Planting the seeds of science
Environment takes center stage at film festival in Suchdol
Posted: October 16, 2013
The Man Who Plants Trees, by the 23-year-old Slovak director Michal Gálik, is one of the 120 films that will be screened at the festival.
Touting itself as a "multimedia festival of films on science," the third official Life Sciences Film Festival (LSFF) takes place in the north Prague neighborhood of Suchdol, a short bus ride from the major metro and bus stops at Dejvická, Oct. 14-18.
During the four days of the festival, some 120 films will be screened at a variety of venues that comprise the Czech University of Life Sciences. The films cover a range of topics that include microbiology, the environment, chemical contamination, food quality and security, and many more.
The festival has been running unofficially since 2010, when a group of current and former students of the university decided to address the lack of audiovisual works focusing on the natural and agricultural sciences by organizing their own festival, festival spokesman Adam Carda told The Prague Post.
The LSFF program has been divided in such a way that the faculties where the films are shown correspond to the respective sections. So, for example, entries whose focus is on the environment and sustainable development will be screened at the Faculty of Environmental Science and the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, while visitors can watch films dealing with food and agriculture at the Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources.
When: Oct. 14-18
Where: Various venues in Suchdol neighborhood, Prague
All the films shown at the LSFF this year are documentary in nature and come from filmmakers based in some 26 different countries, spanning the globe from the United States to India, and from Sierra Leone to Australia. The Czech Republic is well represented, with some 15 entries.
Out of the 120 films shown at the festival, some 57 constituting the official selection will compete for awards in a nine categories. Most are shorts, but there many medium-length and some feature-length entries on the program, too.
However, the LSFF will not exclusively consist of the 10 dozen films screened at absolutely no charge: There will also be numerous discussions, lectures, interactive exhibitions and "unusual tastings," according to a press release for the event. This term particularly applies to the golden opportunity to taste the most expensive coffee in the world, called kopi Luwak (Luwak coffee), which is the topic under discussion in the film The Price of Coffee.
The screening will take place Thursday, Oct. 17, at 4:30 p.m. in the Round Hall of the Faculty of Engineering. A lecture on the importance of coffee in the culture of the Batak people of the Philippines will precede the screening, and the tasting will follow the film at around 5:30 p.m.
The last day of the festival, Friday, Oct. 18, will be a big draw not only for the content of the films on the program, but also because visitors can go on an excursion to the university's research brewery after the screening of the German film The Eco-Brewery in the Altmühl Valley (Der Ökobräu im Altmühltal). Reservations for the excursion need to be made ahead of time as there is only a limited number of seats available.
The Polish-German production Fuck for Forest and Slovak filmmaker Michal Gálik's The Man Who Plants Trees (Muž, který sází stromy) are two films showing at the festival that have already premiered in the Czech Republic. The former was screened at Kino Světozor earlier this year, while the latter had a sold-out screening at Bio Oko in June.
Fuck for Forest is a nongovernmental organization that raises money to eventually buy forests to protect them and their indigenous peoples from Western exploitation and destruction. To raise money for their project, it is only a matter of making their own erotic films and selling them online, and the documentary that shares its name with the NGO looks at the group's unusual fundraising efforts.
Gálik's documentary is half-travelogue, half-educational piece on one Cameroonian man's struggles to restore the rainforest in his area and teach those around him, especially children, about the need to take better care of nature. The film will be screened three times during the festival (Oct. 14, 15 and 18) and forms part of the official selection.
The complete program can be accessed through the festival website at Lsff.cz/en.
André Crous can be reached at