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 junior and youth sections, 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 200 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.
- For the third year in a row, the festival has been offering a showcase of VR films, which is supported by a number of professional lectures and other programmes.
LIMITED EDITION 2021: SEE THE BOOK, READ THE FILM
The theme of 61st Zlín Film Festival will be Literature in Film. It has been a part of cinematography since its beginnings. Even silent-era filmmakers chose book classics as inspiration for their stories. The year 2021 also marks the anniversary of the first film adaptations of books that changed both the film and book world. The first adaptations of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings came to the world 20 years ago. One of the many goals of this section is to bring immortal literary stories and characters closer to the young viewer.