50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Czech Republic, July 3 - July 11 2015
The history of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival begins in 1946 as a non-competitive festival of films representing seven countries. It took place in Marienbad, but after two years, the festival moved to its present location of Karlovy Vary. In 2015, the largest film festival in the Czech Republic, one that had survived political control and pressures during the Communist era from 1948 until the Velvet Revolution, celebrates its Jubilee anniversary. In 1956, it was classified as an A-list festival in line with its prestige and, in 1990 it had an essential renewal concerning its program and organization, enhanced by the additions in 1994 of Czech actor Jirí Bartoska and film journalist Eva Zaraolová. With that, it has become the most important film festival in Eastern Europe.
All films screened at the festival are Czech premieres and some are World or European premieres. Thirty-two Czech productions were presented in different sections. Also, the presence of foreign accredited journalists is greater than in any other cultural event in the country.
Karlovy Vary is a spa town 130 kilometers from Prague, and is named after the King of Bohemia, Charles IV, who founded it in 1370. The beautiful town is world famous for its hot springs, and is one of the most visited spots in the Czech Republic for this reason.
KVIFF 2015 presented various categories, four of which are competitions: the Official Selection, East of the West (an international competition of débuts and second feature-length films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the countries of the former Soviet Union), Forum of Independents, and Documentary. The other sections are the out-of-competition Official Selection and the out-of-competition Documentary selections, Special Events, Horizons, Another View, Imagine, Variety Critics’ Choice, Midnight Screenings, and Czech Films 2014-2015. A special tribute focused on director Larissa Shepitko. An excellent choice of films was included in other sections, such as, A Week of Lebanese Cinema, Six Close Encounters, Out of the Past, Future Frames, and the Prague Short Film Festival.
The Grand Jury was composed of five members: Tim League (USA), Angelina Nikonova (Russia), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (Iceland), Hengameh Panahi (France), and Ondrëj Zach (Czech Republic). They presented the following awards:
Gran Prix-Cristal Globe
Bob and the Trees (USA, 2015), directed by Diego Ongaro
Special Jury Prix
Those Who Fall Have Wings (Jeder der fäll that Flügel), (Austria 2015), directed by Peter Brunner
Best Director Award
Visar Morina for the film Babai (Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France, 2015)
Best Actress Award
Alena Mihulová for her role in the film Home Care (Domácípéce) (Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2015), directed by Slávek Horák
Best Actor Award
Krystof Hádek for his role in the film The Snake Brothers (Kobry a uzovky), (Czech Republic, 2015), directed by Jan Prusinovsky
Special Jury Mention
The Magic Mountain (La montagne magique), (Romania, France, Poland, 2015), directed by Anca Damian
Special Jury Mention
Antonia (Italy, Greece, 2015), directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival also welcomed the prestigious actors and filmmakers Richard Gere, Harvey Keitel, George A. Romero, Udo Kier, Kim Ki Duk and Jamie Dornan, Sean Ellis, Leslye Headland, Jena Malone, and Ryan Fleck, all of whom participated in talks and presentations during the festival. (Eva Peydró)
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: www.kviff.com