Behind The Scenes of The 22nd MUNI Film Festival, With Organisers Iryna And Adam

The 22nd MUNI Film Festival will take place in Brno at 7pm this Friday, 20 May, featuring a series of short films made by amateur film-making enthusiasts at either Kino Scala (Moravske Namesti 3) or the Faculty of Informatics (Botanicka 68A). 11 movies are competing this year around the theme “From a different perspective”, hoping to emphasise the variety of perspectives each and every one of us has on life. To find out more about the idea behind the festival and all the organisation backstage, Brno Daily spoke to Iryna and Adam from the organisation team. Photo credit: Coline B. / Brno Daily

We waited for Iryna and Adam in a charming neighbourhood café near Luzanky Park on a spring afternoon. It was with amazement that we met the two people in charge of this festival, as we had not expected to meet students our age and even younger running such an event. It could have been a great beginning for one of the movies competing this Friday. Iryna is part of the public relations team, meaning she is responsible for communication with all their partners. As a first-year bachelor student, only 18 years old, this is her first time organising the festival: “I’m an international student. I am from Belarus; I moved here last year and now I am studying in Czech and doing these mails and PR jobs also in Czech. So, it’s also quite beneficial for my Czech development!” 

Adam, 24, is also a student of informatics at MUNI, studying for a master’s, but he has been in the festival team for a while now: “I’ve been doing this festival for like three years. It is still fun for me even if it brings a lot of responsibilities. It is fun to see all these people coming together from different backgrounds, from other faculties, and trying to make something together. I’m a mentor of the public relations group. All the posters, flyers you can see for the festival are our job, to promote throughout the city.” Given his passionate dedication to the festival, Iryna describes him as the big boss of the organisers, though he denies this.

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Iryna and Adam both work on communications for the festival. She takes care of the communication with partners and he works on the festival’s visual identity. Photo credit: Coline B. / Brno Daily

11 Movies Compete In This Year’s Festival

This year, 11 movies will be included in the festival. According to Iryna and Adam, five of them are internal entries from students at the faculty, and the others are from amateurs and other schools. 

Every movie maker is competing in the same category: “We have only one category, but this is something we will maybe change in the next few years,” says Adam. “We have one category for all the student and amateur movies. But we have a bonus category which is for movies that maybe didn’t pass the required specifications or just couldn’t make it to the festival because of the big competition. So, the bonus films are not competing for the prizes, but they are still part of the festival.” First, movies will be judged by the professional panel, and secondly by the audience. The author of the winning movie in the main category will get a cash prize.

Everyone is allowed to enter the festival as long as they are not related in any professional way to cinema. Each movie must fulfil certain specifications to pass the competition requirements: “The films at the movie festival are short movies up to eight minutes, any team, any genre, and they should be amateur, made by students. We also accept external films that don’t have to be made by students, but the team mustn’t have professional film-making or directing experience,” explains Adam.

Larger Audience Expected This Year 

The capacity of Kino Scala is about 450, and it has always been full, so it’s necessary to book in advance. Kino Scala is the main stage of the festival, even though the exact same programme will be screening at the Faculty of Informatics. To experience the full cinema experience, you can still reserve seats for free. However, with a capacity of 600, the Faculty of Informatics is also important. Together, the two venues can host around 1000 people, so everyone should be able to fit in somewhere.

“Anyone can come! They don’t have to be students, although most of the time they are. But anyone can come, really. People who are interested in art, in movies. People who just don’t have anything else to do. Whoever sees our posters and thinks they look pretty can come,” says Iryna with enthusiasm. 

A New Beginning After A Difficult Period of Lockdown 

Due to the pandemic, the festival could not be held in person for the last two years. The online option was the best solution to save the festival and offer a new way to gather people around their love of cinema, movies and art in general. “At the 2020 festival, we started the preparation onsite. We had three weeks of preparation before Covid, and then we had to adapt. I am quite surprised that it went so well, that we still managed to put on this festival even though it was just streamed online. We learned a lot because next year we had to repeat it all again, but we were prepared. Now it gives us some power. We know everything can be done hybrid now and even the festival is going to be streamed. But we like to meet and watch movies together,” says Adam.

This year, the festival will be broadcast on YouTube for people who can’t make it to the festival in person. However, Adam says: “This is more like if you cannot come you won’t be sad that you missed it. But we want people to come, to join and celebrate student movies together. After the festival, we have an after-party where all the people who came to the festival can talk about the movies and have fun!”

An Efficient Team of Good Friends 

The organisers are all students, mainly from the Faculty of Informatics. Far from the usual pressure of event organisation, the MUNI cinema festival is much more like a friendly experience both for the team of creative students and the audiences: “I know how cool the people of this festival were, and that is really true. It is like a very creative bubble of people in the Faculty of Informatics that you don’t come across that often. This little bubble of creative people you want to hang out with and avoid homework for,” says Iryna. It is a great opportunity to learn some skills that are not necessarily taught at university and to explore an environment where some of them had not previously imagined themselves in the future. In other words, the sacrifices are worth it.

 “If you want a complete experience then come to the festival and also come to organise it. You learn so much: how to deal with a large group of people with completely different expectations, talk with them, discuss with them and sometimes yell at them. It is a safe environment. We are all students and we are learning from this. It doesn’t matter if something goes bad because it is not that important. Yes it’s a festival and people will come, but it’s not a disaster if a small mistake happens,” says Adam, still with fluorescent orange paint on his fingers from putting up posters. “Every Wednesday we go to the pub to discuss in a more informal atmosphere. We spend our time joking like nothing would be a better team than this. Sometimes, you invent events outside the faculty and that is always very fun,” he adds.

“If you want a complete experience then come to the festival and also come to organise it. You learn so much. It is a safe environment.” Photo credit: MUNI Film Festival

An Interesting Theme: “From another perspective”

This Friday, the festival audience will see life “From another perspective”. The year 2022 seems to mark the end of a two-year Covid pandemic. To echo this hope for a return to normality, Iryna, Adam and their colleagues decided to offer competitors a very open theme where all perspectives are possible again. 

Life under Covid is no longer the only perspective around, and movie makers are free to propose their own vision of the world. “Every year, before doing any preparation, we do a brainstorming session,” says Iryna. “I mean I presume it happens every year, because I am here for just one year. We come together and all of us just brainstorm, just random ideas. Last year, the theme was connections because it was related to Covid. Everyone was online so what brought people together was this festival that everyone could join. It was actually related to the current event. This year we also wanted to relate to the fact that we are now “out of covid”. We had some ideas about that, and we had this blackboard just filled with ideas and then we spent like three rounds voting for the best ones. We ended up with a “perspective”. It has a lot of potential in terms of visuals. This was the main reason we chose this topic.”  

For anyone interested in cinema or just curious about this festival, don’t hesitate to go along to one of the two locations, Kino Scala or the Faculty of Informatics, from 7pm, to enjoy movies made by amateurs. The event is all free and there will be space for everyone. You will also find a collection of goodies such as tote bags, t-shirts, and even socks, if you want a souvenir. 

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