'Identity Card' wins audience award at Czech fest

PRAGUE — Helmer Vaclav Kadrnka’s “Eighty Letters” shared the top prize for film with Jan Sverak’s kid pic “Kooky” at the Pilsen Finale Festival of Czech Film on Saturday.

“Eighty Letters” follows a day in the life of a Czech woman who is trying to get permission for herself and her son to join her husband in the U.K., where he has defected.

“Kooky,” a live-action/animation mix, is about the adventures of a teddy bear’s quest to return home from the dump.

The audience award went to Ondrej Trojan’s “Identity Card,” a film about the pre-1989 revolution coming-of-age ritual, when 18 year olds were granted official IDs by the Czech police.

Although some industryites confessed to being underwhelmed with the vision and boldness of the competition features, a strong showing in documentaries impressed auds and juries, reflecting a more robust output in that genre by local helmers in the past year.

“The Hardest of Choices,” by Dagmar Smrzova, which examines the consequences of bearing children with Edwards Syndrome, won fest’s Golden Kingfisher in the docus category for its handling of what jurors called the “timeless problem of responsibility for life.”

Miroslav Janek’s “Andrej Krob on the Move” won a special jury mention for its “authentic perspective” on the life of the freewheeling Czech theater director, who staged Vaclav Havel’s work in the 1970s.

The Taborsky foundation honored two other offbeat docus, Vit Klusak’s “All for the Good of the World and Nosovice,” about the transformation wrought on a Czech hamlet by the arrival of a Hyundai car plant, and Erika Hnikova’s “Matchmaking Mayor,” the story of a Slovak magistrate who tries to pair up his townsfolk.

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