House of Velvet Premiered at Mezipatra Film Festival

Director: Igor Smitka, Ivana Hucíková Genre: Documentary Length: 17 minutes Language: Slovak Shooting location: Prague, Czech republic Production company: Super Films, Mondance, NO CAP Premiered at Mezipatra Film Festival


This film follows a day in the life of the Kiki House of Velvet members. Scattered moments from their everyday experiences in the outside world dissolve when everyone meets again in the safety within their chosen family. Scripted scenes merged with authentic and lived experiences of the characters show how the ballroom culture intertwines with their lives and vice versa. The ballroom culture, which originated in the US in the late 1960s out of oppression and discrimination of African American and Latinx trans women, has always served as a space for freedom of self-expression and liberation for marginalized and queer people. The culture is still very much vibrant and alive today, in New York, Paris or all around the world. For us here in Central and Eastern Europe, ballroom culture emerged in quite a different context. But it tries to stay true to its original purpose. All of the dance, fashion, body and performance categories stem out of issues which queer, trans and BIPOC minorities had to face in the past and sadly a lot of them are still persistent in our societies even today – especially in the context of this region.

Team + Directors 

Working primarily in film and advertising, Igor Smitka, a cinematographer and director from Slovakia, perceives film as a potent medium for empowerment. Through his work, he endeavors to bring to light the narratives of individuals and marginalized communities that might otherwise remain overlooked or unheard.

Meanwhile, Ivana Hucikova, a freelance film director also hailing from Slovakia, served as a Fellow of the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio in Brooklyn. During her tenure, she co-directed the critically acclaimed short documentary film “Into My Life” (Tribeca, HotDocs, POV shorts). Presently, she is engrossed in pursuing her PhD in Documentary Film and simultaneously nurturing new projects as a freelance director.

Status of the project 

The film has been successfully wrapped and is expected to premiere soon.


Film was premiered at Mezipatra Film Festival.