Sunday 29 – Zlin is dead
Let me guide you through some of today’s highlights in an overview…
Guest of the day: Vova
The name of Volodymyr Diagilev - aka Vova – can’t be found on any of the festival’s guest lists. Yet he is very much present here in the hearts and minds of people. Vova runs a festival in Charkov, Ukraine, in the middle of the war zone. Some festival friends stay connected with him regularly; this week I received an email in which he thanked us for our support "There were times when this was the only drop of hope for a better future." When his friendly face appears in a photo loop, we are all moved, shocked by today's cruel reality.
The Zlin Festival pays a humble tribute to Ukraine through the screening of BONEY PILES, a documentary about children in the Donetsk region that premiered in Berlin right before the war burst. And there was a screening of shorts for Ukrainian children staying in this region. Jaroslava finds it hard to hide her emotions; only after the ambassador has left, she bursts into tears.
Song of the day: Teenage Fanclub – Don’t cry no tears
Today the festival offers even more room for emotion - no wonder that this song keeps popping through my mind all day long (not in the original Neil Young version though). Only few can hold their tears in the screening of COMEDY QUEEN; sometimes I miss those mouth masks that were so convenient for hiding your tears in a packed cinema. But the most touching moment is the photo collage that Jaroslava prepared for the festival gathering. In her own honest way, she welcomes us with love and shows a series of photos that evoke sweet memories of friendly festival faces. Some are deeply missed: there are photos of Rock Demers, and of Dick de Jonge whom we all remember so well, while he can no longer remember us. I am worried to face my own photos from the past, but I actually can’t complain - sometimes a little more belly, sometimes a little less hair, but I laugh out loud at my fearful eyes in a picture on which Jo-Anne threatens me with a kiss. Together with Jerzy, Jo-Anne and Jaroslava we decide to do a makeover of a photo that was taken about 10 years ago. The festival photographer helps us to re-pick up a bit of the enthusiasm from those long-gone days.
Gift of the day: a drawing
The last two festival editions held in September had one big advantage: I got rid of my birthday fear. I am always afraid that suddenly guests will stand up and sing. This year it is no different, however I am getting honoured with an exceptionally sweet gift. Zuzka has made a drawing of our team that makes me feel so incredibly proud. Thanks a lot, dear team – when receiving such pure friendship as a gift, why should birthdays still scare me after all?
Delegation of the day: Kids Kino Poland
The participants in the Kids Kino Lab, organised by the Polish Kids Kino team, have settled in the city. You might see them sitting alone in coffee bars, bent over their computer, reading or fine-tuning scripts. Their programme is massively tight with extra homework every day. Maciej and his nine-member team (Viola, Zofia, Maja,…) arrive in a mini-van. "I love driving big cars,” explains Maciej, while the group confirms that traveling is always great fun with him behind the wheel. I assume they refer more to Maciej’s sense of humour than to his driving skills.
Quote of the day: “Zlin is dead”
It’s already the second time this week that I hear this sentence mumbled when leaving the cafe to go to bed. "Zliiin is dead", with that long, compelling i-sound with which the name of the city is pronounced. Pantelis talks with the drunken guy, who feels locked up with his dreams being trapped in this city. He is annoyed: the whole world comes here to enjoy, and nobody pays attention to people like him who whine away here 51 weeks a year in grey boredom. Grimly he observes how I am enjoying a mild euphoria, now that I am sitting with some of the finest Kids Kino Lab participants and my sweetest team companion. My fading birthday still generates me some treats in the form of gin-tonic, and now and then an itch of satisfaction runs over my backbone to my neck.