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Out & About in Cleveland

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Opening of the Czech that Film Festival

On Friday night we went to the Czech Cultural Center on Broadway Avenue for the opening night reception of the "Czech that Film" Festival. After the reception, a film titled "Fair Play" was screened and its director/screenwriter Ms. Andrea Sedlackova was there for a Q and A. On Saturday "Fair Play" was screened again along with three other Czech films. According to the program notes, this annual festival is now in its fourth year and is organized by the Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles and the Czech Centers in Prague. It would have to be considered a "traveling festival" because it works its way across America stopping in 18 cities and 2015 is its first year in Cleveland. The goal of the festival is "to raise cultural awareness and to inspire you by presenting the achievements of modern Czech filmmakers."

Along these lines, it was a pleasure to meet Ms. Sedlackova who told us that she had been on this road with the festival for a week and was understandably quite tired. She was scheduled to fly home in a few days but she enjoyed talking about Czech filmmakers. We understand that on Saturday one of the members of the Cultural Center was scheduled to take her on a tour of Cleveland which she was anxious to see.

When we arrived we were greeted by Ms. Barb Golias who we had seen a few days earlier at the Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities meeting. Other people that we know from the Czech Cultural Center that were there for this occasion were Mr. Ted Krejsa, the newsletter editor; Ms. Jane Wise who, along with her husband, coordinates the gymnastics program; and Ms. Alice Kohl, the president who thinks Ms. Margaret W. Wong is "very special"; and Mr. J.J. Vencl, who just likes to volunteer.

We spent a few minutes talking to Ms. Helen Roth, the cultural director, who told us that her father immigrated to the United States many years ago and established the excellent Svanda Meat Market known for its wonderful wieners and other delicacies.

We spoke for quite a while to Mr. John Krivan, another person that we know from Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities. Mr. Krivan told us that because one of his parents was Slovakian and the other was Croatian he is known as a "Slo-Cro". He told us that many of the people who left Slovakia after the end of the Cold War immigrated to Ireland but returned to Slovakia after the economy in Ireland took its turn for the worse. Other Slovakians immigrated to New York and New Jersey and there is a very significant number still in that area.

In fact, Mr. Krivan told us that if we wanted to attend a wonderful Slovakian festival we should check out the one that takes place in Holmdel, New Jersey every September. Though it seems a bit far, Margaret W. Wong and Associates does have an office in New York and we are always open to possibilities for tabling at good festivities.

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