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Special celebration marks country’s centenary

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Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines and representatives who spoke at the festival

100-year anniversary of the founding of former Czechoslovakia was celebrated

A special evening which celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the former Czechoslovakia has taken place in Preston.

The event, which attracted a packed crowd to the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Mitchell and Kenyon Cinema, launched the 12th annual Preston International Film Festival.

UCLan’s Worldwise Learning Centre, part of the School of Language and Global Studies, welcomed Jan Brunner and Elena Malickova, from the embassies of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; Dr Andrea Koblizkova, from the University of Pardubice; and prominent Preston resident Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines MBE, who was one of 669 children evacuated from Czechoslovakia during World War Two on a special train organised by Nicholas Winton.

A panel discussion took place followed by a food and drink reception with traditional Czech and Slovak nibbles and Moravian wine. A screening of Czech film ‘A Dark Blue World,’ by Academy award-winning director Jan Svěrák, followed.

Lady Grenfell-Baines said: “We’ve celebrated the 12th anniversary of the International Film Festival but I’m delighted that we’ve also celebrated 100 years of the birth of Czechoslovakia, a country that only really came to life in 1918. History is very mixed, it was democratic, it was occupied by the Germans, then it was free and then for 40 years under the Communist regime.

“The film we saw was a very special one and very emotional for the Czech and Slovak people. I’m really thankful to UCLan to do this celebration because to us, 100 years of Czechoslovakia means a lot.”

During the week, the 12th International Film Festival screened films in eight languages with English subtitles.

A short video of the evening is available online.

Rachel Atkinson | 07 November 2018