APR 20 - 25 New York, NY: Film Society of Lincoln Center
MAY 12 - JUNE 9 Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Cinematheque
MAY 31 - JUNE 3 Los Angeles, CA: American Cinematheque
JUNE 6 - JULY 4 Chicago, IL: Gene Siskel Film Center
JULY 19 - AUG 2 Vancouver, Canada: The Cinematheque
SEPT 5 - 26 Rochester, NY: George Eastman Museum
SEPT 12 - 18 Montreal, QC, Canada: Cinémathèque Québécoise
APR 19 - 24 Prague, Czech Republic: Svetozor & Aero
APR 21 - 24 Warsaw, Poland: Kino.LAB
APR 22 - 24 Budapest, Hungary: Toldi Mozi
MAY 1 - 5 Berlin, Germany: Arsenal
MAY 5 Vienna, Austria: Film Museum
MAY 9 - 10 Brno, Czech Republic: KinoArt
MAY 12 - 15 Havirov, Czech Republic: Kino Centrum
JULY 1 - 31 Frankfurt, Germany: Deutsches Filmmuseum
Jan 9 - 24 Los Angeles, CA: The Cinefamily
Jan 14 - 22 New York, NY: Film Society of Lincoln Center
JAN 15 - FEB 17 Silver Spring, MD (DC area): AFI Silver Theatre
Jan 17 - 18 Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center
Jan 23 - 27 Austin, TX: Austin Film Society
Jan 28 - 31 Boston, MA: Museum of Fine Arts
Feb 5 - 8 Seattle, WA: Northwest Film Forum
Feb 12 - 26 San Francisco, CA: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Mar 4 - 25 Pleasantville, NY: Jacob Burns Film Center
Mar 5 - 15 Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Cinematheque
Mar 12 - 22 Vancouver, BC, Canada: The CInematheque
Mar 14 - 22 Chicago, IL: Facets Cinematheque
Mar 21 - 28 Ottawa, ON, Canada: Canadian Film Institute
Mar 26 - 29 Portland, OR: Northwest Film Center
Mar 30 - Apr 8 Huntington, NY: Cinema Arts Centre
APR 9 - 14 Toronto, ON, Canada: TIFF Bell Lightbox
Nov 8 - 14 New York, NY: BAMcinématek
Nov 15 - Dec 6 Austin, TX: Austin Film Society
Jan 3 - 20 Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Cinematheque
Jan 24 New Haven, CT: Yale University
Jan 31 - Feb 5 Vancouver, BC, Canada: The CInematheque
FEB 11 - MAR 5 Los Angeles, CA: The Cinefamily
FEB 28 - MAR 4 Atlanta, GA: Film Love at Emory University
FEB 18 - 24 Rochester, NY: George Eastman House
FEB 21 - 27 Seattle, WA: Northwest Film Forum
Mar 6 - 20 Columbus, OH: Wexner Center for the Arts
MAR 14 - 20 Chicago, IL: Facets Cinematheque
APR 6 - 23 Berkeley/San Francisco, CA: Pacific Film Archive
APR 6 - 25 Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art
APR 19 - 28 Silver Spring, MD (DC area): AFI Silver Theatre
Apr 19 - 26 Cambridge, MA: Harvard Film Archive
APR 30 Huntington, NY: Cinema Arts Centre
MAY 6 Prague, Czech Republic: Kino Světozor
THE PUPPET MASTER: THE COMPLETE JIŘÍ TRNKA retrospective from the production of Comeback Company begins its North American tour in New York on April 20, 2018 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Follow the link for the full line-up and schedule. Tickets go on sale April 6.  Ruben Östlund wins the coveted Palme d'Or, the main award of the Cannes Film Festival for his latest feature film THE SQUARE. The director has participated in the main competition at the festival for the first time next to luminaries like Michael Haneke, Hong Sang-soo and others.  An extensive retropective of the work of Jan Němec will take place in January 2017 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam as a tribute to the late filmmaker who passed away in March 2016. The retrospective will include the international premiere of THE WOLF FROM ROYAL VINEYARD STREET, the director's final feature film.  J. Hoberman reviews the just released DVD of the restored debut of Kelly Reichardt, RIVER OF GRASS.  The world premiere of Jan Němec's final feature film THE WOLF FROM ROYAL VINEYARD STREET takes place in competition of the upcoming Karlovy Vary IFF. The director sadly passed away in March before the last shooting day of the film, finished by his crew made of Nemec's former students.  Follow Ruben Östlund's THE SQUARE from pre-production to premiere on the Plattform Produktion Instagram feed.  “Kelly [Reichardt] is a master at her craft and one of the most distinct storytellers working in cinema today,” said Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects/IFC Films at the announcement of IFC Films aquiring US distribution rights to Reichardt's latest film CERTAIN WOMEN. “Along with her amazing cast [...] Kelly has created another treasure that confirms her as one of our great American filmmakers." Meanwhile in New York, RIVER OF GRASS Kelly Reichardt's debut feature in a newly restored version has its theatrical premiere at IFC Center screening with classics that inspired the filmmaker, starting Friday, March 11. EXCITING NEWS: Kelly Reichardt touring retrospective is coming soon. First clue: everything starts with the filmmaker in Prague! Ruben Östlund's FORCE MAJEURE nominated for the BAFTA Awards 2016 A new READER section added to the Jan Němec retrospective pages. Read a chapter from the filmmaker's autobiographical book of stories, excerpts from books by Peter Hames, Jiří Cieslar, and A.J. Liehm, and more. 
Jan Němec is in production of his 11th feature film, currently shooting in Cannes, revisiting 1968 when A REPORT ON THE PARTY AND GUESTS was shown in the main competition at the festival. 
NOW ON VIEW! Walker Art Center in Minneapolis hosted an onstage conversation between director Östlund and Dennis Lim, critic and FSLC Program Director. Enjoy! VARIETY says: "North American retrospective tour an inspiration for the ‘Force Majeure’ director" Ruben Östlund visits the vault of the Criterion Collection and speaks about his influences. ÖSTLUND'S YOUTUBE PLAYLIST added: See section RUBEN ÖSTLUND READER for the director's youtube inspirations and the most interesting texts on his films, interviews, and more… What it's like NOT getting an Oscar nomination? See Ruben Östlund and Erik Hemmendorff recording themselves through the Oscar snub.  Ruben Östlund & FORCE MAJEURE sweep a record six Swedish Film Awards - Guldbagge - for Best Film, Best Director, Best Script, Best Editing, Best Camera and Best Actor in Supporting Role.
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A production company based in New York, Comeback Company was founded by producer and independent film programmer Irena Kovarova. 

Having worked independently in New York in the field of repertory cinema since 2004, Irena founded Comeback Company in 2013 to further expand her film projects. Below is a selection of major film events that she has produced and/or curated.


Together with

Evgeny Gusyatinskiy, Irena Kovarova co-curated a nearly complete retrospective of the irreverant late filmmaker Jan Němec on the occassion of the international premiere of his final feature, as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2017. 


Evgeny Gusyatinskiy & Irena Kovarova, February 2017

This programme was initiated two years ago. Back then, we were expecting Jan Němec’s new film to be completed. But not only the production of The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street was prolonged, finishing only in 2016, this autobiographical work suddenly became Němec’s final film. He passed away four months before the film’s world premiere in Karlovy Vary. An unexpected, unbelievable turn of events – like another spontaneous cut for which his style is famous. [...]

Continue reading here.

The Jan Němec retrospective was organised in partnership with the Czech Film Center. Many thanks to Robert de Rek, Ilse van der Spoel, Iva Ruszeláková and Markéta Šantrochová for their enormous help.


An annual film festival of current European cinema held in New York, in three venues in its fifth edition—the IFC Center, the Bohemian National Hall, and Museum of the Moving Image. The number of organizing partners grew from eight in the first year to 34 in the fifth. Attendance more than doubled from the first year to the fifth, totaling over 1,500 admissions in 2013. (Curator/producer) 

2013 Disappearing Act V
Screenings of 24 films with eight guests in three cinemas; expansion of the educational outreach program; and a panel discussion devoted to the streaming of European films in the U.S. (visit DAV Blog here for program details).

2012 Disappearing Act IV 
Screenings of 25 films with six guests, expansion to three cinemas; addition of an educational outreach program; and a panel discussion devoted to the presence of European cinema at universities in the U.S.

2011 Disappearing Act III
Screenings of 19 films with three guests and a panel discussion publicly launching the Subtitled Cinema Initiative.

2010 Disappearing Act II
Screenings of 18 films with one guest and a panel discussion on the distribution of foreign language films in the U.S.

2009 Disappearing Act: European Cinema from New Wave to New Wave 
Screenings of 18 films with three guests and a panel discussion on the access of foreign language films to cinemas in the U.S.

NEW CZECH FILMS_U.S. TOUR 2012 and Seven Annual NEW CZECH FILMS Series 2004–2010

A touring series of recent Czech films screening in eight cities that was organized in collaboration with the Czech Film Center, Czech Center New York, and Czech diplomatic offices and premiered in New York at BAMcinématek; the touring program originated as an annual series that ran in New York beginning in 2000, also at BAMcinématek. (Curator/co-producer)


Irena Kovarova has produced tours of thematic and filmmaker retrospectives in art cinema venues around the U.S. and Canada, with varying level of curatorial participation: 

2012–2013 The second major North American film retrospective of Jan Švankmajer, presented in 16 venues

2011 The second major film retrospective of František Vláčil in North America, presented in five American venues

2009 The first complete film retrospective of Karel Vachek in North America, presented in six venues

2008 A historical survey/retrospective of Slovenian Cinema, co-curated with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and presented in four venues in North America

2008 A complete film retrospective of Miloš Forman, co-curated with the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the premiering venue, and presented in 13 cities, including as part of the Regis Dialogue program at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

2006–2007 A thematic retrospective, Czech Modernism: 1926-1949, co-curated with BAMcinématek in New York, the premiering venue, and presented in five cities.


Since 2007, Irena Kovarova has been the executive producer of a globally touring retrospective with guest speakers titled Muppets™, Music & Magic: Jim Henson’s Legacy, organized by the Jim Henson Legacy foundation; the series has had nearly 60 bookings around North America and in Australia, Argentina, the UK, and Singapore. 

In 2010, Irena curated and co-produced Cinema Belgrade, a  series of current Serbian cinema in New York.

Since 2005, Irena has been a representative of the Czech Film Center in North America.

During her 1999–2004 tenure as deputy and acting director at the Czech Center New York, Irena organized and co-curated (*) the following film programs: four annual editions of New Czech Films at BAMcinématek; a tour of Gustav Machatý’s Erotikon with live music accompaniment in 2000; touring film retrospectives of Pavel Juráček*, František Vláčil*, Jan Švankmajer*, Karel Zeman*, and Věra Chytilová*; and the series Czech Horror & Fantasy on Film and Czech Animation (each retrospective screened in 5–12 venues in North America).

THE CZECH YEAR (Špalíček, 1947) THE CZECH YEAR (Špalíček, 1947) Trnka established his reputation as a world-renowned master of puppet animation with his Venice prize-winning first feature, a kinetic visual symphony bursting with music and dance that celebrates the customs and folklore of the Czech people. THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE (Císařův slavík, 1948) THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE (Císařův slavík, 1948) Trnka’s adaptation of a classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale—about a Chinese emperor ensorcelled by the song of a mechanical nightingale—is an enchanting animated jewel box awash in hallucinatory, storybook imagery. BAYAYA (Bajaja, 1950) BAYAYA (Bajaja, 1950) A young peasant embarks on a quest to free his mother’s soul from purgatory and save three princesses from a host of hydra-headed dragons in this alternately lyrical and rousing medieval-set adventure based on Czech fairy tales. OLD CZECH LEGENDS (Staré pověsti české, 1952) OLD CZECH LEGENDS (Staré pověsti české, 1952) A treasure trove of Bohemian myths are brought to life by Trnka’s magical puppet work in this folkloric hymn to the Czech land, history, and people, which features a breathtaking climactic battle sequence worthy of Kurosawa. THE GOOD SOLDIER ŠVEJK (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka, 1954) THE GOOD SOLDIER ŠVEJK (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka, 1954) This riotous anti-authoritarian satire—based on the scathingly funny, hugely influential anti-war classic of Czech literature—charts the exploits of a hapless World War I infantryman with biting, subversive wit. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Sen noci svatojánské, 1959) A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Sen noci svatojánské, 1959) This bewitching adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale is a masterpiece of surpassing, balletic beauty that plays out amidst a garlanded, pastel dreamscape GRANDPA PLANTED A BEET (Zasadil dědek řepu, 1945) GRANDPA PLANTED A BEET (Zasadil dědek řepu, 1945) A farmer finds himself with an unusually fertile bumper crop on his hands in Trnka’s first film, a charming hand-drawn adaptation of a Czech fairy tale that announced the director as an animation talent to rival Disney. THE ANIMALS AND THE BRIGANDS (Zvířátka a petrovští, 1946) THE ANIMALS AND THE BRIGANDS (Zvířátka a petrovští, 1946) A rooster, a cat, and a goat meet a trio of ignoble characters deep in a night-shrouded forest in this hand-illustrated, Cannes prize-winning folktale, which showcases Trnka’s gift for evoking light and shadow. SPRINGMAN AND THE SS (Pérák a SS, 1946) SPRINGMAN AND THE SS (Pérák a SS, 1946) Trnka combines 2D and collage animation to striking effect in this zanily offbeat, anti-Nazi lampoon, which crosses Max Fleischer-like absurdism with a biting satirical edge. His first collaboration with Jiří Brdečka. THE GIFT (Dárek, 1946) THE GIFT (Dárek, 1946) Trnka reached new heights of modernist abstraction with this innovative, surrealist mini-masterwork, which critic Jean-Pierre Coursodon likened to the Citizen Kane of animation. ROMANCE WITH DOUBLE BASS (Román s basou, 1949) ROMANCE WITH DOUBLE BASS (Román s basou, 1949) This dreamily beautiful puppet work adapts a short story by Chekhov into a magical, moonlit reverie about a musician, a princess, and a chance encounter while night-swimming. THE DEVIL'S MILL (Čertův mlýn, 1949) THE DEVIL'S MILL (Čertův mlýn, 1949) A barrel organ grinder meets the devil on a mysterious moonlit night in this haunted house fable, which showcases Trnka’s atmospheric use of sound to conjure a macabre mood. SONG OF THE PRAIRIE (Arie prerie, 1949) SONG OF THE PRAIRIE (Arie prerie, 1949) One of Trnka’s most delightfully silly efforts is a slapstick spoof of John Ford’s Stagecoach and Hollywood singing cowboy Westerns based on a popular novel by Jiří Brdečka, who would later direct his own adaptation, the cult favorite Lemonade Joe. THE GOLDEN FISH (O zlaté rybce, 1951) THE GOLDEN FISH (O zlaté rybce, 1951) Trnka returned to 2D animation for this wryly humorous fairy tale—written and narrated by legendary Czech actor Jan Werich—about a man whose problems only multiply when he catches a wish-granting fish. MERRY CIRCUS (Veselý cirkus, 1951) MERRY CIRCUS (Veselý cirkus, 1951) Trnka brings to life a surrealist circus of tightrope-walking fish, musical monkeys, balancing bears, and high-flying acrobatics in this whimsical feat of cut-out animation made in collaboration with leading Czech painters of the era. THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE (Perníková chaloupka, 1951) THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE (Perníková chaloupka, 1951) The Czech version of Hansel and Gretel receives a captivating, puppet-animated adaptation, featuring striking—and fittingly macabre—storybook imagery designed by Trnka and direction by his close colleague and animation heir, Břetislav Pojar. HOW THE OLD MAN TRADED IT ALL AWAY (Jak stařeček měnil, až vyměnil, 1953) HOW THE OLD MAN TRADED IT ALL AWAY (Jak stařeček měnil, až vyměnil, 1953) Folk art-like hand-drawn stills illustrate this sweetly simple pastoral fable, in which a peasant comes into possession of a small fortune—but realizes there are treasures greater than gold. KUŤÁSEK AND KUTILKA (Kuťásek a Kutilka jak ráno vstávali, 1954) KUŤÁSEK AND KUTILKA (Kuťásek a Kutilka jak ráno vstávali, 1954) How do you wake up a sleeping puppet? Made by Trnka in collaboration with actor and puppeteer Josef Pehr, this winsome mix of live action and puppet play is enchanting entertainment for the youngest of viewers. THE TWO FROSTS (Dva mrazíci, 1954) THE TWO FROSTS (Dva mrazíci, 1954) Two mischievous frost spirits—voiced by famed comedian Vlasta Burian and author, popular actor, and satirist Jan Werich—make things chilly for a pair of travelers in this wintry comic folktale. CIRCUS HURVÍNEK (Cirkus Hurvínek, 1955) CIRCUS HURVÍNEK (Cirkus Hurvínek, 1955) Trnka pays homage to two of Czechoslovakia’s most beloved characters—Spejbl and the mischievous Hurvínek, a father and son duo created by Trnka’s puppeteer mentor, Josef Skupa—in this imaginative tale of a young boy who dreams of being part of the circus. WHY UNESCO? (Proč UNESCO?, 1958) WHY UNESCO? (Proč UNESCO?, 1958) Commissioned by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (which considered Disney for the assignment before settling on Trnka), this cartoon short employs strikingly simple animation to make the case that all of humanity is enriched when we tear down the walls that separate us. THE MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE (Půlnoční příhoda, 1960) THE MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE (Půlnoční příhoda, 1960) An old woodblock train meets its shiny new electric replacement one Christmas Eve night in this glowingly nostalgic stop motion toy story, directed by Břetislav Pojar and featuring gorgeous design by Trnka. PASSION (a.k.a. OBSESSION - Vášeň, 1962) PASSION (a.k.a. OBSESSION - Vášeň, 1962) A boy’s need for speed causes problems throughout his life in this triumph of modernist design, which blends puppet, stop motion, collage, and cut-out animation with a gothic humor and Pop Art-like visual design. CYBERNETIC GRANDMA (Kybernetická babička, 1962) CYBERNETIC GRANDMA (Kybernetická babička, 1962) Trnka took a turn into Space Age sci-fi surrealism with this dark, dystopian satire on automatization in which a child traverses a forbidding technological wasteland to meet (surprise!) her uncanny new robotic grandmother. ARCHANGEL GABRIEL AND MISTRESS GOOSE (Archanděl Gabriel a paní Husa, 1964) ARCHANGEL GABRIEL AND MISTRESS GOOSE (Archanděl Gabriel a paní Husa, 1964) Adapted from a story in Boccaccio’s Decameron, this irreverent, medieval-set lampoon of religious hypocrisy mixes Christian iconography with bawdy black humor to tell the tale of a lusty Venetian monk who assumes the guise of the angel Gabriel to seduce a married woman. THE HAND (Ruka, 1965) THE HAND (Ruka, 1965) Trnka’s last work is a powerful, deeply personal allegory about the plight of the artist toiling under the restrictions of a totalitarian government. The story of a simple sculptor who is menaced by a giant, disembodied hand that forces him to bend to its will, it was banned by the Communist censors for two decades—but has since taken its place as an acknowledged masterpiece of animation.


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