Accent on youth in Karlovy Vary

Festival unveils 50th anniversary bumper programme.

by Richard Mowe

Satirical comedy about Neo-Nazis from director Dietrich Brüggemann will feature in the Competition at Karlovy Vary
Satirical comedy about Neo-Nazis from director Dietrich Brüggemann will feature in the Competition at Karlovy Vary

Celebrating its 50th anniversary next month (July), the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival today (2 June) has unveiled the competition titles in its Official Selection, East of the West, Forum of Independents and Documentary sections.

The main competition will field seven world premieres and six international premieres, including the new film from Stations Of The Cross director Dietrich Brüggemann, Heil, a radical satirical comedy about neo-Nazis.

The festival in a Czech spa town will introduce new movies by Dietrich Brüggemann and Romanian filmmakers Anca Damian and Florin Şerban, as well as the feature debut of a promising rising star of Italian cinemaAnca Damian and Florin Şerban.

“This year, we are excited to present the youngest competition line-up in the KVIFF’s recent history, the average age of the filmmaker in the main festival section is 39 years old,” says KVIFF’s artistic director Karel Och.

Diego Ongaro’s debut feature Bob And The Trees is one of seven debuts in the competition.
Diego Ongaro’s debut feature Bob And The Trees is one of seven debuts in the competition.

Polish documentary director Marcin Koszałkaʼs will present his feature debut, The Red Spider, a psychological thriller inspired by true events from the 1950s that delves into the mechanisms that give rise to a mass murderer.

Danish documentary maker Daniel Dencik will present his first feature, Gold Coast, about a young anti-colonial idealist who sets out for Danish Guinea. Described as “an original historical film that blends lyric poetry with a terrifying nightmare while offering clear-cut testimony about European colonialism.” Angelo Badalamenti has signed the score.

Award-winning shorts director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino will present the world premiere of his feature debut, Antonia, about Italian poet Antonia Pozzi (1912-1938).

Kosovar filmmaker Visar Morina will present his first feature Babai, the story of a 10-year-old boy who follows his father on a journey from Kosovo to Germany.

There are two female directors in the main competition. The new feature from Anca Damian (Crulic: The Path to Beyond) is The Magic Mountain, which investigates the adventures of mountain climber and photographer Adam J. Winkler, who fought in Afghanistan with the mujahedin against the Soviets in the 1980s. The director has told the story using an animated collage of period material.

The second female director in competition is Ukrainian filmmaker Eva Neymann (House With A Turret), whose third picture Song Of Songs features loosely connected images of the lost world of the Jewish shtetl at the beginning of the 20th century, inspired by the work by renowned Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem.

Bob And The Trees, an US production by Massachusetts-based Frenchman Diego Ongaro, is one of seven competition debuts. Shot in cinéma vérité style, the story features 50-year-old logger and farmer Bob Tarasuk, a charismatic workhorse with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap.

Five years after the multi-award winning Berlinale competition film If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle, Romanian director Florin Șerban will bring to Karlovy Vary his intense drama Box, whose story follows the movements of a talented 19-year-old boxer and an attractive thirtysomething mother and stage actress at a critical moment in her life.

In his debut The Sound Of Trees, Canadian filmmaker François Peloquin portrays a drama of adolescence set against the Québec landscape.

Austrian director Peter Brunnerʼs soul-searching study Those Who Fall Have Wings, whose title acknowledges inspiration from the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmannʼs, is about coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

The Czech Republic will be represented in the main competition by two titles. First-timer Slávek Horákʼs Home Care looks at a devoted nurse who faces an almost insurmountable obstacle, mixing serious issues with gentle humour.

The drama The Snake Brothers from Jan Prušinovský tells the story of Cobra and Viper, who each deal with desolation and lack of funds in their small Central Bohemian town.

East of the West

The East of the West strand will open with the world premiere of Journey To Rome (Cesta Do Rima), the feature debut of Tomsz Mielnik and described as “a road movie on a train.”

The film’s main character is Vasek, a shy man in his early 30s, who steals a painting from the National Gallery and makes a dash for Rome by train.

Hunted by antique shop owners and a police commissioner, he meets extraordinary characters along the way including a priest taxi driver who wants Vasek to confess in his cab; a truffle expert complete with little pig; and an older lady who notices a resemblance with the thief pictured in newspapers.

Forum of Independents

The Forum of Independents section will open with the world premiere of Hopefuls (Aspirantes), the debut feature of Brazilian director Ives Rosenfeld.

The film deals with a young man who sees football as a way to escape his ordinary life. But his dream of becoming the star of an elite team is jeopardised under the weight of circumstances.


The Documentary Films strand includes the international premiere of I Am Belfast, from director Mark Cousins (The Story Of Film: An Odyssey).

“I met a woman. She said that she is Belfast, the city in Northern Ireland where I grew up. The woman said that she’s as old as the city,” states Cousins at the beginning of this meditative dialogue. This cinematic essay abandons the parameters of classic documentary language, asking us to perceive the film as a magical-realist mix of reality, dreams, myths, and local storytelling.

The section will also include the European premiere of Palio, from Cosima Spender. The film is about the famous horse race that takes place in the Italian city of Sienna. It received its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this spring where it won the prize for best documentary editing.

Short documentaries will also feature in the line-up including Kacey Mottet Klein, Birth of an Actor from Swiss director Ursula Meier.

The festival runs from 3 to 11 July.

KVIFF 50th anniversary programme

OfficialSelection - Competition

Antonia, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino (Ita-Gre) WP

Babai, Visar Morina (Ger-Den-Fra-Kos-Mac) IP

Bob And The Trees, Diego Ongaro (US) IP

Box, Florin Şerban (Fra-Ger-Rom) WP

The Sound Of Trees, François Péloquin (Can) WP

The Red Spider, Marcin Koszałka (Pol-Cze-Slo) WP

Home Care, Slávek Horák (Cze-Slo) WP

Gold Coast, Daniel Dencik (Den) IP

Heil, Dietrich Brüggemann (Ger) IP

Those Who Fall Have Wings, Peter Brunner (Aus) WP

The Snake Brothers, Jan Prušinovský (Cze) IP

The Magic Mountain, Anca Damian (Rom-Fra-Pol) IP

Song Of Songs, Eva Neymann (Ukr) WP

East of the West - Competition

The Wednesday Child, Lili Horváth (Hun-Ger) WP

Journey To Rome, Tomasz Mielnik (Cze-Pol) WP

Chemo, Bartek Prokopowicz (Pol) WP

Chromium, Bujar Alimani (Alb) WP

The World Is Mine, Nicolae Constantin Tanase (Rom) IP

No Matter How Hard We Tried, Grzegorz Jarzyna (Pol) IP

Dust Of The Ground, Vít Zapletal (Cze) WP

Ivy, Tolga Karaçelik (Tur) EP

Heavenly Nomadic, Mirlan Abdykalykov (Kyr) WP

Wednesday 4:45, Alexis Alexiou (Gre-Ger) EP

You Carry Me, Ivona Juka (Cro-Slo-Ser-Mon) WP

Zero, Gyula Nemes (Hun-Cze-Ger) WP

Forum of Independents - Competition

Hopefuls, Ives Rosenfeld (Bra) WP

David, Jan Těšitel (Cze) WP

Le Dep, Sonia Boileau Bonspille (Can ) WP

Guerrilla, Anders Hazelius (Swe) IP

Beyond Here, Hugo Bousquet (Bel) WP

Princess, Tali Shalom-Ezer (Isr) EP

Shadow Behind The Moon, Jun Robles Lana (Phil) WP

The Ark In The Mirage, Yasutomo Chikuma (Jap) WP

Tangerine, Sean Baker (US) EP

Viaje, Paz Fábrega (Cos) EP

Violator, Dodo Dayao (Phil) EP

The Violators, Helen Walsh (UK) IP

Documentaries - Competition

23 Kilometres, Noura Kevorkian (Can) WP

Amerika, Jan Foukal (Cze) WP

Cats In Riga, Jon Bang Carlsen (Lat)

Game Over, Alba Sotorra (Spa-Ger) IP

Horizons, Eileen Hofer (Swi) IP

I Am Belfast, Mark Cousins (Ire-UK) IP

IEC Long, João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata (Por)

Kacey Mottet Klein, Birth Of An Actor, Ursula Meier (Swi)

Mallory, Helena Třeštíková (Cze) WP

Once Upon A Dream - A Journey To The Last Spaghetti Western, Tonislav Hristov (Ger-Fin-Bul)IP

Palio, Cosima Spender (UK-Ita) EP

Resort, Martin Hrubý (Cze)

The Father Tapes, Albert Meisl (Aus) IP

White Death, Roberto Collío (Chi)

Women In Sink, Iris Zaki (UK-Isr)

The Living Fire, Ostap Kostyuk (Ukr) EP

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