100 years of Cinematography and Slovak Cinema

Under the above title, Slovak Cultural and Information Centre has prepared a monthly video presentation of a feature-length Slovak film from the vaults of Slovak national cinematography.

December 25, 1996 will mark the 100th year anniversary of the first film presentation on the present territory of Slovakia, at hotel Kral Uhorska a Palugyay (now part of Hotel Carlton). The City of Bratislava became one of the first cities where cinema goers had the opportunity to see "moving pictures", less than one year after the first showing in Paris, France.

Until 1940, only casual attempts were made at the serious cinematography. In 1921, the first American-Slovak film "Janosik" was made. In 1933 Plicka's firm "Zem spieva" (The Earth Sings) and in 1935 another "Janosik" directed by Martin Fric with Paul Bielik as the leading actor were made. In 1937 Plicka made another documentary firm "Za Slovakmi od New Yorku po Mississippi" which was about the Matica Slovenska's historic tour of U.S.A.

The year 1940 is considered the beginning of regular Slovak film production. With the nationalization of the film industry, all films until 1990 were both state financed and influenced by the state.

In 1946 the first post WWII film called "Varuj" (Look Out) was produced and in 1948 an uprising drama called "Vlcie diery" (Wolf Hole) was produced. The most successful cinematography occurred in the 1960's which was started by director Stefan Uhra and his film "Slnko v sieti" (Sun in a mesh).

In the 1970's and 1980's, Koliba film studios produced at least ten feature length films each year. In addition, there were about 10 television films and television series made for Slovak Television.

The 1990's totally changed the face of Slovak cinematography. The number of feature films dropped drastically. In 1994, only two films were produced. Private organizations and individuals have moved into the film industry. Forecasts of the death of Slovak cinema are premature because in 1995 there were four new film projects.

SCIC would like to introduce, via the monthly film presentation, the richness of Slovak cinematography which has to-date produced 325 feature-length films and over 8000 regular films and which have, to-date, received over 260 awards of recognition. SCIC is currently negotiating with various distributors of Slovak films in order to facilitate in presenting at Canadian Film Festivals to-day's Slovak feature-length films, which have been filmed in the now independent Slovak Republic.

Slovak Text

Slovak Cultural and Information Centre

Revised: February 23, 1996.

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