Jubilee celebrations at Karlovy Vary

Czech festival gets ready for landmark anniversary.

by Richard Mowe

John Cazale will help celebrate Karlovy Vary’s 50 years
John Cazale will help celebrate Karlovy Vary’s 50 years

One of Europe’s most diverse and historic film festivals, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which takes place in a Bohemian spa town from 3 to 11 July is gearing up for its jubilee celebrations this year.

Plans to celebrate its 50 years include a look at recent Lebanese cinema, a retrospective of late Soviet-Ukrainian director Larisa Shepitko’s work and tributes to US actors John Cazale and Chris Penn.

Actor-director Mel Gibson will also film a special trailer for the festival, set to be shot in Los Angeles in early May. The Lethal Weapon star received the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at last year’s KVIFF.

Guest of honour at Karlovy Vary: Chris Penn
Guest of honour at Karlovy Vary: Chris Penn

Gibson continues a tradition that sees the recipients of this award feature in a short trailer for the following festival. It will be written and directed by Martin Krejčí, who has collaborated with Ivan Zachariáš since the beginning of the festival trailers project and previously directed KVIFF shorts featuring Jiří Menzel and Helen Mirren.

In cooperation with the main partner of the KVIFF, the company RWE, and the main media partner, Czech Television, a feature length documentary film called Film Spa has been made by director Miroslav Janek to map the previous years of the Karlovy Vary festival. The public will be able to see the documentary on July 3 at a special night-time, open-air screening at Mlýnská kolonáda.

The festival has also established The Karlovy Vary Festival Endowment Fund, the goal of which is to support master's degree students in the directing programme at FAMU and help implement their projects. The festival will provide a scholarship for selected FAMU students who already have an approved plan for their graduation film.

The Festival has played host to A-list celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, honoured acclaimed directors like Israel's Amos Gitai and attracted dedicated film students who camp out in front of cinema doors in the hope of capturing free seats to sold-out screenings.

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