PRAGUE — Gearing up for what fest president Jiri Bartoska and programmer Eva Zaoralova call “a double anniversary year,” the Karlovy Vary festival is adding two days to its calendar.
This millennium year edition, the fest’s 35th, runs 11 instead of the usual nine days, July 5-15. In recent years, fest directors have been itching to lengthen the increasingly popular festival and finally decided to take the plunge. Zaoralova told Daily Variety that she doesn’t expect to increase the number of feature films on offer, saying that “many films are lost” in the crowded schedule.
Instead, she’ll add third screenings (for early and late fest attendees) and more shorts from young filmmakers. “The festival is becoming known among film schools, and more of them are asking to come,” Zaoralova said.
The documentary competition, dropped last year due to a financial squeeze, will return this year.
Fest’s main prize, now upped to $20,000, will go to film’s director and producer. The Freedom Foundation is returning for a third year, with $5,000 in prize money in its competition among young East European films.
On the business front, the fest has abandoned thoughts of a film market.
Sidebars include one focusing on Bosnian cinema, a special section called “Twenty Hundred Years of Christianity on Film” (“That will be very interesting,” promises Bartoska) and a 75th birthday tribute to Hungarian director Karoly Makk.