Announcing the AFO59 Competition Films: A Journey into Ecosystems, Genres, Nocturnal Realms and Prehistoric DNA!

26. 3. 2024

The highlight of the festival programme are its annual competition sections presenting the best science films produced in Czechia and abroad for the past two years. What audiovisual gems caught the eye of our curators this year?

The International Competition presents popular science films from all around the globe, the Czech & Slovak Competition shines a spotlight on homegrown efforts in science popularisation and the Short Film Competition features innovative storytelling that pushes the boundaries of format and creativity. Buckle up and immerse yourself in a curated selection of captivating works from visionary filmmakers. Enjoy the ride!

Stay tuned as we unveil more details and highlights in the lead-up to the festival. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates! And mark your calendars for 23–28 April, when we’ll be screening 56 remarkable films at AFO59. 

International Competition

“The International Competition is our programme’s flagship, presenting the pinnacle of collective audiovisual craftsmanship. These competition films are a beacon of scientific enlightenment and provide a unique perspective on the world around us, shedding light on often overlooked topics. From researching ecosystems and exploring prehistoric DNA to venturing into alternative worlds and communities simulated in gaming virtual reality, they stretch the boundaries of scientific documentary, redefining its essence and potential.” (Ondřej Kazík, Head of Programming)

  • Archive of the Future (dir. Joerg Burger, Austria, 2023)
  • Confessions of a Good Samaritan (dir. Penny Lane, USA, 2023)
  • Fungi: Web of Life (dir. Joseph Nizeti, Australia, 2023)
  • Hunt for the Oldest DNA (dir. Niobe Thompson, Canada, 2024)
  • Knit’s Island (dir. Quentin L’helgoualc’h, Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, France, 2023)
  • Last Chance to Save a Life (dir. Emma Watts, Australia, 2024)
  • Let’s Talk About Sex – A Century of Sex Education (dir. Ina Kessebohm, Nadine Neumann, Germany, 2022)
  • Meanders or the Invented River (Emilien De Bortoli, Marie Lusson, France, 2023)
  • Neutrino – The Poet Among the Elementary Particles (dir. Hannie van den Bergh, Jan van den Berg, Netherlands, 2023)
  • Nocturnes (dir. Anirban Dutta, Anupama Srinivasan, India, USA, 2024)
  • On the Precipice – The Alps (dir. Harald Pokieser, Austria, 2023)
  • Space Trash (dir. Liza Fanjeaux, France, 2023)
  • Taste: We Eat What We Are (dir. Annamaria Talas, Australia, 2024)
  • TerraForma (dir. Laurence Durkin, Kevin Brennan, Ireland, 2023)
  • The Battle to Beat Malaria (dir. Catherine Gale, UK, 2023)
  • The Healing Power of Psychedelic Drugs – A Renaissance (dir. Caroline Charlotte Haertel, Mirjana Momirović, Germany, 2022)
  • The Last (dir. Sebastián Peña Escobar, Paraguay, 2023)
  • The Universe in a Grain of Sand (dir. Mark Alan Levinson, USA, 2023)
  • Woodpeckers: The Hole Story (dir. Ann Johnson Prum, USA, 2022)
Fungi: Web of Life
Hunt for the Oldest DNA

Czech & Slovak Competition

“This year’s selection reflects our dedication to embracing contemporary documentaries while carving out room for experimental and genre-bending works. The endeavour to popularise science knows no bounds, and we’re committed to showcasing a spectrum of creative approaches that leverage diverse audiovisual dialects and cutting-edge scientific methodologies. With a new wave of filmmakers and the advent of groundbreaking technologies like neural networks, we see a paradigm shift in what it means to make a documentary. It is not entirely impossible that we will use prompts when making the documentaries and films of tomorrow.” (Karolína Matějková, programmer)

  • 3 MWh (Marie-Magdalena Kochová, Czechia, 2023)
  • Body-Soul-Patient (dir. Jindřich Andrš, Czechia, 2023)
  • Buzz of the Earth (dir. Greta Stocklassa, Czechia, 2023)
  • Czechs on Drugs (dir. Ivo Bystřičan, Czechia, 2024)
  • Hearing the Forests (dir. Karel Svoboda, Czechia, 2023)
  • Historical Countryside of Jeseniky in 3D (dir. Miroslav Tomka, Czechia, 2024)
  • The Last Rhino (dir. Roman Ondrůj, Czechia, 2022)
  • National Parks of Slovakia (dir. Patrik Paulínyi, Slovakia, 2023)
  • Notes from Eremocene (dir. Viera Čákanyová, Slovakia, 2023)
  • The Prison of History (dir. Jan Gogola ml., Matěj Hrudička, Czechia, 2023)
  • Scalespace (dir. Petr Salaba, Czechia, 2023)
  • Silent Space Wanderer (dir. Pavel Jurda, Czechia, 2022)
  • TeleRevision (dir. Dorota Vašíčková, Czechia, 2023)
  • The World According To My Dad (dir. Marta Kovářová, Czechia, 2023)


Notes from Eremocene
3 MWh

Short Film Competition

“The AFO short film selection is distinguished by its ingenuity and creativity. The shorts explore unconventional themes through playful formats and a knack for surprise. We grouped this year’s short film selection into five thematic blocks. They will cater to tech enthusiasts and environmentally conscious observers alike. Yet, sometimes, all it takes is a late-night stroll beneath the stars to find inspiration.” (Eva Suková, programmer)

  • Dust Is a Whale, Is Sunlight (dir. María Casas Castillo, Portugal, 2023)
  • Mussel Grubbing: A Citizen Science Treasure Hunt (dir. Jason Lindsey, USA, 2022)
  • True Places Never Are (dir. Jeff Young, UK, 2023)
  • The Wind Is Taking Them (dir. Ann Carolin Renninger, Germany, 2023)
  • Algorithms of Beauty (dir. Miléna Trivier, Belgium, 2022)
  • Cold Snap: Imaging the Universe’s Coldest Temperatures (dir. Joshua Chawner, UK, 2023)
  • The Color Red (dir. Sebastian Eggerbauer, Germany, 2023)
  • Cosmic Pudding (dir. Geneviève Anhoury, France, 2023)
  • Chemical Somnia (dir. Scott Portingale, Canada, 2022)     
  • Batsies (dir. Elizabeth Unger, USA, 2023)      
  • If Camembert Were to Disappear Too … (dir. Francesca Barbieri, France, 2023)
  • Metabolism (dir. Misho Antadze, Netherlands, 2023)
  • The Quest to Save Parasites (dir. Emily Driscoll, USA, 2023)
  • Bliss.jpg (dir. Emily Apter, Elijah Stevens, UK, 2023)
  • Code-Based Colleagues: The Future of Work and AI (dir. Rob Key, UK, 2023)
  • getty abortions (dir. Franzis Kabisch, Germany, 2023)
  • Hardly Working (dir. Total Refusal, Austria, 2022)
  • Skopje 2014 According to ChatGPT (dir. Pauline Blanchet, UK, 2023)
  • Beyond the Soil (dir. Jaime Jacobsen, Eric Forbes, USA, 2023)   
  • Between Earth & Sky (dir. Andrew Nadkarni, USA, 2023)
  • Exoskeletons (dir. Mariana Castiñeiras, Hungary, 2022)
  • Scenic View (dir. Maija Blåfield, Finland, 2023)
  • Strangers in the Dark (dir. Jenni Pystynen, Perttu Inkilä, Finland, 2023)
Algorithms of Beauty
Chemical Somnia