Karlovy Vary fest beefs up pic program

'Wag,' 'Lebowski,' 'Jackie Brown' set for pre-release screenings

PRAGUE — The search for bigger and better cinemas could be the toughest challenge facing the 33rd edition of the Karlovy Vary fest, skedded for July 3 11 in the Bohemian spa town.

Along with a new film market that runs July 6 9, Karlovy Vary will host a Critics’ Choice section in collaboration with Daily Variety, featuring selections from five critics, headed by Daily Variety chief film critic Todd McCarthy.

The increasingly popular fest has been struggling to accommodate the growing flock of cinephiles and international guests over the past two years. Plans for this year’s event look likely to keep that momentum going.

Already set for pre release screenings are Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Big Lebowski,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown,” Barry Levinson’s “Wag the Dog,” thesp Alan Rickman’s helming debut “The Winter Guest” and “Wilde” by Brian Gilbert.

The Forum of Independents spotlights two directors — Japanese triple threat Takeshi Kitano and Argentina’s Alejandro Agresti — and a production company, New York based Shooting Gallery. It will be repped by Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool” and Nick Gomez’s “Illtown.” American independents and Iranian cinema, including “Traveller From the South” by Parviz Shahbazi and “Season Five” by Rafi Pitts, will again figure prominently.

Special sections include a focus on New Spanish Cinema, a 100th anniversary program on Sergei Eisenstein, a retrospective of Paul Morrissey and the Factory, and a memorial tribute to Lithuanian director Vitautas Zhalakiavicsus.

In honor of the centennial of Czech cinema, a retrospective of Czech animation is planned. And in response to demands from foreign guests to screen recent Czech productions not on the official program, the 1997 98 Czech films will be made available for viewing at video booths.

Accompanying events include the MPA’s workshop for East European producers, Fipresci’s forum on European film identity and a meeting of the European Film Academy.

The MPA workshop brings together U.S. producer Saul Zaentz, Germany’s Karl Baumgartner and Lynda Myles of Great Britain with participants from 17 other countries. In addition, 100 delegates from three continents are expected to attend the fest’s film market.

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