- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
The 26th edition of the SPORTFILM International Festival of Sports Films will take place in Liberia in time for the 12th edition. – 15.10. 2023
The 26th edition of sport film international festival SPORTFILM, which will take place in The Liberals this year in time for the 12th edition. 15.10. will not only offer an interesting sporting spectacle, but will also open up many of the topics discussed in society. In addition to film screenings, this year’s programme also features a number of talks and exhibitions. There will also be a Mental Health conference or workshop for aspiring filmmakers.
The most films in festival history entered the competition this year, exactly 373 films from 69 countries. The selected competition films are again divided into five categories: Olympic Ideas, Documentaries, Sports Personalities, Feature Films and Series, and Methodology, Education. During the gala ceremony, which will take place in the Aule G of the Technical University of Liberec on October 14, not only the individual categories will be announced, but traditionally also the Main Prize of the Festival. On the recommendation of the festival jury, the Czech Olympic Academy is still awarding the Jiri Kössl Prize. Once again, a special beam of courage and hope award will also be given to Vera Čáslavská, who was the first to be awarded a gold by The Olympian Lukas Krpálek last year.
For fans of big football stories, the biggest attraction will be the national premiere of a documentary about Martin Škrtel, which will take place at the Clarion Grandhotel Zlatý Lev with the personal participation of Martin Škrtel as well as the director Petr Větrovsky. Viewers will also be pleased to hear the engrossing drama about the double life of Jlloyd Samuel’s Premier League player The Footballer, his Wife and the Crash. A screening of Enzo Ferarri’s documentary about one of the biggest figures in motor sport and the automotive industry is set for motorsport fans. Also worth noting will be pictures of wrestler Jiri Provost and climber Adam Ondra, nostalgic reminders of Olympic hockey triumph Children of Nagano, or films devoted to young sports such as parkour, BMX or freestyle skating. For their part, social responsibility will be recalled in interesting documents about the sustainable production of sports equipment or athletes from war-stricken Ukraine.
This year’s festival jury is chaired by the Vice-President of the Czech Olympic Academy, Zdeněk Škoda. Other long-standing members are Jaroslav Černý from the Czech Film and Television Union and The Czech Television commentator, author, screenwriter and milan festival board member Jakub Bažant. These will be completed by director, screenwriter and photographer Adolf Zika, who is also directing the gala evening, dramaturge Miriam Ryndová, director Tomáš Hodan, director and traveller Petr Horký, or director and documentary maker Jana Počtová.
As part of the accompanying programme, SPORTFILM will build on last year’s successful premiere of the Mental Health conference, this time on women in sport. For example, successful tennis player and psychologist Helena Sukova, climber Klara Kolouchová or biathlete and presenter Gabriela Soukalová will be guests of top skier Šárka Strachová. An exhibition of large-format photographs of mr and mrs Zátopkova will be on display in the square in front of the City Hall in Prague from the beginning of October and will be carried out in cooperation with the Czech Olympic Committee. An exhibition of sporting trophies and commemorative medals and coins of festival partners – by Lasvit and the Czech Mint – will take place in the Small Exhibition Hall. For young filmmaking talent, there is a workshop to edit sports videos with Adolf Zika, which will tie the festival to the Sportfilm Kids spring project. Sports enthusiasts can once again look forward to an attractive Festival run through the Civil Defence shelter in the Liberal underground. At the end of the festival, this year’s second Sportfilm Golf Cup will take place at the Liberal golf course Ypnylonka. For the first time, there will also be an international workshop of FICTS members.
Since June, three types of festival passes can be purchased at www.sportfilm.cz, allowing visitors to enter film screenings at all locations as well as the entire accompanying programme at the time of the festival 12. – 15.10.2023. In the case of The Exclusive Festival Pass, it’s still a festive gala with awards, raves, after parties and other bonuses. Festival passes are sold in three price waves. On Saturday, September 9, SPORTFILM will take part in the Sport Live sports fair, where those interested will be able to purchase a basic festival pass for an exclusive price of 200 KČ including entrance to the Swimming Pool Of Liberec. From 10 a.m. we will offer the autograph session of three-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion and overall biathlon World Cup winner Gabriela Soukalova, who will also present the upcoming film Truth Is Still Worthwhile, which is being filmed about her by director Petr Větrovský.
The 26th festival year will be played at more than 10 attractive Liberal locations. Among them will be the traditional screening venue Kino Warsaw, Clarion Grandhotel Zlatý Lev, the newly renovated Palais Liebieg, the campus of the Technical University, the RoSa Residence, in which the festival programme is adapted to the older generation, the modernised Lipa Music Club, the cultural centre IGI Vratislavice and others. “We are delighted that we have managed to expand the festival to so many locations this year. We focus on them in different groups. They come into their own as young as the elderly. We would very much like the festival to attract not only visitors from The Liberals, but also from outside the region,” said festival director Renata Balašová.
The gala with the announcement of the winning images, which will take place 14.10. and will be moderated by Dalibor Gondík and broadcast by Czech Television, will be performed by the likes of rapper Paulie Garand with Jakub Dean or singer Marcell.
As in previous years, this year’s winning images of the Liberal Festival will face world competition as part of the World Finals in Milan, Italy, in November. Last year, Czech sports film scored in just four categories. Films Last Race and Zátopek won mention d ‘Honneur’. Film by Jan Koller: An ordinary kid’s story won the Critics’ Award. Jan Koller also took the award for Sports Personality. The year 2021 brought the Mention d’Honneur award for Adolf Zika’s film Mr. Kriss. In 2019, Czech Television’s film Golden Underdog won the prestigious Guirlande d’Honneur award.