Bled Film Festival – Arnold Rikli film premier


Originally published on Bled Film Festival Diary

Some of the cast and production team of the Arnold Rikli film premier at the Bled Film Festival

Arnold Rikli is held in high esteem in Bled. He is said to be the founder of tourism in the area having come to visit the lake some 160 years ago and declaring the efficacy of the climate and the waters of Lake Bled.

He is also said to be the father of nudism. [He] “was a Swiss natural healer and physicians and  proposed various therapies, mostly based on exposing the body to sun and air, called sun tanning, preferably done while naked.” Wikipedia

On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people from Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland (among other places) came to the premier of a new documentary about Rikli which premiered at the Bled Film Festival.  The film in German, Slovenian and English, brough together contemporary interviews with people related to Rikli  or involved with preserving his memory, beautiful archive material shot around Bled, readings from magazines reviewing Rikli’s techniques and historical re-enactments.
The film is beautifully shot and has a roundness to clarity to the story telling that makes it possible to understand even if you don’t speak German or Slovene. The pace is gentle and unrushed like a Rikli walk up Straza. The cinematography is beautiful.
It was an excellent final screening for the festival and was well received by a large audience.

Awards Night Bled Film Festival


First appeared in Bled Film Festival diary – part of LakeBledNews .com

The Bled Film Festival didn’t end with a bang or a whimper – something more closely related to a sigh of relief.

It was the oddest awards ceremony I have ever attended – and I have attended quite a few, and won in a few as well. And like you I’ve seen plenty on TV. But this was in the proper sense of the word – unique. In a later post I will reflect on the festival and tell you about some observations I have kept to myself, but for now let’s stick with the awards.

The Audience
There can’t have been many more than about 50 people there. No glitz, a little glamour, no excitement, no anticipation. Like every event I attended or saw photos of, there was a lack of what film and events and festivals are all about; people, audience, participants. Festival Hall holds – I am guessing now – upwards of 500 people. We few were scattered about the first 10 rows.

Good start
“Singing in the rain” through the speakers and a single dancer leaps onto the stage! Looking good! Not Riverdance but a very nice touch. He brings on a dancing partner and they take a few steps together and before you know it, it’s all over. Oh, well. It was a good start.

Let me make this point before I go on any further. This event was held in Slovenia where people speak Slovenian. And it is right and propper that the proceedings were carried out in Slovenian. I have no problem with that. I was possibly the only person in the room with little or no Slovenian. But this is billed as an “International Festival”, so throw us a bone, and at least announce people in two or even three languages.

The Photo Presentation
I don’t know who was next or why. A man sat at a desk and showed some rather beautiful and moving photos of (I guess) Africa and African’s engaged in some sort of conflict. He also had an interesting presentation style where he flicked through 10 or 12 images very quickly and stopped at one for some time before moving on quickly through another 10 or more. It left you with impressions until you came to the main photo.

I don’t know who he is, why he was there, which country or region he was presenting. And there was no one to ask.

The Awards. 
Then the highlight – or what should have been. The presenter stood and read out words … well at least the slide behind told me what award category was being talked about. There were no awards given or people to receive them. The names of the winners did not come up on the screen. There was scattered,halting applause to punctuate between awards. It was entirely in Slovenian – although I might have heard the name John O’Brien (Johnu O’Brienu) a couple of times. So I didn’t know who won what. Finally the organisers took the stage and spoke in a rather subdued way about something, probably the festival.

And it was over.

Now at this stage in an event, there is a Press handout with useful information like who the winners are, the Facebook page is updated and the Tweets are already in the public domain. None of those things happened and 12 hours later website, Facebook and Twitter remain unchanged.

Later I asked the young women on the reception desk and asked them who had won what. Best they could do is:

  • Best Film: Petica el Cinco
  • Best Actor: an actor in Petica el Cinco
  • Best Actress: an actress in Limits of Patience
  • Best Documentary: Thule Tuvalu

Something went wrong with Bled Film Festival 2015. I don’t know what but

I will share my thoughts in a post in a few days.

Great view … but no interview


I don’t have a car in Slovenia. So to get from my apartment to the upper terrace of Bled Castle takes about an hour to walk. The final gruelling 30 minutes is upwards is the equivalent of about 25 floors of a skyscraper. It feels like one of those climbing machines in a gym. You end up wet with sweat, needing a change of clothes. But a change and shower is not an option. Anyway, the whole point of a castle from medieval times is that it is defensive and therefore difficult to get to. It would be a bad castle architect that built in a valley!

So I arrived, with aching legs and just a little whiffy at 12:45 for the scheduled Interview with a View. There is a platform and a small area taped off. I could see chairs stacked ready to be set out. I ask a member of Castle staff if they know anything. He thinks the event is to happen there in that taped off area. I ask the man at the ticket office. He shrugs and says the same. I check the Bled Film Festival website and their Facebook and Twitter. Nothing to indicate a change of plans.So I begin my descent – but you have to admit – it is a lovely view.
When contacted a spokeswoman for Bled Castle said that the castle were expecting and prepared for the event. There has no response from the Bled Film Festival. A change to the programme was published onFacebook about an hour after this event – although this event and venue is still on the programme.

The start of a summer of festivals


BLED FILM FESTIVALThe start of the Bled Film Festival today is the beginning of a series of festivals and events that takes us from mid-June to close to the end of August with barely a break. One night last summer I left two or three performances in the middle of Bled and during the 25 minute walk home passed five of six other music events along the way.

There is nothing quite like the party atmosphere on a hot summer night. But it is a positive, safe sharing party atmosphere without confrontation, rancour, or any other sort of unwelcome behaviour. People even tidy up after themselves and fill the waste bins. Early the next morning walking back into Bled, the place was tidy, and clean and – for want of a better word – Slovenian.

As the Lake is important to the town, water is important to the Bled Film Festival. The importance and celebration of water is a central motif. Water themed films are included in the programme, a discussion at the IEDC-Bled School of Management and support for a programme of cleaning five lakes in Slovenia, Lake Bled one of them. So it is with a touch of irony that the day here has started cloudy, overcast and a chance of meatballs, possibly?

TheFilm Festival runs until the 20 June, then from 2 July for 2 weeks is Festival Bled the 20th year of this important event which brings together young people and master musicians. For the first time jazz, rock, pop and folk/ethno music are included in the master classes.

A personal highlight of the year is Bled Days and Bled Nights which dove-tails with Festival Bled. There are no details of the event just yet except for the start and end dates  – 17 to 18 July.

The one day accordion festival on the 19th July is another highlight — seriously! Watch my video if you can.


Swinging Bled is a 3 day celebration of dance and music of the 1930s to 1950s and then the Okarina Festival 30 July to 9 August.

Thursday 12 June


Outstanding lunch in Outstanding lunch in Radovljica. Several types of Salami, Karst ham, sheep’s cheese, olives and cold roast pork with onion bread, three glasses of white wine, followed by snooze on bus on way home in temperatures of 30+, big glass of full milk, two indigestion tablets and lie down to listen to afternoon drama.. Several types of Salami, Karst ham, sheep’s cheese, olives and cold roast pork with onion bread, three glasses of white wine, followed by snooze on bus on way home in temperatures of 30+, big glass of full milk, two indigestion tablets and lie down to listen to afternoon drama.radovljica

Profile – Vlaso “Dax” Dakskobler Of Vila Ajda


Vila Ajda is one of the grand houses built in the 18th and early 19th century that are dotted around Lake Bled. It now houses one of the best restaurants Bled used by visitors and locals alike. For the last seven years it has been run by Vlado Dakskobler.

Articles: Last Update 9 June 2015

Vlado Dakskobler - owner Vila Ajda

“Everybody calls me Dax.” He says as meets me at the restaurant reception on what is already becoming one of the hottest days of the year so far.

bled castle medieval day

Vila Adja seen from Bled Castle

We sit at a table on the terrace where we have two classic views of Lake Bled; the Castle and St Martin’s to my right and the church on the island in the distance directly in front.


Festival Bled Extends Its Musical Reach


For the first time in its 20 year history, jazz, rock, pop and folk music master classes will be included in the Bled Festival. Until now this has been a classical music festival with students from around Europe attending master classes and performing in concert. This year Bled Festival will include workshops in other music genres with leading Slovene musicians.

Articles: Last Update 10 June 2015

Festival Bled 2015

Slovene musicians will extend the festival’s reach beyond classical and lead master classes in drumming, double bass, sax, piano/keyboards, guitar and trumpet at this year’s Bled Festival. There will of course, be master classes and workshops in classical music – particularly violin, viola, cello, and singing.

Young musicians from around the world attend master classes and perform in concerts during the two week festival. Around 140 musicians are expected to attend this year, bringing the total over two decades to 1900 students.

21 teachers from around Europe will lead the master classes.

The 20th Bled Festival will be from 2 to 16 July.


Premiers, Interviews, Parties And The Celebration Of Water. The Second Bled Film Festival



The Bled Film Festival opens Tuesday 16 June promising at least two premiers, a retrospective of Polish film director Krzysztof Zanussi and the opportunity to hear two other film makers talk to an audience about their work.


While some of the festival will be only for invited audiences the vast number of events will be open to everyone including the “Interview with a View” events at Bled Castle. Audiences will see and hear film director Christian Wagner, film producer Branko Lustig, film director Krzysztof Zanussi talk about their work.




So, after my good intentions about blogging more, I just don’t have the time. Or I could have the time if I spent all day in front of a screen. But I don’t want to do that and miss out being here in Slovenia.

So I will add the occasional story, but most of the rest of the output here will be related to which is taking so much of my time.