GET READY FOR A SUMMER AND AUTUMN SERIES OF FESTIVAL EVENTS
The ninth annual Australian and New Zealand Festival of movies and culture will kick off with an all-day showcase of Australian and New Zealand culture and cuisine at Riegrovy sady (Rieger Gardens) on 28 May, 2022. But before we unveil the program we have put together for this event, let’s take a look back at last year’s festival.
In the second year of the pandemic, the Aussie & Kiwi Film Fest held a number of events from June to December. Our traditional evening screenings at the Lucerna and Ponrepo cinemas were also complemented by screenings at the Kasárna Karlín and Cross Club summer cinemas. Audiences were treated to 13 evenings of films and travels diaries from both countries. Two feature-length documentaries were also screened at the Pilot Cinema with both of the Czech directors of these documentaries who lived part of their lives in Australia or New Zealand present at the screenings.
In light of the pandemic, the open-air festival also featured “pop-up” cinemas – screenings of films in unconventional places – at the New Zealand Day in Riegrovy Sady in Prague 2 and at a presentation of a new book by David Vávra and Radovan Lipus (Pohlednice z Tichomoří – Postcards from the Pacific) which was screened on to the wall of the Champagneria Bar in Prague 1. The bar also held a charity sale of a Nestor kea highland parrot drawing to support this species at Prague Zoo (it is currently the only representative of New Zealand fauna at Prague Zoo). The AKFF team collected donations at festival events to support this endemic New Zealand bird and also became its adoptive parent.
In conjunction with Prague Zoo, we presented the plight of the Tasmanian devil, an endangered animal in Australia, to high school students through a number of lectures by breeder David Vala at Lucerna Cinema. Of the seven lectures planned for the exhibition Far and Yet So Close in the lobby of the Lucerna passage, only three could be held due to the unfavourable pandemic situation in schools at the time. Two of the lectures had around 50 students (the Jan Kepler Gymnasium and the Academic Gymnasium in Štěpánská) and one had almost 300 students (the Jan Neruda Gymnasium). The biology teachers at the schools were always in charge of organising the event within the schools and they also agreed that one of the participating classes at the lecture would take it upon themselves to do a school fundraiser at an appropriate time to support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal as well as the development of a vaccine against facial cancer which is a threat to the devils in the wild.
Mr David Vala, the Tasmanian devil keeper at Darwin’s Crater in Prague Zoo first talked to the students about the animals that visitors can see at the crater (budgies, kangaroos, echidnas, long-nosed potoroo) and then he came to the four Tasmanian devils. In addition to his experiences as a keeper, he also talked about their facial cancer which has already greatly reduced the number of Tasmanian devils in the wild in Tasmania, as well as the ways in which efforts are being made to save them in Tasmania and Australia as a whole (through breeding stations, the settlement at Maria Island, research into the disease and development of a cure for it, education etc.). The engaging and interesting talk was set against the backdrop of a presentation with lots of pictures and videos. The students were attentive listeners and also had plenty of questions. At the end, 10-15 students were drawn from among those present and won prizes from Prague Zoo and the Czech office of Oxford Publishing House. To support their lessons, the teachers took away samples of the Animal Lexicon from A to Z and several Trojan Horse and Koníček magazines. Depending on the severity of the pandemic, the lecture series should continue in the spring, as requested by some of the schools that were unable to attend in October/November. Mr David Vala has already planned for this.
The zoo has recently added a male Australian wombat, another of Australia’s remarkable animals (several members of the AKFF organising committee attended the official welcome for the animal at the zoo in January), and so it seems that the theme for next year’s lectures is now evident. There are also plans to screen nature documentaries and films for teenagers followed by a discussion on the topic of the film.
We also arranged three free exhibitions. Thanks to our collaboration with Pond of View Gallery which offers contemporary Australian Aboriginal art, we held the exhibition Aboriginal ART in Prague (a sales exhibition of Australian Aboriginal art). To follow on from our joint work with Prague Zoo, there was also a panel exhibition of large format photographs of Tasmania’s fauna and flora at the Lucerna passage called Far Away and Yet So Close. A display of David Vávra’s drawings which were published as illustrations in the book Postcards from the Pacific delighted visitors at the Champagneria bar at the end of August and in September (we worked on this launch jointly with Grada Publishing House).
In addition to these, we put on events which focused on the drinks gastronomy of Australia and New Zealand – a degustation of Australian and New Zealand wines and a collection of Devil inspired beers which are brewed by brewer Filip Miller from the Raven Brewery. A special set of beers was introduced to the public along with other beers made with Australian or New Zealand hops at The Down Under bar. As part of the Helping Them Survive event, 100 Crowns from each set of beers was donated to help save the Tasmanian devils.
In total, we held 13 screenings at various venues around Prague in 2021. Thank you too for the beautiful fashion show in collaboration with the House of Spell, a brand that offers Australian boho dresses on the Czech market. Our events were supported by personalities connected with the two countries whose culture we promote. Thank you to the following festival guests:
Barbara Chobocky – an Australian-Czech director
Michael Havas – a New Zealand-Czech director
Jan Švejnar – an economist and participant in the debate on emigration
David Vávra – an architect and author of Šumných stop po Austrálii a Novém Zélandu (Noisy Footsteps around Australia and New Zealand) + the book Pohlednice z Tichomoří (Postcards from the Pacific)
Radovan Lipus – a director and author of Šumných stop po Austrálii a Novém Zélandu (Noisy Footsteps around Australia and New Zealand) + the book Pohlednice z Tichomoří (Postcards from the Pacific)
V neposlední řadě nás těší, že jsme propagačně spolupracovali s plzeňskými divadlem Josefa Kajetána Tyla, které v prosinci uvedlo novou inscenaci Lindauer? Pakeha! o Gottfriedu Lindauerovi v režii Radovana Lipuse. Syn plzeňského zahradníka se vypravil na malířská studia do Vídně, pak jej jeho srdce neklidné táhlo do Haliče, Polska i na širou Rus. Byť poznal východní Evropy notný kus, jeho osudem se nakonec stal Nový Zéland, kde přistál v roce 1874. Zde postupně k hvězdné malířské kariéře mířil a stal se špičkovým portrétistou. V Národní galerii v Aucklandu má oprávněně celé patro, tedy víc než jen čestné místo. Příběh touhy, cest, malby i maorského tetování. Příběh, který vás chce zlákat na setkání chodských dud s bojovým domorodým tancem haka!
Last but not least, we are delighted to have done a promotional collaboration with the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre in Pilsen, which presented a new production of Lindauer? Pakeha! directed by Radovan Lipus about Gottfried Lindauer in December. The son of a Pilsen gardener, Lindauer went to Vienna to study painting, then his restless heart drew him to Halych, Poland and even to the wide open spaces of Russia. Although he explored a good deal of Eastern Europe, his destiny eventually became New Zealand, where he landed in 1874. There he gradually worked his way up to a stellar career as a painter and he became a top portrait painter. He rightly has a whole floor dedicated to him in the National Gallery in Auckland, not just a single honorary spot. His is a story of desire, travel, painting and Maori tattooing. A story that practically wants to draw you in to an encounter between the Chod bagpipes and the warrior dance of the Maori haka!
THE AUSSIE AND KIWI FILM FESTIVAL
A film festival of contemporary Australian and New Zealand films. Australian and New Zealand content is rarely seen in Czech theatres, television and festivals and our goal is to reverse this. Through contemporary films we aim to introduce local audiences to Australia and New Zealand as a multicultural continent with an extraordinary tradition that stems from its rich aboriginal culture, showing that it is more than what was depicted in Crocodile Dundee – a country full of sharks and beaches.
The Aussie & Kiwi Film Fest presents contemporary cinema from down under along with the different lifestyle and culture not only to Czechs and expats, but also to students of film and art who come to study in the Czech Republic from across Europe.
Festival highlights: 2014 – 2021
- 55 screenings of contemporary feature films and documentaries, archive films, student and short films
- screenings held in 10 cinemas in total
- screening in Prague + Bratislava in 2015, and Brno, Olomouc and Plzeň in 2017
- 4 special screenings (The Dressmaker, Sweet Country, Westwind: Djalu´s Legacy, Babyteeth)
- accompanying events: discussions, workshops, degustations, concerts, exhibitions, drag show
- online festival in 2020
- Aussie & Kiwi Film SUMMER 21 – pop up cinema in Riegrovy sady and Champagneria Bar in Prague – 13 screenings at various venues around Prague
Project & PR Manager
Phone: +420 606 623 009
AKFF, z. s., Rejskova 1996/10, Vinohrady (Praha 2), 120 00 Praha
If you are interested in supporting the organizing association of AKFF, please contact us at email@example.com.