Made in Slovenia

09 Aug 2022, 13:36 PM

STA, 9 August 2022 - The Austrian province of Carinthia is home to a sizeable Slovenian ethnic community, something that has been reflected in the names of places for centuries. More than 900 such places can now be found by their Slovenian or German name in an app called MyKoroška.

The app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore, is an upgraded version of an app developed some ten years ago, Martin Kuchling of the Klagenfurt-based Christian Cultural Association has recently told the Slovenian desk of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

The app is very simple to use with a list of names and sound pronunciations in both languages along with information about the municipality and district that the place is located in. A chosen name can be typed in the search to find its counterpart in the other language.

The authors of the app note that the bilingual place names reflect the cultural diversity of Carinthia, one of Austria's nine federal states.

The app was developed as part of the language project Experience Slovenian (Slovenščino doživeti). It is based on Pavel Zdovc's 2008 collection Slovenian Place Names in Austrian Carinthia. Kuchling says the app is open to expansion and corrections.

03 Aug 2022, 11:40 AM

STA, 3 August 2022 - For half a century the ŠKUC association has been a trailblazer in Slovenia's culture and society at large. It has evolved from a student hub into one of the most prominent cultural NGOs in the country. ŠKUC has played a major role in Slovenia's LGBTQ movement and helped launch careers of many artists who have become household names.

Various art collectives were founded by ŠKUC and later pursued independent paths, such as the Studia Humanitatis publisher. Many Slovenian artists who later became world renowned put on their first shows at the ŠKUC gallery, including Marjetica Potrč, Dušan Mandič and Duba Sambolec, the association's coordinator Jasmina Kožar told the STA.

The association, which has its roots in the student movement, was also a haven for musicians, many of whom recorded their first records there, including era-defining bands Pankrti and Laibach and singer-songwriter Tomaž Pengov.

There is hardly a social or cultural field where ŠKUC has not played an important role. Social movements, visual arts, music, literature, film, video, theatre, festivals, LGBT activism and publishing - ŠKUC has left an indelible mark on all these areas.

Its publishing arm specialises in LGBTQ literature and boasts award-winning authors such as Brane Mozetič, who has twice received the Jenko Prize, the country's top poetry accolade, Nina Dragičević, another recent Jenko Prize recipient, Suzana Tratnik, winner of the 2007 Prešeren Fund Prize, and Nataša Velikonja, winner of the 2016 Župančič Award.

According to Kožar, ŠKUC's biggest achievements have been in the field of LGBTQ activism. Today, the association is above all opening up space for the culture of the LGBTQ community and providing a safe and creative space for its members.

"Even nowadays, this space is still needed, despite all the rights and all that we have achieved," Kožar said. ŠKUC hosts the oldest LGBTQ film festival in Europe, which is also the oldest international film festival in the country, and the only Lesbian Library in the wider area.

Moreover, it cooperates with other Slovenian cities in LGBTQ activism, including Maribor and Nova Gorica, as well as with its fellow organisations in Europe and elsewhere.

Looking ahead, the association expects new challenges. "I don't think we've fallen asleep, but we've had to adapt to new times and new challenges," Kožar said.

ŠKUC would like to remain a relevant and up-to-date association. Despite limited financial resources, the desire remains to continue quality projects, including non-commercially oriented activities with original music at the forefront.

There is also an ambition to publish a publication on ŠKUC's history, but this would require additional funding, which is not yet available. They also want to bring the Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (BJCEM) to Slovenia.

When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, the association's future hung in the balance, but thanks to Covid aid they have survived, Kožar said, adding: "If the market is open and we can work easily, I think that the way it is now is quite good."

This year's ŠKUC festival, which wrapped up recently, celebrated the association's 50th anniversary, featuring 50 events. After two years of Covid restrictions, the festival has seen a revival with plenty of tourists and local visitors attending. "The contact with the audience and their response in person is something else entirely," Kožar said.

26 Jul 2022, 10:39 AM

STA, 25 July 2022 - The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food has temporarily protected at the national level a type of sheep milk cheese from the Istria region, Istrski ovčji sir/Istarski ovčji sir, using a protected designation of origin. The move was initiated by Slovenian and Croatian sheep breeders.

The Istrian cheese is made from raw or pasteurised sheep milk produced by sheep bred in Slovenian and Croatian Istria, including the Croatian islands of Cres and Lošinj, the smaller islands of Unije, Ilovik, Susak, Vele Srakane and a number of uninhabited islands.

The sheep are bred in semi-extensive type of farming, which involves grazing on pastures with typical Mediterranean plants, the ministry said.

It noted that the Istrian sheep milk cheese was a hard, full-fat cheese, cylindrical in shape, with a diameter of between 16 and 22 centimetres. It is between 6 and 9 centimetres high and weighs between 1.8 and 4.5 kilograms.

The cheese must be matured for at least 60 days. It is characterised by its high dry matter content (60%) so it can be stored at higher temperatures as well.

The rind is smooth, lemon-yellow to dark yellow, uniform in colour. The cheese is straw to golden yellow in cross-section, usually without holes, although it may have irregularly spaced openings of up to 4 millimetres in size.

The cheese must be not only produced but also packaged in Istria and must carry a special label.

Before producers start producing Istrski ovčji sir/Istarski ovčji sir, they must obtain a certificate that their production is in line with the specification, the ministry added.

19 Jul 2022, 10:22 AM

STA, 18 July 2022 - Slovenian Matevž Luzar won the Silver Star award for best director for his feature film the Orchestra (Orkester) at the Cinedays film festival held in Skopje, North Macedonia, last week, the Slovenian Film Centre has announced.

Co-funded by the Slovenian Film Centre and co-produced by public broadcaster RTV Slovenija, the film tells the story of a wind orchestra travelling to a music festival held in a small Austrian town. Each member of the travelling ensemble has their own problems, and the five protagonists' stories intertwine during the trip.

The film's cast includes household names of Slovenian television production, such as Mojca Funkl, Jernej Kogovšek, Gregor Čišin, and Vesna Pernačič, among others.

The Cinedays judging panel picked Luzar's film for "exactness and ambitiousness in style he so believably and successfully portrayed while mentoring such a big cast."

The film was made in cooperation with the SVEA-Zagorje wind orchestra, Viba Film studio, and many others.

It premiered in November 2021 at the Cottbus film festival in Germany. It will be screened in the Ljubljana Castle courtyard on 3 August as part of the Film Under the Stars open-air series. It is due for general release in Slovenian cinemas on 11 August.

29 Jun 2022, 11:58 AM

STA, 28 June 2022 - A new documentary film on one of the bloodiest clashes of the 1991 ten-day independence war for Slovenia was screened in Slovenj Gradec on Monday. The film revisits the Holmec border crossing affair, in which Slovenian police and soldiers were accused and later cleared of shooting surrendering Yugoslav army personnel.

Entitled The Battle for Holmec - On the Other Side of Blame (Bitka za Holmec - na drugi strani krivde), the documentary by Slovenian film-maker and Boštjan Slatenšek sheds light on the clash that took place on 27 and 28 June 1991 on the Holmec border crossing with Austria which members of the Yugoslav army attempted to seize.

The film features footage of a meeting of the former adversaries 30 years after the incident that claimed two lives among Slovenian police officers defending the crossing with the assistance of the Slovenian Territorial Defence units, and three lives on the side of the Yugoslav army.

Slatenšek told the press that the Holmec clash, which resurfaced as a political scandal in 1999 amid speculations of a possible war crime that were later refuted, had already touched him during the independence war, during which he first served in the Yugoslav Armed Force to soon join the Territorial Defence.

When the war crime allegations began, he felt it "horrific how the state as such did not come to the defence of those subjected to them in a more determined fashion".

He also feels journalists had failed to present the story the way it deserved to be presented, which is why approaching it with a documentary seemed a logical step.

While the feature-length documentary includes a lot of footage of the developments, Slatenšek highlighted testimonies as the crucial element of the film, including "testimony by the opposite side, which I find the film proved to be credible".

A key moment, captured in footage by an Austrian cameraman, is the surrender of a group of Yugoslav soldiers during which shots can be heard. Commenting on it for the documentary, Husein Šabić, who was in charge on the Yugoslav side, said that none of the soldiers seen surrendering had been killed or hurt.

"Nobody shot at these people who were surrendering. And this is what matters .... nobody was wounded, nobody died. It is therefore not possible that a crime took place," said Slatenšek, whose role in the case is also among the topics of the film.

24 Jun 2022, 16:44 PM

STA, 24 June 2022 - Janez Puh (1862-1914), known as Johann Puch abroad, was a prominent Slovenian inventor and industrialist whose Austria-based factory was one of the leading vehicle producers in Europe at the start of the 20th century. His 160th birth anniversary will be marked at a gathering of Puch car owners at his hometown in north-eastern Slovenia on Saturday.

After making a name for himself with his bicycle and motorcycle production, Puh decided to branch out into car production at the turn of the century and developed more than 20 car designs as well as lorries, buses and military vehicles.

Cars designed under the Puch brand proved to be very popular, and some were even used by members of the Austro-Hungarian royal family.

The most successful vehicle was the Type VIII, which was considered the most reliable passenger and ambulance car during World War I and remained in use long after the end of the war.

Puh was born in village of Sakušak, now home to a museum dedicated to him and a pilgrimage site for Puch car enthusiasts.

Today's event there will also mark the opening of new exhibition spaces in the museum, which was founded in 2000. Managed by the Compatriot Janez Puh Juršinci Association, the museum is entirely devoted to Puh's life and work, including his products and patents, Vlado Slodnjak, the association's president, told the STA.

In addition to this one, there is also a museum in Graz dedicated to Puh's achievements.

The get-together is expected to attract many enthusiasts and owners of Puch vehicles from Slovenia and abroad, including twinned associations from France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Many Austrians are also sure to come who find Puh's heritage to be an iconic contribution to the development of the automotive industry.

Some 400 Puch vintage cars and other vehicles are expected to be showcased at the event. The highlights will be the world's oldest Puch moped, dating back to 1903, whose owner comes from Carinthia, Austria, and the oldest preserved Puch car, which is kept in the Technical Museum of Slovenia. It was made between 1914 and 1920 and later converted into a fire engine.

Puh's journey from a bicycle repairman to a pioneer car maker started off in Austria's Graz in the 1880s. Soon he set up his own workshop and manufactured a bicycle called Styria, which achieved excellent results in fiercely competitive international races and even won the famous race from Bordeaux to Paris.

He continued his successful track record in motorcycle and later car production. In 1906, a two-cylinder Puch motorcycle set a record in a race in France with an average speed of 77 kilometres per hour.

By the 1910s, his factory in Graz employed 1,100 workers and produced 16,000 bicycles, 300 motorcycles and 300 car per year.

Puh was also an active member of society, having founded youth scholarships and supported the arts.

Despite his death in 1914, his factory lived on and during WWI it was a major producer of military vehicles. It later merged with other Austrian vehicle manufacturers to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which remained a leading car and motorcycle manufacturer until the 1980s.

A total of 19 different patents of Puh are known so far, 13 of which are related to the field of road vehicle technology and six dedicated to typewriters.

Slovenia honoured the inventor with the establishment of the Puh Prize in 2018, which is given out for inventions, development achievements and the use of scientific findings in innovation.

24 Jun 2022, 11:04 AM

STA, 24 June 2022 - A Slovenian network of NGOs that has played a major role in challenging controversial government restrictions during the COVID pandemic is among the recipients of this year's European Citizens' Prize conferred by the European Parliament.

The Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy (Pravna mreža za varstvo demokracije) is among the 30 winners of the prize from 24 countries, the European Parliament announced on Friday.

It has received the recognition for a project supporting individuals and organisations in the use of legal means to challenge measures, procedures and policies that are unlawful, unconstitutional and undemocratic.

The European Parliament noted that the NGO network had been nominated for the prize by citizens, and that the initiative had been established in 2021 on the basis of the values of the protection of democracy and the rule of law.

With legal opinions, positions and calls, the legal network protects democratic, open, free and solidarity-based society, and thus contributes to strengthening the rule of law and protecting democracy, the press release says.

The European Parliament added that the Legal Network for the Protection of Democracy had become one of the most recognisable organisations in the field of the protection of the rule of law in the last year.

It has cooperated with the Polish and Hungarian counterparts that face similar challenges, and has managed to attract young people, which is important in the face of the European Year of Youth 2022, the Parliament said.

The award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 8 November.

The European Citizens' Prize is conferred annually by the European Parliament for national, cross-border and pan-European projects that promote closer integration and cooperation between the residents of the EU.

The prize also promotes the values of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, such as dignity, equality, solidarity, justice and civil rights and freedoms.

The previous winners from Slovenia include jurist Lovro Šturm, authors Boris Pahor, Alojz Rebula, Drago Jančar and Evgen Bavčar, philosopher and sociologist Spomenka Hribar, humanitarian Tomo Križnar, the Simbioza association, the Union of Pensioner Associations and the Beekepers' Association.

Last year, the prize went to Kristine Modic, the executive director of the Association of Lymphoma and Leukemia Patients, and Samo Zver, the head of the Haematology Department of the UKC Ljubljana hospital.

24 Jun 2022, 09:01 AM

STA, 23 June 2022 - The winner of the 32nd Kresnik Prize for best novel of the year, given out by the publisher Delo, is Roman Rozina. He convinced the jury with his historical novel Sto Let Slepote (Hundred Years of Blindness), portraying the Knap family and the rise and fall of mining in the 20th century.

The main character in the novel is a blind man Matija, who is born just as his family house is starting to sink because of mining and the apocalyptic threat hangs in the air.

According to the publisher Mladinska Knjiga, it is a "historical fresco of the 20th century", a monumental novel that intertwines numerous events from actual history into the broad saga of the Knap family.

The jury said the novel boasted extremely rich and detailed language. "The novel is an insightful portrayal of a time that no longer exists and an environment that is still here, with many reminders that will be preserved - not least because Roman Rozina knows how to see them," the jury said.

"Few people can describe a long century in a single book in a Romanesque way. It is even rarer in Slovenian literature for the turbulent 20th century to be described with such filigree as the writer Roman Rozina has displayed in his 550-page novel Hundred Years of Blindness," it added.

Rozina accepted the award, which comes with a EUR 7,000 cash prize, on Rožnik Hill tonight. He thanked the people and events that contributed to his book and especially readers, as they give meaning to writing.

The other four nominees were Davorin Lenko with his novel Triger, Andrej E. Skubic with Krasni Dnevi (Wonderful Days), Dušan Šarotar with Zvezdna Karta (Star Map) and Marjan Žiberna with Dedič (Heir).

Rozina said he had not seen this as a competition but as an opportunity to socialise and celebrate the holiday of the Slovenian novel.

Delo this year introduced an award for young authors and another for young literary critics in what is a culmination of the Young Pen two-year project.

Sixteen up-and-coming authors have been included in the project with 16 critics assessing their works. The EUR 1,000 Young Pen prize was conferred on poet, writer and translator Tanja Božič and the winning critic is Sašo Puljarević, who will get the opportunity to publish reviews in Delo for a year.

Last year's Kresnik went to Borut Kraševec, who is mostly known as translator, for his debut novel Agni, part love drama, part crime fiction that fuses various voices.

22 Jun 2022, 15:31 PM

STA, 21 June 2022 - Inno Lab, the company that makes crates providing tools for a variety of experiments aiming to make children interested in physics, mathematics and IT, has been declared the best startup in Slovenia for this year.

The Innobox crates do not only expand knowledge and entertain, as they also teach kids about achievements of Slovenian scientists.

Founder Teja Bajt said at Tuesday's award ceremony that it meant a lot to win the national startup competition.

"We all know that there are great technological companies in Slovenia, as well researchers, engineers and other experts, and we need to start developing these talents early."

Inno Lab took part in the TV competition Štartaj Slovenija in 2020 and now it is launching international sales of the Innobox through Italian Amazon.

Addressing the event, Economy Minister Matjaž Han said that raising added value was a priority for him and that this could only be achieved through investments at all levels of development.

Apart from Inno Lab, the shortlist for the Start:Up 2022 award included companies DeltaHub, Epidemic, mPOR and SaleSqueze.

Learn more about the company at its website

20 Jun 2022, 16:51 PM

STA, 20 June 2022 - Animated short Steakhouse by Slovenian director Špela Čadež has won the jury award in the short films competition section at the 2022 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world's largest event dedicated to animation. This is yet another award for the Slovenian-German-French co-production about domestic violence.

The award is a cherry on top of an impressive festival run for the film, the Slovenian Film Centre (SFC) said in a press release on Monday.

Čadež, one of this year's recipients of the Prešeren Fund Prize, has won a number of awards for Steakhouse (2021), including the best short film award at the 2021 LIFFe film festival in Ljubljana, the Best Animation Technique Award at the 2021 Ottawa International Animation Festival and a Special Mention at the 2022 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Enjoy a double bill from Špela Čadež…

The film was also nominated in the independent short film category at the 2022 American Animation Awards. Every year Variety, one of the most referenced film magazines, picks top 10 animated shorts they consider the most important in the Annecy main competition, and this year the selection includes Steakhouse, which was named a festival favourite as were two of Čadež's previous short films - Boles (2013) and Nighthawk (2016). Variety also noted that one of the ten films selected is usually nominated for an Oscar.

This year, the Annecy Festival featured two more films that were co-funded by the SFC - Urška Djukić's Granny's Sexual Life in the official animated shorts competition and Miloš Tomić's My Father's Damn Camera! in the perspectives competition section.

15 Jun 2022, 11:58 AM

STA, 13 June 2022 - Ljubljana's Trnovo borough will get a new science centre in 2024, a demonstration facility dedicated to the promotion and popularisation of science, research, technology, and lifelong learning. The EUR 26 million project will be co-funded from the state budget, EU and municipal funds.

The centre will offer experiments and demonstrations of major achievements in science, culture, and economy with a plethora of interactive gadgets.

It will put on display innovative products made in Slovenia and visitors will be able to learn about breakthrough advances in science in a comprehensive and interesting way.

Designed as a collection of pavilions and single-storey buildings, it will cover roughly 11,000 square metres between Barjanska and Riharjeva streets in Ljubljana.

The total value of the project is around EUR 26 million, with EUR 16 million to come from the European Regional Development Fund.

The rest of the funds will be provided by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, while the municipality of Ljubljana chipping in EUR 924,000 for municipal infrastructure.

Construction works are scheduled to start in February 2023, to be completed by December 2024, says a decree unanimously adopted by the city council on Monday.

The first phase will entail a footpath and maintenance of green areas, and street lighting, followed by measures to reduce traffic along Riharjeva and Barjanska streets, and arranging public transport to and from the area.

The council's also decided to name two new parks in the capital.

Park Gazel, which translated as the park of fast growing companies, will be landscaped near the Technology Park in Brdo borough.

The city centre will get Park of the Erased, in honour of the people who were erased from the register of permanent residents in 1992 after Slovenia declared independence.

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