The international festival of science documentary films has been organised by Palacký University, Olomouc since 1966. In the course of the years, the small-scale private meeting has transformed into one of the biggest scientific events in Europe. It is the only festival in the Czech Republic, which provided a space for a get-together of such famous scientists as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro and philosopher and AI theorist Susan Schneider.
discover universe | experience Earth | explore humanity
Programme of the festival focuses on progressive factual films and documentary films, discussions and lectures exploring various hot topics. From research of distant planets, Earth’s oceans and global warming through the development of robotics and artificial intelligence all the way to the position of women in science and society or life online and addictions.
The driving force behind the festival organisation is mostly current and former students of Palacký University. Organising the festival is a real challenge for the festival production team, helping with the organisation, students of the university can learn a lot and develop new skills. Thus, AFO has become not only a significant science festival on the European scale but also an established educational platform.
Mission and Objectives of Academia Film Olomouc:
- to consistently break down myths and stereotypes related to natural and social sciences as well as the humanities thanks to the cutting-edge films and the invited experts
- to present the general public with science, research and technology as fascinating and vitally important fields of human activity and inseparable parts of our culture and society
- to connect the general public with current and future burning issues of our civilisation, the planet and the universe
- to link the academic sphere and scientific institutions with experts from the TV and film industry and other cultural institutions
- to encourage the creation of new popular science feature films, TV shows and other multimedia formats
- to promote and shape the active and critically minded audience
The annually growing number of accredited visitors makes AFO one of the biggest cinematographic showcase in the Czech Republic. Here are the numbers of visitors, films and guests over the last five years of the Festival:
- AFO 2014: 4.067 accredited visitors | 92 films | 317 guests
- AFO 2015: 5.800 accredited visitors | 94 films | 329 guests
- AFO 2016: 5.523 accredited visitors | 106 films | 334 guests
- AFO 2017: 5.603 accredited visitors | 112 films | 300 guests
- AFO 2018: 7.105 accredited visitors | 116 films | 415 guests
- AFO 2019: 9.430 accredited visitors | 156 films | 415 guests
- AFO 2020 Online: 10.800 accredited visitors | over 100 films and lectures
The expert and student Festival jury grants a total of four awards; the fifth award is decided by the audience:
- Award for the Best International Science Documentary Film
- Award for the Best Czech & Slovak Science Documentary Film
- The Best Science Documentary Short Film Award
- The Palacký University Student Jury Award
- AFO Audience Award
AFO also hands out two statutory awards:
- Popularisation Award – Personality
- Popularisation Award – Institution
How does AFO define a popular science film?
We are very open as far as genre, subject, audiovisual form or content are concerned. Therefore, we do not impose any boundaries on filmmakers and keep our programming open to a wide range of films, ranging from feature science documentaries, wildlife productions, TV films, short or online formats.
To be considered a science documentary by us at Academia Film Olomouc, a film must present the results of systematic observation and exploration of the world within us and around us. We also count in films focusing on scientists as extraordinary professionals or outstanding personalities. Likewise, we consider it legitimate to put in the spotlight science as such: science as an institution, an inherent part of society, with all the dilemmas and complexities related to ethics, methods and applications.