordin, founder and artistic director of Art Carnuntum at the ancient Roman site between Bratislava and Vienna, discussed the possibility of cooperation in 2013 during the year that Košice is Culture Capital of Europe.
The European Capital of Culture idea was initiated by the late Greek actress and singer Melina Mercouri, who was culture minister of Greece and with whom Bordin worked professionally.
At this year’s Golden Beggar Festival, the participants discussed topics like new media, social networking and participative media, in which citizens produce for stations.
Dr. Paul Mihailidis, a professor at Emerson College in the United States, noted that the Internet is a platform that easily crosses borders and is available for minority views, some of them extremist. On the other hand, he said, the openness of the Internet made possible the phenomenon of the Arab Spring, in which several authoritarian governments were toppled, and made possible the” Occupy” movement, which has called attention to income inequality.
Participants on Mihailidis’s panel agreed that television does not yet have to worry about being supplanted by the Internet, because it is still regarded as more balanced in comparison to the web, which often presents unverified information.
Technical innovations that have fueled the rise of the Internet can provide tools especially for community television to become an even better information service.
An eight-member international jury decided the winners in the program competition. Top prizes, Golden Beggar statues, were awarded in three categories – local television, production companies, and young authors.
The jury’s president, Ed Baumeister, said there were simply not enough prizes for the number of excellent films presented in competition.
“There is a financial crisis, and an economic crisis and a euro crisis,” he noted. “At the festival there is a prize crisis – more films deserve prizes but our number is limited. As crises go, for the jury, it is a nice crisis. We have too much of a good thing – excellent films.
“I think especially of a film from Bosnia. It is not about the war. It is not about Serbs vs. Bosniaks vs. Croats. It is not about hate. It is about love, and it is a perfect film about love. I used to work in Bosnia, and until I saw this film, I associated Bosnia with terrible things. Now I associate Bosnia with love.”
The International Festival of Local Televisions is a project of the City TV Foundation, which is based in Kosice.
The winners and their prizes:
Golden Beggar for Local Television
“The Recyclator” from Macedonia
Director: Zoran Dimov
Chosen by the jury for its careful portrayal of an effort to turn rubbish collection among Roma into a recycling business.
Golden Beggar for Production Companies
“Bell Ringer” from Belarus.
Director: Kate Makhova
Chosen by the jury for its moving portrayal of an ageing church bell ringer who is working to pass on the essentials of his profession to a young apprentice.
Golden Beggar for Young Authors
“The Star” from Slovakia
Director: Andrej Kolenčik
Chosen by the jury for its sympathetic look at the life of an amateur actor – a man who in the root meaning of the word “amateur” really loves the theater.
Prize of the Journalists Association of Serbia “Zora”
“We, Central American Women” from Spain
Director: Unai Aranzadi
Chosen by the jury for the effective yet sympathetic way in which it portrayed the plight of many women who live in Central America.
Prize of the Slovak Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission
“Nad Kežmarokom Vietor Veje” (“The Wind Blows Over Kežmarok”) from Slovakia
Director: Pavol Pekarčik
Chosen by the jury for its careful and literally animated retelling of some of the history of what was once a royal city.
Prize of the TV Festival Press Vitez
“Bassin de Vie” (“Catchment Area”) from France
Chosen by the jury for its delicate but direct handling of the issues affecting the acceptance of residents of France of North African origin.
Prize of the Fogelsong Foundation of the United States
“The Gypsy Heart” from Slovakia
Director: Ján Križovenský
Chosen by the jury for its directness in describing the sometimes unusual tensions that exist in the Roma community.
Honorable Mentions of the Jury
“Ark” from Belarus
Director: Andrei Kutsila
Chosen by the jury for the powerful use by a young author of the several instruments of television to tell a historical story.
“She” from Spain
Director: Juan Montes de Oca
Chosen by the jury for its stunningly professional use of animation to tell a touching story of long-lasting love.
“Fred’s Pole-Sitting Contest” from The Netherlands
Director: H. Beijer
Chosen for the way in which it captured the energy – and endurance required – in a Dutch pole-sitting competition.
“Pawnshop” from Bulgaria
Director: Neshka Karadzhinska
Chosen by the jury for its successful adaptation of a Bulgarian short story about the mystery of life and death.
“13 Years After, Where Are We Today” from Serbia
Director: Gradimir Nikolic
Chosen by the jury for the way it poses new questions about the cluster-bombing of the Serbian city of Niš by NATO in 1999.
“Beekeeper” from Poland
Directors: Michalina Mrozek, Magdalena Zych
Chosen by the jury for its telling of a story of war and suffering and for its remembering of a generation now passing from the scene.
Contact: Eva Dekanovská City TV Foundation President
+ 421 905 966 649