Czech film festival fulfilment of dream

Vladka Kennett.
Vladka Kennett.
New Zealand's first Czech film festival will be held at Arrowtown in October.

The week-long festival is the fulfilment of a long-held dream of Glenorchy photographer and businesswoman Vladka Kennett.

The Czech expatriate, who emigrated to New Zealand 13 years ago, said she had been thinking about the idea for at least six years.

It gained further impetus three years ago when she was appointed the Czech Republic's honorary consul in Queenstown.

She had been ''blown away'' by the number of expats living in the Wakatipu basin and wider region, as well as others here to study or travel.

The festival will be held at Arrowtown's Dorothy Browns Cinema from October 10 to 16. The programme consists of 12 films, including two documentaries.

Mrs Kennett said she had chosen films she hoped would evoke strong memories and feelings in the Czech audience, but which told stories that New Zealanders could relate to.

A common theme was the depiction of important historical events, such as the 1968 uprising in then-Czechoslovakia.

Many expats seldom returned home, but most had strong sentimental feelings about their home country, she said.

The festival would offer a rare chance to reconnect with their
homeland, and for their partners, children and friends to learn more about Czech culture, history and lifestyle.

Because the nearest Czech embassy was in Canberra, the nation's culture received little exposure in New Zealand.

Two concerts and a dinner event will also be held during the festival, which has received backing from the Czech Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, and Czech Tourism.

Mrs Kennett said a Czech & Slovak Club established in Queenstown last month already had 90 members.

Add a Comment