The Slovenia Times

In Focus



At the end of October, the showing of short films by young cinéastes from Slovenia and the Netherlands took place in Kinodvor. This was the first year in Fokus that such an event was a part of it, and as Sandra Peršak at the Dutch Embassy said, they are planning to make this a recurring event from now on.

The evening was opened by H.E. Jos Douma, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

At this event, young and prospective students were introduced, such as Stephane Kaas who was born and raised in Amsterdam. He makes documentaries, shorts, commercials and is a singer in a rock band. In 2009, he graduated as a director at the Dutch Film Academy with the documentary Forever 19, a film about a 23-year-old Belgian boy with no short-term memory which was shown at Fokus.

Barbara Zemljič graduated from the Faculty of Arts and is studying directing at the Academy in Ljubljana. She received the Prešeren Award for her film Hair Extensions about a teenage girl who desperately wants to have long hair because she is convinced they will help a guy whom she fancies fall in love with her.

Daan Bakker's Jacco's Film is about a ten-year-old boy who is a scientist, inventor, musician, womanizer, spiritual leader, strategist, philosopher, developer, architect and an athlete.

In Wes, a film by Peter Hoogendoorn, Wesley (11) is being sent to a football camp while his mother is dying in a hospital. There he fights against himself and tries to escape reality.

Žiga Virc is going back in time to the days of Yugoslavia. He portrays how two families can go from friends to enemies in the time of war.

"The reaction of the audiences was satisfactory; the filmmakers themselves were thrilled with the event," said Ms Peršak from the Embassy, also noting that the aim of this kind of event is to make ties between filmmakers and the two film departments at the Academies, stronger.

After the screening, a moderated discussion took place with the filmmakers. Guests included two directors, a cameraman and a producer. They answered all sorts of practical questions about how a film is made, the ways of education for young filmmakers in the Netherlands and Slovenia, what the budget was for making a short film, how much they spent, how they got the actors they used in their films, what was the original idea and what was it inspired by. All these comparisons between Slovenia and Netherlands in the context of making a film were very interesting to the artists and to the audience as well.

This event is a fine example of joint bilateral collaboration between talented young Slovene and Dutch artists, which is what Bilateral Fokus is all about - bringing art and people together.

Bilateral Fokus

The first Bilateral Fokus was held in 2001. The concept behind it was and still is the need to highlight, once a year, all the relations between the Netherlands and Slovenia. There is great interest, both in Slovenia and in the Netherlands, in each other's cultural expressions. Over time, the initiative for joint events increasingly came from Slovene organizations. With many Slovene partner organizations, the embassy now has a long lasting co-operation. The Bilateral Fokus has become a tradition known by more Slovenes every year.

Over the years, Fokus has developed into a vehicle that brings an ever increasing number of Slovene and Dutch people together, exchanging knowledge, experience and cultural expressions.

The overall theme of this year's Bilateral Fokus is innovation. Most of the events are, therefore in one way or the other, original. The opening event of this year's Bilateral Fokus was the dance theatre performance Sugar Rush which was staged in Old City Power Plant. This is a project that, through the medium of movement and music, aims to invoke the unbearable sweetness of a shared community - a memory of a paradise that never really existed and yet it is forever lost.

Also taking part were Love Dolls, a dramatic, radical and committed puppet show about disposal as a problem of a modern man; and exhibition of Dutch contemporary painters and an exhibition of Dutch and Slovenian contemporary jewellery by designers from the Netherlands and Slovenia in the Kresija Gallery.


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