On 1 January 2022, the Academia Film Olomouc Festival will have a new director, Eva Navrátilová, who will replace Jakub Ráliš after four years of leading the prestigious international festival. Jakub will move on to managing the Regional Museum in Olomouc, starting January 2022.
The Palacký University alumna is the first woman director in the festival’s history. However, she is definitely not new to AFO. During her university years, she was the Head of Communication. “I and the entire organisational team at AFO share a passion for this project which has been here with us for a long time and received a lot of praise. After a two-year hiatus, with the festival taking place online, we firmly believe that we will be able to organise a live festival once again,” Eva Navrátilová shares her thoughts on the event.
The festival owes its popularity mainly to the exceptional effort dedicated by the organisers over the last fifteen years, as stated by Vít Procházka, Vice-Rector for Communication and Staff-Student Relationship at Palacký University. “The team of organisers includes our students who have the unique opportunity to be part of such prestigious international film festival. AFO is our flagship, and this is in large part thanks to its past director Jakub Ráliš. Godspeed to the new ship captain, Eva Navrátilová. May she have a crew full of talented people on board,” added the Vice-Rector.
The 57th AFO takes place from 26 April to 1 May, and its central theme is HOPE. “The past two years have shown us that it is a topic which deserves to be in the spotlight and critically explored. At AFO57, the theme of hope will highlight the achievements and individual goals in a personal space. To hope is to believe that a person can contribute to improving things around them. This particular belief is the universal motivation of the entire world of science but is also crucial when setting the direction for humankind and the civilisation as a whole,” said Ondřej Kazík, Head of Programming, on the main topic of this year’s festival.
An integral part of the festival, the film competition, has already received over 3,000 documentary applications. “For this year, we have invited wonderful guests, and want to do all it takes to ensure the smoothly organised and high-quality festival our visitors remember. After such a long intermission, it’s gonna be a challenge, but our festival crew sticks to a preset plan: we are creating a festival we ourselves would like to visit. We can’t wait to interact with our visitors in person again! This euphoria will bring the next AFO one step further,” beamed the new festival director who moved from Brno to direct the festival in Olomouc.
The International Festival of Science Documentary Film Academia Film Olomouc (AFO) has been organised by Palacký University for more than 55 years, specifically since 1966. It is one of the oldest cinema-focused Czech festivals. The number of accredited visitors each year clearly shows that it is one of the most popular film festivals in the Czech Republic. In 2019 (the year of the last live festival), AFO
recorded 9,430 visitors in total, and the last festival taking place online in spring 2021 recorded 20,622 films viewed at the festival’s own VOD platform.
Eva Navrátilová received her Master’s Degree in History and Theory of Drama and Film at Palacký University. During her studies, she participated in the preparations of AFO, and since 2010, she was the Head of Communication. She also worked for the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education at Palacký University, Pastiche Filmz, Summer Film School, and Cinepur Choice, Anifest and PAF festivals, the last of which she also directed for a year.
In 2013, she moved to Brno to work for the Communication Department of one of the faculties at Masaryk University, then she went on to cooperate with the Marketing Department at VIDA! Science Centre for seven years. During this time, she also worked part-time for the Aerofilms distribution company and Czech Association of Science Centres.