Success story update: Summer Rebels

The Slovak/German feature length film Summer Rebels, directed by Martina Saková, was pitched at m:brane as far back as 2016, and has had an amazing journey since then. Traveling the world with screenings at 50 (!) festivals around the globe. As well as receiving the prestigious German Film Critics Prize for the Best Children Film in 2021.

Summer Rebels (Slovak title: Letní rebeli) is about eleven year old Jonas who wants to visit his cool grandpa for a summer of fun on the river. But his mom has other plans. Undeterred, Jonas takes off on an adventure of his own in this tale of rebellion, friendship, catastrophe and, ultimately, redemption.

We caught up with producer Katarína Krnáčová (pictured here) from Silver Art to hear more about what’s happened to the project.

How was your experience pitching at m:brane?

Pitching at m:brane was actually the very first international platform where we pitched Summer Rebels. The project was then called ”Summer with Bernard” and we pitched it with the director and co-writer Martina Saková. We were very honored by this opportunity, moreover when it was the very first Slovak project pitched in Malmö. In fact, we had some very good and useful meetings after the pitch there. One of the one-to-one meetings was a meeting with a German distributor focused on kids films, with whom we stayed in close contact and who later became our real cinema distributor in Germany in 2021. For me personally it was a great trip which I still remember very well, besides admiring the beautiful city of Malmo it was an eye-opening event for me where I met with the community of filmmakers focused on kids content and realized how dedicated and highly professional this community is.

What has happened to the project since 2016?

We later went to Cinekid market with the project and Karlovy Vary pitching. Meanwhile we got support from Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Kuratorium junger deutscher Film and BKM in Germany and Creative Europe – Media. Slovak national television RTVS joined the project as a Slovak co-producer, too. We shot the film in Slovakia and Germany in July-August-September 2018, as a co-production of Slovakia and Germany, having also cast from both countries. In 2019 we’ve teamed up with a Berlin based sales agent Pluto Film who took our film in their line-up, and then in March 2020 we planned to have the world premiere in BUFF Malmo, which would have nicely closed up its’ journey. But the pandemic hit the world and the festival was unfortunately cancelled. So in July we premiered in BIKY, South Korea, and then in August 2020 we had Slovak cinema release, in October 2020 we released in Czech cinemas, and in August 2021 in German cinemas. The film has successfully traveled around 50 festivals world-wide, and in February 2022 we’ve received the German Film Critics Prize for the Best Children Film in 2021.

What’s next in line for Summer Rebels?

The film was recently launched on Netflix, and sold to several European TV channels, there is a soundtrack released in Germany now, and we plan to release the film in Slovakia on DVD, too. We wish for the film to still find new roads to its audience.