Meet the People

16 Sep 2021, 15:30 PM

STA, 16 September 2021 - Slovenian Michelin starred chef Ana Roš from Hiša Franko has placed seventh in the rankings of the world's top chefs compiled by The Best Chef Awards 2021. Her pastry chef Maša Salopek was named the world's best pastry chef.

Roš, who is the highest-ranked female chef on this year's list, has climbed 11 places from last year, according to The Best Chef Awards website.

It was Roš who first put Slovenia on the world's culinary map, after The World's Best Restaurants Academy awarded her the title of Best Female Chef in 2017. Last year, her restaurant was the first in the country to receive two Michelin stars.

Adding to Hiša Franko's success, Salopek, who has been with the Kobarid-based eatery since 2018, won the best chef pastry award for the year 2021.

Slovenian food blog Open Kitchen said Salopek was responsible for "several masterful elements of the Hiša Franko menu, especially the complex desserts."

The Best Chef Top 100 Award for the best chef in the world went to Dabiz Munoz, a Spanish chef from the restaurant DiverXo in Madrid.

Second place went to Björn Frantzen from Sweden, while Andoni Luis Aduriz from Spain was ranked third, making a huge jump from 45th place last year.

This year's list features chefs from 29 countries worldwide, out of which Spain performs best with 15 chefs on the list.

The Best Chef describes itself as "a vibrant, world community of passionate food lovers and a project dedicated to celebrating the many talented chefs that create the best food experiences around the world."

The winners of the Best Chef Awards are selected from a shortlist of 200 nominees, which include 100 "fresh faces" and the Top 100 from the previous year, who are automatically nominated again.

The "fresh faces" are selected through recommendations by food journalists, critics, bloggers, photographers and other notable people with a broad knowledge of fine dining.

The shortlist is announced every year at the end of April.

16 Sep 2021, 12:08 PM

STA, 16 September 2021 - The recipient of this year's Badjura Award, given out for lifetime achievements in film since 1995, is the innovator and film sound engineer Emilija Soklič, one of the first Slovenian professional female film industry workers. She will receive the award at the opening of the 24th Slovenian Film Festival on 12 October.

 Born in 1918, Soklič began her professional career soon after WWII, when she became the first head of the technical department of Slovenian film studio Triglav Film as a trailblazer in a typically male profession.

She worked at Triglav Film until 1955. During this time, she was involved in the production of the first Slovenian feature film Na svoji zemlji (On Our Own Land, 1948) by France Štiglic.

This was followed by many other films that have become a part of Slovenian film heritage, including the first film in the adventure-youth film series Kekec by Jože Gale.

While working at Triglav Film, Soklič met sound engineer Rudi Omota, with whom she developed magnetic sound recording and contributed to the development and production of equipment for sound recording, processing and reproduction.

"The mixing tables created at that time were among the first in the world with integrated circuits and are now part of the collection of the Technical Museum of Slovenia," the award jury said.

"Emilija Soklič worked and created in conditions that are hard to imagine today, which required a great deal of dedication, courage, ingenuity, professionalism and humanity."

"The Badjura Award for Emilija Soklič's lifetime achievements is therefore an opportunity to pay tribute to a pioneer of the film profession and a cutting-edge innovator who changed the sound recordings in Slovenian cinema."

Soklič will be presented with the award at the opening ceremony of the 24th Slovenian Film Festival (FSF), which will take place from 12 to 17 October.

The Badjura Award was introduced in 1973 by the Slovenian Film Artists Association to honour various professions in the film industry.

In 1995, it started being conferred exclusively as a lifetime achievement award. Last year, it went to the pioneer of Slovenian short animated film Konrad "Koni" Steinbacher.

15 Sep 2021, 08:44 AM

STA, 15 September 2021 - An exhibition on Alma M. Karlin (1889-1950) will open on Wednesday at the Weltmuseum Wien, shedding light on the life and work of the famed Slovenian author and globetrotter. The show is open until 18 January.

Conceptually, the show mirrors the 2020 monograph Neskončno Potovanje Alme M. Karlin" (Endless Travels of Alma M. Karlin) by Barbara Trnovec, a curator from the Celje Regional Museum who has studied Karlin's life for many years.

She has co-curated the exhibition together with Reinhard Blumauer of the Weltmuseum, the Celje Regional Museum said.

The exhibition showcases objects that Karlin collected during her travels, along with her photographs and her biography. According to Trnovec, the way the exhibits are showcased, "each one comes across as a work of art".

In lieu of a catalogue, the exhibition will be accompanied by the English and German translations of Trnovec's monograph.

Karlin embarked on a world tour in 1919 and travelled alone for eight years. To make money, she wrote articles for a Celje newspaper and occasionally took on various jobs, a remarkable feat for her time.

After finishing her journey, she soon became well known abroad. She held lectures around Europe. In a 1931 calendar, she was presented as one of the most influential women in Germany.

Although she was born in Celje, her mother decided that her mother tongue will be German, but Karlin later showed her devotion to her homeland by becoming a fierce opponent of Nazism and joining the Partisan movement in 1944.

Staying true to her principles, Karlin eventually fought against Communism as well. Both regimes spied on her and both wanted to kill her. She died five years after the end of World War II of typhoid and cancer, in poverty and obscurity.

The show will open with an address by Slovenian Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti.

You can learn more about the exhibition here

09 Sep 2021, 13:47 PM

STA, 8 September - Mako Sajko, a 94-year-old screenwriter and director known mainly for his short documentaries, won the France Štiglic Award for lifetime achievement as the Directors' Guild of Slovenia presented its annual accolades at the Slovenian Cinematheque on Wednesday.

The judging panel described Sajko's oeuvre as "truly exceptional" and a "series of classics, a neckless of film pearls on the thankless neck of Slovenian cinematography".

His classics "speak not only about the time they were made in but communicate with the contemporary viewer in a lively way through style, narrative and content".

All of Sajko's "short but incredibly potent documentaries shed light not only on the topics troubling a certain place and time, but pose difficult questions to today's audience as well".

Sajko graduated from the Belgrade High Film School in 1959 before pursuing his film education in Paris and Munich and as assistant to Slovenian directors František Čap, France Štiglic, Jane Kavčič and France Kosmač.

He has mostly directed social-themed short films and documentaries, mostly based on his own script.

He was honoured in 1969 with the Prešeren Fund Prize and in 2009 won the Badjura Award for lifetime accomplishment.

His memorable films include Kaj za vas? (What Can I Get for You), a 15-minute nostalgic homage to Ljubljana produce markets from 1962, Strupi (Poisons), an early warning about industrial pollution from 1964.

The jurors also mentioned Samomorilci, pozor! (Suicides, Beware), another short, from 1964, on the issue of suicide among young people, Promiskuiteta (Promiscuity, 1974) and Slavica exception (1971).

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The France Štiglic Awards, which come in the form of sculptures by director and sculptor Miha Knific, were given out for the seventh time in cooperation with the Slovenian Cinematheque and with the financial support of the Slovenian Film Centre.

They are named after the director and author of the first Slovenian feature film.

26 Aug 2021, 18:05 PM

STA, 26 August 2021 - Boris Pahor, the internationally famous Slovenian writer from Trieste, celebrates his 108th birthday on Thursday. Throughout his life, Pahor has warned against totalitarian regimes, also in his novel Necropolis, where he describes his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. He has also received numerous honours and awards.

Pahor was born in 1913 into a Slovenian family in Trieste, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a year before the outbreak of the First World War.

During the inter-war period, he cooperated with Slovenian anti-fascist intellectuals in Trieste. He was conscripted into the Italian army in 1940 and sent to Libya in 1941, but after the Italian capitulation, he returned to Trieste in 1943 and joined the Liberation Front.

In January 1944, he was arrested by collaborators and handed over to the Germans, who transferred him between various Nazi concentration camps. He was finally liberated in April 1945.

Pahor summarised his experiences of concentration camps, among other things, in his best-known novel Necropolis (1967), which was first translated into French in 1990 and subsequently into many other languages as well.

He is believed to be the oldest living survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and was also the subject of a BBC documentary entitled The Man Who Saw Too Much (2019).

Throughout his life, Pahor has warned of the dangers of totalitarian regimes, of which he himself was a victim, and highlighted the necessity of a self-confident, upright posture based on a sound knowledge of history and one's own identity.

The writer from Trieste, also a sworn fighter for the rights of endangered languages and cultures, has always stressed that national consciousness is essential for the survival of Slovenians in Italy and for the survival of humanity.

As a child, Pahor also witnessed the fascist torching of the Slovenian Cultural Centre - National Hall in Trieste, which Italy returned to the Slovenian community on the occasion of last year's centenary of this tragic event. On that occasion, Pahor was honoured by the presidents of Slovenia and Italy.

Pahor has also received several other awards and honours for his work. These include the Prešeren Prize (1992), Slovenia's most prestigious accolade in culture, the Silver Badge of Honour of Slovenia (2000) and the French Legion d'Honneur (2007), as well as the honorary title of Cultural Ambassador of Slovenia on the occasion of his 102nd birthday.

Celebrating the Trieste writer's 108th birthday, Zdravko Duša, a long-time editor at the Cankarjeva Založba publishing house, also contributed his view on Pahor's legacy. He stressed that Pahor was never just a writer, but always an activist, inextricably linked to the culture and city of Trieste.

"Pahor has never been embarrassed to refer to himself as the unjustly neglected Slovenian writer in a city famous for its Italian, Austrian and Jewish writers, yet he also insisted that certain features of the Trieste vernacular should remain in the Slovenian edition of his selected works."

According to Zdravko Duša, foreign publishers still frequently choose to translate Necropolis and are considering the possibility of translating a wider selection from Pahor's oeuvre. A bundle of his writings and diaries from the beginning of the pandemic last year is also currently undergoing editorial treatment.

On the occasion of Pahor's 108th birthday, 26 colleagues also paid tribute to him with a publication entitled Boris Pahor - Scrittore senza frontiere. Studi, interviste e testimonianze (Boris Pahor - A Writer without Frontiers. Studies, Interviews and Testimonies).

"This publication is the result of a collaboration between two cultures that have lived separate lives in the same city for too long," said one of the editors, Walter Chiereghin, who described Pahor as a great writer and Necropolis as the most important work of Trieste in the last century.

The publication was co-published by Mladika and La Libreria Del Ponte Rosso, and a presentation is to be held at the San Marco café in Trieste, according to the newspaper Primorski Dnevnik.

28 Jun 2021, 11:34 AM

STA, 28 June 2021 - Melania Trump, former US First Lady, has not made it to the latest list of 100 most influential Slovenians even though she topped it last year. She has been unseated by Prime Minister Janez Janša, who unlike her appreciates power, says the weekly Reporter. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin is in second place, followed by President Borut Pahor.

Reporter's latest commentary notes that Janša knows what it means to be "powerless or at least far away from levers of power" and he "will not repeat mistakes by his inexperienced predecessor Marjan Šarec", meaning he will not give up the prime minister post by taking any risks.

Soon after he took over as prime minister, Janša demonstrated that "there is likely no one in the country who can exert their influence" like him. Just for the sake of comparison, Šarec did not top the list when he was prime minister and currently he is not even the most influential opposition leader on the list.

Čeferin is meanwhile "the only person whom Janša sees as a threat, and he is not even a politician". "If he decided to enter Slovenian politics before the next election, he would most probably form the next Slovenian government."

Coming in third, Pahor remains quite influential not due to his moderate stances, but because of his senior post and political experience.

Speaker Igor Zorčič also stands out, having significantly increased his influence as a result of his defection from the coalition SMC and successful efforts to withstand attempts by the coalition to unseat him.

More than a year of the Janša government and pandemic has reduced influence of some "backstage decision makers", whereas a larger number of doctors has made it to the list in an expected turn of events, says the commentary headlined Goodbye, Melania.

The full list can be seen in the magazine, now available on newsstands

16 Jun 2021, 14:17 PM

STA, 15 June 2021 - Three Slovenian promising young women researchers specialising in gynaecological oncology, genetic toxicology and natural resources economics have won the national L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science scholarships for 2021.

The EUR 5,000 awards were conferred to Monika Sobočan, Martina Štampar and Tanja Šumrada by L'Oreal Adria and the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO in Ljubljana on Tuesday.

Hailing the winners Vanya Panayatova, general manager for Adria-Balkans at L'Oréal, said the Women in Science programme had in the past 15 years supported 43 exceptional researchers in Slovenia, who would join 3,600 women researchers in 117 countries.

Addressing the award ceremony by video link, Education Minister Simona Kustec said gender equality in science would be one of the priorities in science as Slovenia holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year.

Gender equality would also be dealt with in a new bill on research and innovation that is to be put to parliament for discussion shortly.

The awards were conferred to the three researchers in recognition for their excellent research and vital contribution to the development of science and society's progress.

Monika Sobočan, 29, is working on a doctoral thesis at the Maribor Faculty of Medicine and the UKC Maribor medical centre studying biomarkers that could help recognise how aggressive ovarian cancer and how it responds to systemic therapy.

As part of her training at Royal London Hospital and Queen Mary University of London she is working on cancer prevention and preventive surgical procedures in women with genetic risks for gynaecological cancers.

Martina Štampar, 30, in January successfully defended her doctoral thesis where she studied and developed a new liver in-vitro 3D cell model to be used for testing genotoxic activity of xenobiotic substances.

Štampar now works as junior researcher at the genetic toxicology and cancer biology at the National Institute of Biology.

Tanja Šumrada, 29, studies the impact of farming on biodiversity and environmental protection within the Slovenian and EU agricultural policy as part of her post-graduate study.

Europe and the world have seen a sharp decline in biodiversity in recent decades, the main reasons being change in the manners of farming and use of soil, said Šumrada, who is part of a team of researchers at the Ljubljana Biotechnical Faculty who explore suitable development solutions for rural areas.

24 May 2021, 19:42 PM

STA, 24 May 2021 - The Youth 2020 survey into the youth [ed. aged 19 to 29] in Slovenia shows that, compared to ten years ago, they are noticeably more active, responsible and independent, while on the other hand they face greater housing problems and more precarious work in the labour, with their mental health also having deteriorated.

The survey, which included 1,200 young people around the country, is the latest one after the ones in 2000 and 2010, and covers some new fields, including the attitude to migration and consumerism.

Presenting the survey on Monday, Andraž Zgonc of the Government Office for Youth added that it busted a number of myths about the young that were rooted in society, including that they drank and smoked a lot.

As many as 70% youths are non-smokers, which is 15 percentage points more than in 2010, while 20% of the respondents do not drink alcoholic beverages, which is nine percentage points more than in the previous survey.

Miran Lavrič of the University of Maribor added that two-thirds of the respondents performed a sport activity every week, which was slightly more than ten years ago.

According to Lavrič, young people are also quicker to move away from their parents, as in 2019 the average age was 27.7 years, two years earlier than in 2010.

Results are, meanwhile, less encouraging when it comes to mental health, as the number of respondents who feel stress doubled compared to 2010, while loneliness is a serious problem for three times more respondents than ten years ago.

The youth in Slovenia are also more worried about solving their housing issue - while a third of the respondents had such worries ten years ago, the share is now up to 45%.

For this reason, more of them are ready to move to another European country if this means better life opportunities, with the share of such respondents standing at three-quarters.

Furthermore, the survey shows a high level of consumer awareness, as more than half of the respondents buy only what they really need, said Tomaž Deželan of the University of Ljubljana.

He noted that there was still little interest in politics among Slovenian youths.

Education Minister Simona Kustec said that the project provided insight into the issue at various levels and was the main starting point for the future national programme for youth.

According to her, the relevant ministries will refer to the survey in creating measures to address the problems pointed out by the survey.

All the results, in Slovene

30 Mar 2021, 13:05 PM

STA, 30 March 2021 - Natalija Spark, an interpreter of the Slovenian sign language and a psychotherapist, has become the Slovenian Woman of the Year 2020, a title conferred by the women's magazine Jana/Zarja and its readers.

 Having a connection with the hearing world is particularly important for the deaf during the coronavirus epidemic, the organisers said in a press release last evening.

Spark was born to deaf parents, which played a major part when she was choosing her vocation - helping others, the organisers said.

She also takes part in Theatre Interpreter, a project launched a few years ago to bring theatre productions closer to the deaf.

Thanking for the title, Spark said that she saw all the 12 candidates as winners.

"For me this unforgettable gift confirms that I am doing the right thing, although it is often unpleasant," she was quoted as saying.

The list of women whom the magazine and its readers shortlisted as outstanding and inspiring features a group as diverse as an art historian, farmer, boxing champion, retired teacher, volunteer, athlete, doctor, journalist, humanitarian workers, and nurses as a group.

22 Feb 2021, 12:13 PM

STA, 22 February 2021 - Film and theatre actor Danilo Benedičič has died, aged 87, the Ljubljana SNG Drama theatre has said. Benedičič, a winner of Borštnik Ring, Slovenia's top accolade for lifetime achievement in theatre acting, was a member of the SNG Drama ensemble for almost 40 years.

Benedičič performed almost 150 roles in his career, spanning five decades, and was known and celebrated for his "extraordinary artistic heritage and kind, mindful personality", the theatre said in a press release issued on Friday.

He was born in the village of Pristava near the northern town of Tržič in 1933 and graduated from the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) in 1970.

Benedičič won many awards, including the 1980 Prešeren Fund Prize for his SNG Drama performances, the 1989 Borštnik Ring, and the 1997 Župančič Award for lifetime achievements, bestowed by the city of Ljubljana.

He was described by theatre critic Jernej Novak as "a character, precise and cultivated actor, a great master of detail with a wide range of expression, who based his without fail original stage performances on in-depth research". The Borštnik Ring jury lauded him as an actor with distinctive features and one-of-a-kind artistic expression.

Benedičič was famous for his interpretations of Shakespeare's characters as well as takes on grotesque or comical roles. At the beginning of his career, he made a name for himself as a participant of the experimental Oder 57 student theatre movement.

15 Feb 2021, 13:55 PM

STA, 15 February 2021 - Nevenka Koprivšek, a major player on the Slovenian scene of performing arts, has died while expressions of condolences are pouring in from around Slovenia and abroad.

She died suddenly at the age of 61 on Sunday, Bunker, a non-profit production company behind the Young Lions international performing arts festival, said on Sunday.

Koprivšek was an actress and theatre producer. In 1989 she became the first woman artistic director of Glej, an alternative Ljubljana theatre group.

She was credited with opening it up to international audiences with the production You the City the very next year.

"It was the international character that distinguished her stint as artistic director at the time of the break-up of Yugoslavia and the rise of nationalism," Glej said.

IN MEMORIAM: NEVENKA KOPRIVŠEK We were immeasurably saddened to learn of the demise of Nevenka Koprivšek, one of Glej’s...

Posted by Gledališče Glej on Sunday, 14 February 2021

In 1997, she founded Bunker because she felt Slovenia was not familiar enough with contemporary trends in performing arts abroad.

She was also the director of the Young Lions (Mladi Levi) festival, and founder or co-founder of several international and local networks.

Koprivšek was born in 1959 in Ljubljana and graduated from the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris in 1983, acting in various groups in Paris and New York after graduating.

In 2003 she was rewarded for her work by the city of Ljubljana with the Župančič Award for outstanding achievements.

She also received two French honours for promoting French culture, one in 2011 and the other in 2016.

Glej, Bunker and the city of Ljubljana praised her as "the first Slovenian independent theatre producer" and "the driving force behind Ljubljana's alternative culture".

More than 300 cultural figures from Slovenia and abroad expressed their pain at her death and the praise of her dedication, hard work and her personality on Bunker's Facebook profile.

Ellen Walraven, artistic director of a theatre in Rotterdam, wrote that Koprivšek was one of the first and important players in the field of international theatre exchange. "She was generous, she thought strategically, she was practical and always full of ideas."

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