Karlovy Vary cancels but stays on screen

Organisers announce touring highlights in Czech Republic and online presence

by Richard Mowe

Julianne Moore receives a Crystal Globe award from Jiří Bartoška at last year's festival
Julianne Moore receives a Crystal Globe award from Jiří Bartoška at last year's festival Photo: Richard Mowe
Despite the Czech Republic gradually beginning to unlock from the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has decided to cancel this year’s 55th edition, which was due to start on July 3.

Instead, a selection of titles from the official line-up will be screened in cinemas across the country while the industry programme will be moved online.

Jiří Bartoška, president of KVIFF, adopting a similar rationale to the Cannes Film Festival, said: “We strongly believe that seeing a movie with other people in a theatre is a powerful and irreplaceable experience. And because the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events in the Czech Republic, we have decided that holding an alternative version would go against the festival’s main mission: to bring together audiences, filmmakers, and people from different walks of life in order to collectively enjoy works of cinema.”

Karlovy Vary's packed opening night last year
Karlovy Vary's packed opening night last year Photo: Richard Mowe
During preparations for this edition, the festival’s programming department chose a variety of intriguing films they knew would be popular with festival audiences, the organisers said in a press release. “Since the government’s plan for loosening the lockdown on June 8 will allow cinemas to screen movies to a specified number of viewers (50), the festival has decided to organise a special version of the traditional KVIFF at Your Cinema (July 3-11) programme, whereby each year the best of the festival tours cities around the country. Now filmgoers nationwide will get a chance to see an outstanding selection of worthwhile films during the nine days originally planned for the festival.

The traditional dates of the Festival will be maintained also by a presentation of competing film projects KVIFF Eastern Promises (July 6-8) aimed at film industry professionals. Due to the predictable limitations of the current Covid-19 situation, this part of the Festival will move to a virtual space making projects in various stages of development and production from the region of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa more accessible to international buyers, festivals and distributors.

KVIFF announced yesterday it has joined the project We Are One: A Global Film Festival.

The 55th edition of the festival will now take place from July 2 to 10, 2021.

Meanwhile the organisers of the Tokyo International Film Festival, due to be held from October 31 to November 9 say they will continue to monitor the global health situation and explore many options for holding the 33rd edition of the festival. TIFF has also announced it is open for submissions on its website, from today until July 17, 2020 .

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