Olomouc has been a Magnet for Science Fans

27. 04. 2015

AFO 2015University town Olomouc has become the stage of the Europe’s largest popular-scientific film festival called Academia Film Olomouc (AFO), which the 50th Annual was held from 14th April – 19th April 2015. The festival, organized by Palacký University in Olomouc, celebrated its half a century of existence in grand style. There was an extreme interest of the AFO programme. A record-breaking number of visitors arrived -- 5 800 (compared to last year’s 4 067 visitors) and over 300 Czech and foreign guests.

The historic city Olomouc has transformed thanks to the festival into the unique place that lived by the popularization of science through lectures, panel discussions and projections of hundreds of the best Czech and foreign films accompanied by their creators. The festival recorded the biggest audience festival brunt mainly thanks to the dialogue of two influential figures of science – the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and the American theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss.

Their intellectual debate took place within the project of the Arizona State University called Origins Dialogue, which came to the Czech Republic (or the Central Europe as a whole) for the first time in history. The inspirational dialogue on the cosmos, science and its application in this life filled the cinema called Metropol in Olomouc to the brim and attracted the attention of thousands of Dawkins fans. The organizers already have the exact dates of the next year’s festival: AFO51 will be held from 19th to 24th April 2016.

"The 50th Annual of AFO was a grandiose success and it internationally confirmed the ever improving reputation of the festival. This year, Palacký University also opened the interactive centre for popularization of science called Fort of Knowledge, which brings the secrets of science to the public by different way. And I believe that the concept of Fort of Knowledge will be as successful and as positively perceived as AFO", summarizes the Rector of Palacký University Jaroslav Miller his impressions from the festival and from the opening of the progressive museum of science, which was visited by 2 000 people during three days.

Into the sections of competition were signed in total 530 presentations from all around the world, into the shortlist of international competition were selected by the script editor group of festival 19 best presentations, into the Czech competition were selected 16 presentations and the same number into the section of short films. Seven statutory awards were given out at the conclusion of the festival.

The RWE Award to the Best Czech Popular-scientific Documentary Film took home the story about controversial social experiment with the theme about the solving of the Romany issue called Burried Letters made by Tomáš Kudrna, an Award for the Best International Popular-scientific Documentary Film was given to the British documentary film about the origin and development of logic called The Joy of Logic. Finally, the Audience Award belonged on cue to the humorous and informative documentary film called “Pidiobři 3D”. It is a visually stunning survey of life of small rodents exclusive filmed with miniature 3D cameras. Especially for AFO, it was dubbed by actor Jiří Lábus.

The famous evolutionary biologist and founder of the so-called new atheism Richard Dawkins was awarded with an Award for Outstanding Personal Contribution to the Popularization of Science at the closing ceremony, similar award has also become Boston TV station PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), particularly for long-running documentary cycle called Nova watched by viewers in over a hundred different countries.

"It was absolutely exceptional week with a massive overlap. The University opened its modern museum of science and its own UPoint shop and above all, as the first in the Czech Republic, it brought the dialogue between two exceptional intellectual titans. AFO has reached its absolute peek at its 50´s and it is a great advert for both Olomouc and Palacký University in Olomouc", concludes head of the Popularization Centre UP Matěj Dostálek.

Source: Press release


Photos to the article: Ján Michálik, SCSTI SR

Published by: Mária Izakovičová

Translated by: LŠ

Popularization of Science and Technology