The film program consists of three basic program blocks and their sections, whose structure has become a permanent part of the festival. The basic structure of the film program is established and is based on the very nature of a festival focused on children and youth. In the area of non-competition sections, the content is adjusted slightly each year to respond to current topics and trends. The Zlín Film Festival is an utterly unique event on the soil of the Czech Republic; its size, history and tradition is unparalleled even in Europe.

The program structure has a clearly and comprehensively defined festival profile – it is a festival of films in which children and teens are the main focus. In practice, this means that the festival almost exclusively features films FOR children and youth and ABOUT children and youth. Movies about children and young people are aimed more at parents, naturally fulfilling the festival's vision of being a film festival for the whole family, plus with the unique added value of the diversity of cultures and traditions world cinema offers. An integral part of the festival's dramaturgy is the presentation of international film productions for children and teenagers, to make them accessible to child audiences, and offer a high-quality alternative to commonly available audiovisual content. It provides child audiences with films that, because of their country of origin and non-commercial orientation, cannot be seen elsewhere. The experience of the screenings is enhanced by the presence of foreign delegations and the chance to meet and discuss films with their filmmakers.

An important aspect of this is to educate children and young people so that they gain greater insight, open-mindedness, and the ability to perceive film as a medium that provides generational, creative and social dialogue.


  • Competition films for children are not only supposed to provide quality entertainment and develop children's sense of fantasy, but also provide knowledge about the lives of children in other parts of the world.
  • In the youth section and European debuts, we focus on the topics of adolescent personal and social identity, as well as on quality entertainment shown within the setting of different cultures, traditions and values.
  • Children, young people, and their real everyday worries and joys are the focus in our documentary film section, which found its place amongst the competitions in 2018; the section is organized together with the European Children's Film Association (ECFA).
  • Short animated films up to 15 minutes in length are aimed at children and present current trends in global animated productions.
  • The competition section of student films, with more than 2500 films annually, also has an important role to play in our festival.


  • An important part of the festival is a presentation of Czech film and television productions for children and youth, which primarily presents a complete offering of the domestic works from the past year to foreign film professionals (e.g. representatives of festivals).
  • The informative section, called Panorama, offers a collection of the latest children's and youth titles awarded at other festivals, or films that bring "mere" fun and joy and cannot reach child audiences through normal distribution channels.
  • The newly-named non-competition section called Festival Gala aims to accent the festival premieres, special screenings and special introductions.


This section aims to broaden the horizons of young visitors in the area of science and technology. The films will be dramaturgically divided into three groups: documentary films on science and technology, live-acted sci-fi fiction films for children and youth, and a section devoted to special effects in film.

  • A series of documentary films informs young audiences about key concepts such as space, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, computer games, and information technology. In addition to the films themselves, this mini-section will be complemented by lectures for schools and the public, and will try to answer the question of how technology makes our lives easier for us, and vice versa, what dangers do we face from it.
  • The mini-section of science fiction films should provide young audiences with fun and adventure, as well as learning experiences and opportunities to expand their horizons. The most common theme, encounters with extraterrestrial civilizations, will be supplemented by stories about robots, exploring new worlds and alternative futures. 

In 2020, one of the most important pioneers of cinematic tricks would have been 100 years old: American filmmaker and artist Ray Harryhausen, who created unique puppets for the films Clash of the Titans, Jason and Argonauts, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. This contemporary of Karel Zeman's (who would have turned 110) has inspired the directors Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Tim Burton, and many others. We would like to pay tribute not only to him in the Magic of Visual Effects section, but also to other special effects creators who, with the help of the latest technology, have provided incredible film experiences to audiences over the years. Special screenings of films such as Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jurassic Park, Matrix, and Gravity will be accompanied by an introduction by the experts Kamil Fila and Boris Masník.