Culture Shorts

Foreigners come to learn Slovak

TWENTY-NINE students from 14 countries have arrived in Bratislava to improve their skills in the Slovak language. The Centre for Continuing Education at Comenius University opened its 16th annual Summer Slovak Language Course on July 10, TASR news wire wrote.

Most participants arrived from the US and Austria, but others are also from Korea, Italy, France or Mexico. Many have little experiences with the Slovak language.

A 16-year old student from Austria is the youngest while the oldest, at 62, arrived from the US. Many students have Slovak roots and have come to Bratislava to get better acquainted with the country and the language of their ancestors.

During their three-week stay, the participants will attend lectures as well as take part in trips and excursions around the country.

The programme ends on July 28 and includes visits to Devín, Bojnice and Červený Kameň castles, discussions with writer Daniel Hevier, the screening of Slovak language films, a voyage on the Danube River and an organ concert. The students will also learn about traditional handicrafts, taste traditional Slovak wines and food specialities and listen to local folk music.

The first two weeks take place in Bratislava with the third taking place in the recreational area of Modra-Harmónia.

Another 30 foreigners from nine European countries, Mexico and Australia are learning the Slovak language in Banská Bystrica in central Slovakia. The Matej Bel University holds a similar event called The Summer Course of Slovak Language and Culture 2006 that runs between July 10 and 29.

"We mainly want to teach the participants communication skills covering various situations as well as basic grammar," the director of the university's Methodical Centre Anita Murgašová told the TASR news wire. She added that after the course, the participants should be able to cope with common language situations they encounter in restaurants and shops.

The course is specifically organised for Slovaks living abroad and their children. Murgašová told the SITA news wire that young people have the highest number of participants but the range of ages is between 19 and 66 years.

"It is interesting that three students, who arrived here from Australia, do not have ancestors from Slovakia, but from Vojvodina in the former Yugoslavia, where a Slovak minority lives," said Murgašová.

The Banská Bystrica students will spend one week in the High Tatras, meet with representatives of the Slovak heritage organisation Matica Slovenská and visit historical monuments in Banská Bystrica and other Slovak towns. They will also meet with the director of the Radošinské Naivné Divadlo, Stanislav Štepka.

The Methodical Centre was established in 1993 and since 1995 has trained more than 1,000 teachers from foreign locations the Slovak language. The teachers have come from Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, countries of former Yugoslavia, Canada, Finland, Austria and Sweden. This is the second time the summer school is open to non-teachers.

Marko Škop triumphs in Karlovy Vary

Filmmaker Marko Škop takes home the Karlovy Vary prize.
photo: ČTK

The SLOVAK-CZECH docu-mentary Iné svety (Other Worlds) by Slovak director Marko Škop won two prizes at the 41st annual Karlovy Vary film festival. The prestigious internationally reco-gnized film festival in the Czech Republic awarded the film a Special Jury Prize with the audience also picking the film as its favourite.

Škop attended the festival's closing ceremony on July 8. Apart from greeting the audience in the Šariš dialect (the language of the film), he expressed his delight at the success his film enjoyed among the festival goers and hopes that the interest catches on with distribution companies.

The film distribution company, ARTCAM, signed Škop during the festival and will soon bring Other Worlds to Czech cinemas.

"Votes and responses from the festival viewers are important indicators for film producers and distributors as to how successful a film will be in distribution at home or internationally," Simona Nôtová-Tušerová from the Slovak Film Institute told the TASR news wire.

In Other Worlds, Škop, portrays six individuals, who represent the residents of the eastern Slovak region of Šariš, the remote corner of the East Carpathian mountains, and are Ruthenians (Rusyns), Roma and Jews.

Other Worlds also won an award of the Film Culture Club at the Lubuskie Summer Film festival, that took place between July 2 and 9 in the Polish town of Łagów. Škop's film was not the only Slovak film to win awards at the Polish festival. TV film debut Ticho (Silence) by Zuzana Liová won the Silver Grapes award in the feature length film category of the festival.

Renovation can win you a prize

OWNERS of national cultural monuments can win Sk500,000 (€13,150) for renovating local heritage sites. The Ministry of Culture organised a new Cultural Monument of the Year competition that closes July 30th.

"The contest aims at encouraging the responsible behaviour of the owners [of cultural monuments] toward protecting cultural heritage," said Zuzana Mistríková, the general director of the media and audio-vision section at the ministry.

The competition is open to owners of national cultural monuments that undertook reconstruction work over the last year. The owners can submit entries to the Ministry of Culture in two categories - renovation of immovable national cultural monuments and restoration of movable as well as immovable monuments. The first three winners in both categories will receive the title of Monument of the Year 2005.

Prepared by Jana Liptáková

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