Slovenska Kinoteka

(Slovenian Cinematheque)

SLOVENSKA KINOTEKA (Slovenian Cinematheque, the international film museum and archive in Ljubljana, Slovenia) finds its origins in 1963 when the screenings started in (even our nowadays') hall with 191 seats, that was - beside Zagreb, Sarajevo and Skopje - one of the department venues of the extremely rich Jugoslovenska kinoteka (Belgrade). In 35 years of this tradition almost 28.000 archival screenings were held in Ljubljana, visited by nearly 2,500.000 (!) people what is considered to be a rare number, if not even a world record in the field. Just in the beginnigs of that boom silent motion pictures with live piano accompaniment started, as well - that was in June 1967 (with the retrospective of British silents). The late resident pianist Borut Lesjak (1931-95) was the king of so called "Silent Wednesdays" and from that time on played to almost all short, documentary, experimental and feature silent motion pictures till the fall of Yugoslavia in 1991. That meant also the end of the old Kinoteka, as the rich common archive of almost 90.000 titles remained all in Belgrade... But then the group of young enthusiasts built up the Slovenska kinoteka - one of the world's youngest film archives - in the same place and literally out of nothing. After some years of tiresome work their first results were recognized by the Slovenian Government and so Slovenska kinoteka was institutionalized in August 1996.

Considering bigger events in the field of silent film music, our origins dated in 1988. Luckily enough Ljubljana lies only about 200km from Pordenone, Italy, so we began to "import" some events and organize them in Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre of Ljubljana. We have to stress that the Camerata Labacensis, Pordenone Silent Film Festival's regular orchestra, comes from Ljubljana, as well. From 1995 on all live cinema events, organized by Slovenska kinoteka and the Chronoclastic Collective SyHaPA (World Centre for Synaesthesia and Harmolodics in Performing Arts) appear under the title "Kino-uho" (=Cinema-ear). They are divided in different categories, as we present guests from abroad, we commission new music from local composers and bands, as well as prepare some club meetings, educate both resident pianist and our audience - recently we started even a record label and we always try to promote silent film music through all the media.

I have to stress that we organized great many events in the past ten years with either orchestral, small band or piano silent film music. Some among of our guests: Carl Davis, Gillian B. Anderson, Alloy Orchestra, Neil Brand, Adrian Johnston, Blindman Kwartet (Brussels), Laboratorio di musica e immagine (Bologna), Phil Carli, Flower City Society Orchestra (Rochester, USA), Gary Lucas, Mark Dresser Trio, Anthony Coleman, Zeena, Sara, Margaret and Andrea Parkins, Sakis Papadimitriou and Georgia Sylleou,... We respect and support both historical approach - the originals - as well as brand new, even avantguarde music for the silents. We mostly try to screen the silents from 35mm prints.

As our greatest recent treasure is rediscovered (that happened in 1994) 35mm tinted print of Ernst Lubitsch's comedy When I was Dead / Als ich tot war (1916), we could offer a newly commissioned music for clarinet (alternated with tenor saxophone) and piano, written by composer Urban Koder (1995). We commissioned also the music for The Passion of Joan of Arc (Tomaz Grom, solo double bass - also available on SyHaPA Silents CD!!), A Man with a Movie Camera (Grega Tao Vrhovec Sambolec, for a small ensemble), Pudovkin's Mother (even twice - Zlatko Kaucic wrote it for percussion, and beside this Pavel Vlasov Sextet). PVS also wrote a score for Medvedkin's Happiness and Murnau's Nosferatu.

Our venue basic info:

Miklosiceva 28
1000 Ljubljana
tel.: +386 61 311 391 (box office), 133 02 40
fax: +386 61 311 391 (or: 133 02 79)

home page: (unfortunately only in Slovene language for this moment)

contact person:
Miha Zadnikar, Film Music Curator for Slovenska kinoteka; Chair of SyHaPA (e-mail:
home number: +386 61 125 87 21

resident pianist: Andrej Goricar

resident orchestra: Camerata Labacensis

record label: Syhapa Silents

alternative town venues for orchestral events: Kino Union, Cankarjev dom, Krizanke (open-air)

GLen Pringle /
Copyright © 1998 by Glen Pringle