Through the History of Film, Both on Paper and Digitally

The extensive publication History of Slovak Cinematography 1896 – 1969 (Dejiny slovenskej kinematografie 1896 – 1969) is already available to readers. The Slovak Film Institute (SFI) had a part in its publishing. The SFI also plans to extend the collection of Blu-rays and DVDs issued.

The Head of the SFI’s Publications Department Marián Brázda designated the History of Slovak Cinematography by Václav Macek and Jelena Paštéková as the key project of recent years and Peter Dubecký, Director of the SFI, confirmed this. “This is a project which took six years and the result will, hopefully, be acceptable not only to experts but also to the general public. We hope to issue the second volume in 2018 or 2019.” The current first volume of the History of Slovak Cinematography is divided into six chapters defined by years: 1896 – 1918 (An Attraction in Each City), 1919 – 1938 (Slovak Film on the Horizon), 1939 – 1948 (We Have Feature Film), 1949 – 1955 (Building Utopia and Retouching), 1956 – 1962 (Thaw), 1963 – 1969 (Film Ripples).

As regards digital media, last year the 10 Blu-ray collection Slovak Film (Slovenský film) took precedence; this was issued within the SK PRES project on the occasion of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union. “The collection was put together over four years in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. I consider it a presentation of Slovak audiovision at the highest level. The selection included five significant Slovak films with copyrights held by the SFI, and we succeeded in concluding agreements with independent producers and also presenting five films made after 1989,” explained Dubecký. The first five films in the collection were The Sun in a Net (Slnko v sieti, dir. Š. Uher), The Boxer and Death (Boxer a smrť, dir. P. Solan), Birdies, Orphans and Fools (Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni, dir. J. Jakubisko), I Love, You Love (Ja milujem, ty miluješ, dir. D. Hanák) and A Path Across the Danube (Chodník cez Dunaj, dir. M. Luther); the other five films were Everything I Like (Všetko čo mám rád, dir. M. Šulík), Paper Heads (Papierové hlavy, dir. D. Hanák), The Power of Good – Nicholas Winton (Sila ľudskosti – Nicholas Winton, dir. M. Mináč), Blind Loves (Slepé lásky, dir. J. Lehotský) and Soul at Peace (Pokoj v duši, dir. V. Balko). “Both of these key activities required a huge effort from the Publications Department and the entire Institute. All departments played a part in them – in addition to the Publications Department, the Documentation Department and the Archive also, as the films in the collection were restored and digitised,” stated the General Director of the SFI. While the ten Blu-rays referred to above served primarily for the presentation of Slovak cinema abroad, the SFI recently issued two more Blu-rays, Lady Winter (Perinbaba, dir. J. Jakubisko) and The Fountain for Suzanne (Fontána pre Zuzanu , dir. D. Rapoš) which did not serve this purpose; however, these two films are among the most popular in Slovakia.

This year, the SFI will issue further films on Blu-ray. The main project will be a three-part collection devoted to the extensive works of the legend of Slovak animated film, Viktor Kubal, who you can read about on the following page. In addition, a DVD with Miloslav Luther’s Forget Mozart (Zabudnite na Mozarta) will be sold and two SFI co-production projects are in preparation: the 2-DVD Magical World of Animated Film (Čarovný svet animovaného filmu) and the 5-DVD documentary series The First (Prvá).

As for publications, Marián Brázda referred e.g. to the title in preparation Invisible History (Neviditeľné dejiny) from the publicist, screenwriter, dramaturge and director, Rudolf Urc. In his text he will provide information on a number of documentary filmmakers with whom he collaborated.

Zuzana Sotáková