Helmer harbors anger toward country

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — The drama isn’t just onscreen at the 36th Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

In an emotional moment, Slovak-born helmer Ivan Reitman confessed he had harbored anger against the country he was forced to abandon for 50 years, after returning to the region for the first time to present the standing-room-only screening of his “Evolution.”

“Now I wish I had come back sooner,” Reitman said.

The absence of Ola Gietner, the young star of buzzed-about Polish competition entry “Hi Terezska,” provided another interesting tale for festgoers. Helmer Robert Glinski, who discovered Gietner at a juvenile detention center, said the actress had escaped a week before the festival started.

“Nobody knows where she is now,” he told Daily Variety.

Thesp Ben Kingsley, who conducted a three-hour acting master class, and co-star Ray Winstone were present alongside debut helmer Jonathan Glazer for the screening of “Sexy Beast” before hitting the dance floor.

As usual, there is no shortage of under-25 film fans from across Europe at the fest, which is becoming known as a youth-oriented gathering.

Echoing a popular sentiment, Norwegian helmer Pal Jackman said: “I’m so in love with this festival. I had no idea the audiences were so young and enthusiastic.”

Ironically, this view isn’t shared by the fest’s president, actor Jiri Bartoska, who has talked openly about “getting rid of all these backpackers.”

On a more positive note, Czech-born producer Evzen Kolar was singled out for a special honor. President Vaclav Havel chose his “Bride of the Wind” for a private screening during a brief visit to the premier East-meets-West fest, which wraps Saturday.

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