Film and theatre
Spend summer evenings under the stars in the company of stars: in streets, squares, and parks that transform into outdoor cinemas and theatres. The rich cultural offerings continue throughout the year, with over 200 premières taking place. One of the most highly anticipated events is the LIFFE Film Festival in November, which changes Ljubljana into an international motion picture hub for two weeks.
Ancient Romans and the Studio Lumière
In the area where Slovenia is today, theatre was loved as early in history as the days of antiquity. The year 1721 saw the birth of the Škofja Loka Passion Play, which is still performed today. In the 19th century, the doors of the first professional theatres opened, and the first showing of a motion picture dates back to 1896 in Maribor. Two years later, Studio Lumière shot the first film to be made in the area of today's Slovenia, at the Ljubljana Castle. Today, you can visit almost thirty theatre institutions and watch a diverse international film selection.
Have you grown tired of predictable Hollywood productions? Visit the Ljubljana Film Festival LIFFE, where you can watch films from established film-makers as well as those by newcomers who are beginning their career path. You will also learn about the trends in various markets and discover different kinds of extravagance. Every year, LIFFE also prepares a retrospective series of films by an exceptional film-maker.
If you like goose pimples, visit Ljutomer in the summer, where a festival of fantastic, horrifying, wild, cult, and non-conventional films takes place, and spend some time socialising with the talented people who create these movies. You can fight the feeling of horror with some tasty wine from the Ljutomer area, and at the end of the festival, take part in a parade of zombies and various monsters.
Documentary Film Festival
The results of war, the censorship and manipulation of historical facts, segregation from society, migration, the right to freedom and expression, as well as other relevant issues are some of the topics of the documentaries that have been shown for nearly 20 years at a very special festival in Ljubljana. Its special feature is an award given by Amnesty International Slovenia to a selected documentary film dealing with human rights.
Kino Otok Festival
Before the main tourist season begins, the former fishing town of Izola invites you to spend some pleasant time on the coast. You will be astonished by the fusion of the energy of the sea with the images on the screen set up in Manzioli Square. In addition to watching films in a pleasant environment, the Kino Otok International Film Festival offers entertainment with DJs on the beach, and allows you to meet the film-makers. It also provides an educational programme, and various events for children.
The Animateka Animated Film Festival is intended to promote animated documentary, feature-length, or children’s films from Eastern and Central Europe. It has been taking place every December since 2004, and its programme also includes the works of students. Through the years, it has become an important meeting point for exchanging ideas, experience, and opinions, as it is attended by authors and other persons who are experts in the field of animation.
Audiences with a more sophisticated taste can enjoy the programme of the Kinodvor Cinema, where you can watch selected contemporary art films and more complex cinematic offerings. The programme also includes something for children, youth, and the elderly. In summer, the cinema organises outdoor film screenings: Films under the Stars at Ljubljana Castle, where high-profile films of the season and premieres are shown, and Summer Cinema at Congress Square, where classics are screened.
The Škofja Loka Passion Play
Re-live the past and go see the unique Škofja Loka Passion Play in 2021. This is 300 years old and hence considered the oldest preserved European director's book. The Škofja Loka Passion Play is staged as a procession in the original setting, in the medieval town centre, which also serves as the perfect backdrop. More than 600 volunteers and approximately 80 horsemen participate in the Passion Play, wearing unique costumes and acting in original renditions of the play.
Slovenian theatres carry out their programmes in Slovenian, unless they are hosting foreign theatre groups. Most guest performances from abroad are organised at Cankarjev Dom . You might be tempted to hear Shakespeare's Hamlet or Homer's Iliad in Slovenian. To do so, it is best to visit one of the two central theatre institutions in Slovenia: Slovenian National Theatre – Drama Ljubljana and Slovenian National Theatre – Maribor Drama. Mladinsko Theatre (The Slovenian Youth Theatre) is for those who love experiencing innovation and audaciousness in the theatre. The Glej Theatre is also known for experimentation. Theatres with a good programme of productions can also be found in Celje and Nova Gorica, where both contemporary as well as classic plays are performed, and Slovenians also have their own theatre in Italy, in Trieste.
Stories from Slovenia
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