The second half of April, this year specifically from 23 to 28 April, will traditionally present Academia Film Olomouc, the Festival of Science Documentary Films. As the festival is fast approaching, we offer our viewers the first taste of the vibrant and busy programme for 2019. Read below and find out whom to expect!
After four years, the current and most prominent evolutionary biologist, author of The God Delusion (2016) or The Selfish Gene (1976) and populariser of his field, Richard Dawkins, is coming back to Olomouc. He captivated the audience at AFO50 in 2015 with his clever humour while he held a conversation with the theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in front of a full hall at the Metropol Cinema. This two-man show of two scientific giants was one of the most successful and most talked-about programme blocks in recent years. Let’s see what Richard Dawkins has in store for us this year.
Another big one who will honour us with his presence is the screenwriter and showrunner Michael Hirst who is behind the popular series Vikings (2013). The spectacular TV adaptation of the adventurous fate of Ragnar Lothbrok and his descendants will release its sixth season this year. Besides Vikings, Hirst has other popular historical series, like The Tudors (2017) or Elizabeth (1998), under his belt. He will come to AFO with his daughter, the 24-year-old actress Georgia Hirst who’s playing Torvi in the Vikings series. AFO visitors will have the unique opportunity to discuss the series directly with its creators and find out who is behind the grand success of this creation.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Czech Egyptology, we’ve included it in this year’s programme, and besides other very interesting guests and topical documents, the festival will also host the Egyptian Indiana Jones Zahi Hawass. Archaeologist, Egyptologist and former Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities is one of the best-known popularisers of his field thanks to his frequent performances in documentaries and his presence at AFO is without a doubt the highlight of the entire Egyptology section. He will be accompanied by Mostafa Waziri, his successor in the aforementioned office.
Another important anniversary is 50 years from the first Moon landing. The Apollo 11 crew set foot on the lunar surface on 20 July 1969 and was followed by several other missions. The Moon section will be one of the thematic programme sections of this year’s AFO. The visitors can look forward to a selection of documentaries and fiction films connected with the topic of the Moon; in cooperation with the Brno Observatory and Planetarium, we will hold a debate panel introducing the past and future of the Moon expeditions and astronaut Vladimír Remek will share his experiences.
The accompanying programme will also be ample and, among others, we have to mention the visit of the artist Marie Tomanová (Instagram). The photographer and artist born in the Czech Republic and currently living in New York has published her first book of photographs last year entitled Young American and her attendance will be the highlight of this year’s AFO accompanying programme.
Besides the non-competition programme, the Festival will once again focus on the best documentary films all over the world which will make it to the silver screen and to the audience thanks to the competition. Unique films often not seen anywhere else in the Czech Republic will compete in several categories and introduce current scientific issues.
The Most Unknown (2018) directed by Ian Cheney and produced by Motherboard will be one of the competition films and subject of the viewers’ vote. This documentary represents a film experiment taking 9 scientists to new and previously unknown places – both physically and intellectually. They travel the world to meet their colleagues who let them peek inside the mysteries of their fields. Together they look for answers to the most pressing questions concerning our planet, cosmos and humanity. How did life begin? What is conscience? And what is time? The film will be introduced at the festival by its producer Greg Boustead, science popularising professional. He is also responsible for another unique documentary which will be screened at our viewers’ pleasure.
After Austin and Copenhagen, Human Nature will have only its third screening in the world in Olomouc. The film explains CRISP, one of the most crucial biological discoveries. This is a method of how to modify the essence of DNA and cure diseases, design children genes or change the biosphere. It is a discovery which may mean a turning point for the development of mankind, even more significant than the Internet or digitalisation of the world. The festival aims to offer our viewers current popular-science film work of the highest quality and many films will not even be possible to watch anywhere else in the Czech Republic outside of AFO.
You have the following two months and a half to look forward to these documentaries and special guests. And that’s not all, the guests, much like the list of films and accompanying programme, will multiply the closer we get. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted! #WatchAndKnow #AFO54
Authors: Tomáš Poštulka, Hana Křížková
Editor: Nikol Láryšová