Art Talent Show
Year after year, talent admission exams are held at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague to determine who among the many applicants will earn a coveted spot at the 220-year-old institution. By extension, those chosen will set the tone in the fine arts world for years to come. Professors from each of the school’s subdisciplines interrogate the nervous young applicants, who in turn must not only present their work but also answer for their own artistic beliefs and practice. Equally exhausted by this process, the instructors are confronted by their own set of questions: how can and should artistic talent be assessed? What role do institutions such as the Academy play in the 21st century? What does the next generation of great artists look like?
In the vein of Frederick Wiseman’s work, ART TALENT SHOW offers insightful commentary on the intergenerational cultural dissonance surrounding topics like identity politics and social justice in relation to art and its practice. A “documentary less about art or talent than about the Sisyphean task of assessing one and nurturing the other” (Variety), filmmakers Adéla Komrzý and Tomáš Bojar take a sensitive and ultimately light-hearted approach to the examination of art school admission.
"ART TALENT SHOW is sympathetic to its subjects. Both faculty and students are treated with dignity, despite the mild fun being poked at them by the filmmakers. We see tender moments between trusted colleagues, and the faculty’s intentions are depicted sympathetically as they tell the applicants to be proud of their accomplishments and talent. The faculty remind students that they must make difficult decisions about admission, even though all the students are talented. Painting professor, Marek Meduna, admits that he himself applied to the academy five times before he was admitted. We don’t ever find out who is admitted. As the professors say, this process is about relationship building and learning about one another. The exams are a microcosm of the relationships that the artists will build with one another over the course of their education. This film has value for art schools and film schools, but Art Talent Show might also be informative for courses studying human development. Recommended." - Steve Brantley, EMRO
- Kateřina Olivová
- Darina Alster
- Marek Meduna
- Petr Dub
- "A witty, Wiseman-esque documentary about Art School staff and their aspiring students.... [A] drolly insightful odyssey of oddity."
- "What’s not to like in a humorous, thoughtful doc that tears down the curtain on how contemporary academia judges talent in the art students it will admit to Prague’s prestigious and exclusive Academy of Fine Arts? [A] refreshing change of pace and well worth watching."
- "[A] highly entertaining observational film about the annual evaluation process at the Prague Academy of Arts...The film, shot over one week, is primarily focused on the studio talent tests. The prospective students paint, scream (on command) and answer confrontational questions. Art Talent Show shows the toll that this process takes on all involved. Interspersed between moments of playful camaraderie, the teachers clearly suffer through the exam process too."
- "This funny, thoughtful, verité look at the yearly selection process in Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts manages to pack insights about education, societal shifts, and intellectual differences without getting bogged down in culture war cliches."
- "Bojar and Komrzy have been blessed with an eccentric cast of faculty members who are fascinating and often hilarious. Spending time with them is a pleasure. I hated to see this one end."
- "Komrzý and Bojar take an observational approach that embraces the endearing awkwardness and inherent absurdity of the application process and the people involved in it."
Awards & Recognition
Czech Lion Awards
Proxima Grand Prix
Karlovy Vary Int'l. Film Festival
Karlovy Vary Int'l. Film Festival
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
True/False Documentary Film Festival
MoMI First Look Film Festival