‘The World Is Waiting’ : Karlovy Vary Film Festival Celebrates New Gen of Czech and Slovak Filmmakers

Karlovy Vary Intl

Published Time: 27.06.2024 - 19:31:39 Modified Time: 27.06.2024 - 19:31:39

Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival is readying for its upcoming edition, featuring “lots of interesting themes, lots of different countries and lots of female directors,” says programmer Vojtěch Kočárník.

Themes of “fragile family bonds and explorations of love driven by complex female characters,” Kočárník says, will also feature prominently in many of the fest’s films, such as Norway’s “Loveable.” In addition, there are a few period dramas with a contemporary touch, such as Margarida Cardoso’s “Banzo,” Bruno Anković’s “Celebration,” about young men seduced by right-wing ideology, and Iveta Grófová’s 1940s-set “Hungarian Dressmaker.”

Related Stories

“In many historical films, there is this clear distinction between good and evil. Here, all the characters have so many layers,” says Kočárník about “Dressmaker.”

While the Czech fest, which kicks off June 28, has been opening up to filmmakers all over the world, swapping its East of the West section for the Proxima sidebar only a few years ago, it’s keeping an eye on a new generation of local directors. One such helmer is Adam Martinec, who is about to make his feature debut with “Our Lovely Pig Slaughter.”

“The world is waiting for this film, if I may exaggerate a little,” says KVIFF’s artistic director Karel Och. “You don’t get to see Czech films at the biggest festivals that often, which I hope will change, but I am very confident about this new generation. Unlike some of their older colleagues, they work on themselves. They go to festivals, watch films and they want to be a part of a bigger filmmaking community.”

According to Kočárník, new directors are successfully building a bridge between the past and the present.

“Martinec’s film communicates with the Czechoslovak New Wave, with its irony and sense of humor. It reminded me of “Intimate Lighting” helmer Ivan Passer,” he says, also mentioning Paula Ďurinová’s “absorbing” essay film “Lapilli,” selected for Proxima, and “Tiny Lights” director Beata Parkanová, one of five female helmers in the Crystal Globe Competition strand.

“Supporting young cinema enthusiasts” is crucial, says Och. “We try to be as -

accessible as possible, hoping that maybe we will wake up a future filmmaker inside of them. Every year we discover new filmmakers and we like that the energy is always different.”

But the event also celebrates its returning guests, including KVIFF regular Mark Cousins — set to present “A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things,” a feature about painter Wilhelmina Barns-Graham — and juror Christine Vachon.

“These are friends of the festival. When you come to KVIFF, we’ll try our best to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We want to make sure it’s still an intimate event, despite being ‘visible’ and significant internationally,” says Och.

Geoffrey Rush will also make a return. While his 2022 Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema raised eyebrows due to accusations of sexual misconduct by a former co-star, Rush has won a defamation lawsuit against the publisher of the Australian outlet that printed the allegations.

“Everybody knows how this case ended,” underlines Och. “We were happy to find out he had cleared his schedule for the festival and wanted to become one of the jurors. He is a kind man and a cinephile.”

The fest will still announce its honorary awardees but, according to Och, it will once again spotlight “celebrities with special sensitivity towards the world we live in and towards cinema,” such as “milestone guest” Robert Redford, awarded in 2005.

“He’s an iconic celebrity, but he has also done so much for young filmmakers and American indie cinema. Or take Benicio del Toro, another cinephile, who surprised us all with his knowledge of Czech cinema. This is what we are looking for,” says Och.

KVIFF will pay its respects to a world-renowned Czech artist Franz Kafka, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his death with a retrospective “The Wish to Be a Red Indian: Kafka and Cinema.”There have been many events dedicated to Kafka, and “we had to make sure ours would be outstanding. Even if it makes five people rediscover his books, it will be worth it,” says Och.

More from Variety

Most Popular

Must Read

Sign Up for Variety Newsletters

A Variety and iHeartRadio Podcast

More From Our Brands

ad To help keep your account secure, please log-in again. You are no longer onsite at your organization. Please log in. For assistance, contact your corporate administrator.