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Since 1999, Kinoatelje has been awarding selected authors who are able to produce outstanding films carrying breakthrough visions, in memory of its founder Darko Bratina (1942-1997), film critic, sociologist and politician who attributed special cognitive value to the medium of film. He believed that film is the best means of understanding society and its cultural identity.
The centrepiece of the festival is the Darko Bratina Award along with a complete presentation of the winning author's filmography. Previous recipients of the award include Srdan Golubović, Kim Longinotto, Peter Mettler, Mario Brenta, Dalibor Matanić (Croatia), Villi Hermann (CH), Ruth Beckermann (Austria), Laila Pakalnina (Latvia), Karpo Godina, Franco Giraldi, Želimir Žilnik (Serbia), Miroslav Janek (CZ), Harutyun Khachatryan (Armenia), Petra Seliškar, Demetrio Volcic (Italy), Aljoša Žerjal (Italy), Maja Weiss, Jan Cvitković, and Srdjan Vuletić (BiH).
The festival is home to the ever-growing short film platform First Crossings, developed as an inherent part of the festival and dedicated to the research of new film languages, giving space to experimentation and artistic freedom.
The platform supports innovative, original, brave, and strong new film languages, and underrepresented ideas with social, dramatic, and transformative impact to draw attention towards the short audio-visual forms of all genres. Besides films, experimental video forms and animations, there is also a newly introduced slot dedicated to music videos of any sort. Given that the festival takes place on the border, it strives towards merging all boundaries into a unique platform that voices all cultures. The platform welcomes emerging artists, still in search their own voice, as well as established authors in search of new ways of expression.
In collaboration with partner institutions, the festival presents a rich programme of film contents, screenings, lectures, workshops, professional meetings, concerts, etc., that offer visitors of the cross-border area between Slovenia and Italy an opportunity for quality socializing, which encourages critical thinking about the visions tied to the development of society we live in and shape. Every year, the festival offers an all-day masterclass with the winning author to which participate university film students, art installations, exhibitions, and a film workshop for children in collaboration with the Italian Self-managing National Community in Izola.
Moreover, professionals in the film sector can find an interesting industry meeting tackling a new topic every year with various national and international guests, such as “Cinemas as innovative cultural centres in local communities” in 2020 or “Opportunities for European cooperation in the cultural and creative sectors” in 2019. In 2020, the festival introduced a family programme encompassing screenings and a workshop for children in Nova Gorica.