A charismatic and passionate mayor of a small town in Slovakia makes it his personal mission to grow the dying population of his home. Concerned that the younger generation wasn’t doing their part to marry and have children, he holds a singles event to help facilitate matchmaking.
The story is told with lightness and humor – from the mayor speaking to the village through loud speakers (imagine waking up to the sounds of “Good morning, this is your mayor speaking“.), to his “selection process” when putting together the guest list, to the one-on-one interviews done with some of the town singletons. His singles event doesn’t quite go as planned and witnessing the debacle makes for an enjoyable (if slightly awkward) viewing experience.
The documentary provides a glimpse as to what life is like in a rural Slovakian town and highlights the challenges faced by it’s locals. Unfortunately, the problem with aging populations in these places is not uncommon and their future is very uncertain.
Notes from the Q & A Session With Producer Jiri Konecny
- The state of romance in Zemplínske Hámre remains unchanged since the documentary was filmed. The town still faces the problem a decreasing population resulting from aging elderly and their younger generation who are choosing to stay unmarried and childless.
- Their mayor has not attempted any further matchmaking efforts after his unsuccessful singles event.
- A man at the single’s event won a romantic prize which was a hot air balloon trip over their town. The film closes with images of the man taking the balloon ride alone.
- More women than men refused to come to the singles event. They felt insulted they were even on the guest list.
- The mayor is married with two children. He did not permit his wife or children to be included in the documentary.
- The crew found it difficult to find locals who were willing to take part in the documentary.
- The mayor has done a lot for the town of Zemplínske Hámre such as bringing them cable TV and updating their sewage system. He is well respected with a distinguished back-ground in military and politics.
Synopsis from Hot Docs:
The small East Slovak village of Zemplínske Hámre is facing a peculiar population crisis. The older generation is slowly dying out and the place is overrun with 30-something singletons who show absolutely no signs of “restocking” their community anytime soon. Frustrated with young people’s lack of interest in family life, the mayor decides to make town growth the top item on his agenda. As a retired army general, he’s no stranger to action. But when his financial incentives for any couple delivering a newborn fail to catch on, he initiates a far more personal matchmaking strategy. With equal parts heart and humour, Matchmaking Mayor chronicles one man’s endearing civic conviction and an entire town’s outlook on romance.
- Blog TO – http://www.blogto.com/film/2011/04/hot_docs_2011_preview_part_2/
- Film New Europe – http://www.filmneweurope.com/news/georgia/slovak-matchmaking-mayor-wins-german-prize
- Hollywood Reporter – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/matchmaking-mayor-heart-cant-be-99514
- Hot Docs – http://www.hotdocs.ca/film/title/matchmaking_mayor
- NOW – http://www.nowtoronto.com/guides/hotdocs/2011/listing.cfm?listingid=114