Retreat for filmmakers pops up in Bratislava

A residency project for screenwriters and directors wants to help put Slovakia on the cinematic map.

Pop Up Film Residency networking event in BratislavaPop Up Film Residency networking event in Bratislava (Source: Courtesy of Pop Up Film Residency)

“I didn’t expect Bratislava to have so many places associated with UFOs,” says Polish filmmaker Kuba Czekaj.

His current project, I Am Blue, toys with the idea of a relationship between an earthling and an extraterrestrial being. In November 2019, Czekaj received the opportunity to partake in the Pop Up Film Residency project, which aims to give filmmakers a break from their daily routine, a new perspective, and a chance to advance their projects, all while staying in Bratislava.

During his stay, Czekaj found that there were many places in Bratislava where “close encounters of the third kind” occur.

“I found signs from space, for instance, in the Nedbalka Gallery, in a restaurant in the shape of a saucer hung over the [SNP] bridge, or during daily walks around the corners surrounded by wild vegetation - which I came across when a certain mobile map led me on a strange path to places I wanted to see,” Czekaj told The Slovak Spectator.

A change of air

What he sought in the residency was isolation in an unknown city, but also interactions with people and their language. “It allowed me to focus on my story, my characters, to be with them in what I call creative loneliness.”

But the change of air means different things for creative minds working on different projects. Each of the filmmakers who have taken part in the Pop-Up Film Residency project in the Slovak capital has their own story to tell.

In November 2019, the residency project hosted Irish director Alan Holly with Italian producer Carla Vulpiani and Irish animator Rory Byrne, who typically work together in their small studio in Ireland but had been scattered around Europe due to their various work obligations prior to the residence. The stay in Bratislava thus came as an opportunity to gather together with a focused goal.

“Specifically for us, it meant a carefully planned moment where we all had prepared some time to spend together to advance the script - which is the development stage we are at,” Vulpiani told The Slovak Spectator. She and Holly also mentioned a visit to Slovak studios and film industry professionals as a benefit of their stay, to share their perspectives and experiences.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

News digest: Part of Slovakia in the worst possible colour of European Covid map

The Covid vaccine booster will be available for more people starting Monday. Education system reform is about to start.

1 h
Martin Hojsík

Russia, not emission allowances, is to blame for electricity and gas prices

Gazprom is tightening the taps and gas prices are rising, claims MEP Martin Hojsík.

7 h
Illustrative stock photo

Applause for frontline workers replaced with salary freeze

Regional hygienists, nursing homes employees, teachers and soldiers will all be affected.

20. okt
Skryť Close ad