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about the festival

otokDuring May 25th and May 29th, 2004, a new international film festival Isola cinema, a festival of African, Asian, Latin American and Eastern European cinematography, saw the light of day for the first time. Isola cinema was conceived as a festival in the deepest sense of this word, a lively gathering of creators and visitors of the film art, through calmness and passion, so characteristic for these parts of the world.
Kino Otok offers the new experience of the moving pictures in all its magic, free and easygoing spirit and direct contact with the audience. That is why there will be many interesting places in Izola: Open Air Cinema, Cinema camping site, Night beach with video projections on the beach, Happy DV (video workshop). But the most important of all will be the presence of the authors through out all the festival.

The first edition of the festival has already succeeded beyond wildest dreams and met an extraordinary and without exceptions positive feedback from the media: 32 films of the official programme have been shown on three locations in Izola, while the festival marked 5000 visitors, most of them enchanted by the spells of the open air cinema on Manzioli square. The festival hosted 13 established film artists and many more important guests from around the globe, from India, Iran, Russia to Thailand, which is the motherland of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a thai director that came to Izola only three days after winning the Prix du Jury in Cannes!

There were 74 local and foreign journalists present on the festival (from Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania). They published over 200 articles and, among other things, reached an agreement that the greatest winner of the festival is the festival itself with its excellent selection of films, important guests, successful organization and support of the audience.

At the time of the festival, the picturesque ancient town center of Izola is reborn as a true cinema island. In the very heart of Izola, on the Manzioli square, a true open cinema, The Cinema Island, emerges as the festival’s undoubted trademark. This is where all the inhabitants of the film colony spend their late May evenings and, together with the townspeople, enjoy the projections beneath the stary skies. Isola Cinema brings fresh film breeze into Izola, the Coast, Slovenia and its further surroundings. Through its thorough selection (and sensitive presentation) of the films and the magic experience of the open cinema within the mediterranean town walls, it hopes to offer an outstanding cultural event. It is a sincere wish of the festival to mark not only the local people, the visitors and film lovers, but also the guests, arriving to Isola from distant shores of the world, with the exquisite film experience it offers.

Official film programme of the festival consists of several sections, namely Harvest (competition programme of the festival, shown in the open air cinema on the Manzioli square), Masters (selection of the latest films by established masters of cinematography of “four continents”), Friends (film choices of the international programme committee members), Special Occasion (accompanying and complementary programme of the competition section) and New Shores (retrospectives of national or continental cinematographies, organized with cooperation of Slovenian Cinematheque.)

During the festival nights, the Lighthouse Cinema operates on a beautiful location on the Izola beach, next to the town’s lighthouse, offering night projections of the festivals unofficial video programme. Izola’s coast comes to life during the festival - in daytime it offers a series of accompaniying events, film flea-market and cuisine from faraway lands. At night it takes a form of a Night beach - festival clubbing with an open programme (projections of the Lighthouse Cinema, discussions, concerts), a gathering point at the end of the day.

We also take the opportunity to invite all the visiting distinguished artists to participate in the festival’s workshop The happy dv, which enables local film enthusiasts to get acquainted with the practical and theoretical secrets of the seventh art and make their own short films under the supervision of the true masters.

The Isola Cinema festival is also present on the waves of the festival radio Capris and in the festival newspaper Primorske novice. Throughout the year, a monthly (slovenian) newsletter Otok Monthly is being published, while at the time of the festival, we publish a daily newsletter The Otok Daily, so the visitors of the Isola Cinema stay in touch with everything that’s going on in Izola.

Only two years ago I was loafing around …
It happened fast. Only two years ago I was loafing around at the Motovun film festival, thinking how great it would be if we too had something like that. Or even something better … But since I’m a guy who doesn’t carry out ideas all too often I decided to get me a cappuccino, light a cigarette and then we’ll see.
And so, my Beti and me were sipping our coffee and puffing on our cigarettes, and soon Vlado came along.
He’s the one!, I thought, he loves films and besides he’s always wandering around foreign festivals, why wouldn’t he make one of his own, a domestic one? Then he would have a place where to wander.
In Tolmin, said Beti. For example, added Vlado and I.
So we began a conversation and soon the matter was settled. A few months later we showed up at the office of the mayor of Tolmin, happy and convinced that the mayor would be happy too. But he wasn’t. His adjutant, who later turned out to be the head of local tourist organisation, seemed even somewhat angry …
And since we aren’t without pride and strong emotions we walked out of the office and said to ourselves: Let’s go where they will like us!
And they like us in Izola.
And so we like Izola too.
See you there, then!

Jan Cvitkovic

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