The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of Europe’s oldest and finest film fests, began to tease elements of its 56th edition — which will take place in its eponymous Czech city from July 1-9 — in a press release issued on Tuesday.
In a show of support for nearby Ukraine, KVIFF announced that it will host the Works-in-Progress program of the Odesa International Film Festival, which cannot be held due to that nation’s ongoing war with Russia. “Broad solidarity with war-afflicted Ukraine must also include support for the country’s cultural life, which at this moment has come almost to a halt,” Hugo Rosák, the head of KVIFF’s Industry Department, said. “As a film festival, we have tried to find ways of supporting Ukrainian cinema, and we are glad that we have managed to work with the Odesa film festival to find a meaningful form of cooperation.” Added Anna Machuh, OIFF’s general director, “We are honored to have this opportunity to show Ukrainian cinema, talent and culture to the world.”
KVIFF also revealed that it will bestow its President’s Award — which recognizes outstanding figures in Czech cinema — to the actor, playwright, screenwriter, and director Boleslav Polívka. The release stated, “For more than two decades, Bolek Polívka has left a similarly distinctive mark on Czech cinema. His most remarkable roles include the portrayal of a priest in Vladimír Michálek’s Forgotten Light (1996), which earned him a Czech Lion for best actor and another award in the same category at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. He later also took home a Czech Lion for best actor for Divided We Fall (dir. Jan Hřebejk, 2000), which was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film.”
KVIFF, which has regularly helped to digitally restore classic Czech films, has this year done so with Jaromil Jireš’ 1969 Czech New Wave standout The Joke (1969), which it will also show during the fest. The film’s digital restoration was organized by the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in collaboration with the National Film Archive and the State Fund for Cinema, and was performed at UPP and Soundsquare using original sound and film negatives stored at the National Film Archive.
And the fest is also launching a new year-round initiative called KVIFF Talents, the objective of which is “to identify talented filmmakers” — from just the Czech Republican and Slovakia, for now — “and to support the creation of creative audiovisual projects with international ambitions possessing a high level of originality.” Selected filmmakers will receive financing for development, mentoring from experts and the chance to present their projects to potential producers, partners, and investors at the fest. “The program will be another important piece of the puzzle promoting greater originality, creative boldness, and international ambitions by filmmakers from our region,” noted KVIFF executive director Kryštof Mucha.