Pic takes grand prize at fest

Joseph Madmony’s tender study balancing tradition with change in Israel, “Restoration,” won the grand prize at a Karlovy Vary Film Festival that saw jurors distribute top prizes to 12 films from 13 countries, with no clear favorites.

Martin Sulik’s touching coming-of-age story, the Czech/Slovak “Gypsy,” won special jury mention and $20,000. Grand prize comes with a purse of $30,000.

French helmer Pascal Rabate took director kudos for the offbeat comedy “Holidays by the Sea,” while Stine Fischer Christensen scored the actress prize for Germany’s “Cracks in the Shell” and David Morse won best actor for his role as the voluble Gus in Martin Donovan’s debut pic, Canadian/U.S. entry “Collaborator.” That film, which follows two ex-neighbors from Reseda as they debate women, beer and war in the midst of a hostage situation, also won over fest audiences and critics, scoring the Fipresci kudo.

Jury special mentions went to the youthful Jan Mizigar for his role in “Gypsy” and to Jocelyn Pook for her evocative music score in Denmark and Croatia’s atmospheric “Room 304.”

Vladimir Blazevski’s Macedonian/Serbian “Punk’s Not Dead” took the East of the West kudo, which celebrates work from the former East bloc, with special mention going to Victor Ginzberg’s Russian entry “Generation P.”

Eva Mulvad’s look at hard times for former millionaires, “The Good Life,” from Denmark, won the docu award, while Marcin Koszalka’s visually stunning Polish study of mountain climbers, “Declaration of Immortality,” was voted top short doc.

Forum of Independents prize went to the quirky comedy “Sunflower Hour” by Canada’s Aaron Houston and Karlovy Vary aud prize went to Matej Minac’s Czech/Slovak “Nicky’s Family,” a true-life account of the rescue of scores of children from the Holocaust by Englishman Nicholas Winton.

Some 12,000 fans and industryites rolled out to the ornate west Bohemian spa town this year to catch what many critics called a smaller but better curated collection of 179 feature pics, with 120,000 tickets sold for 413 screenings, which took over the communist-era Hotel Thermal and every other available screen in town.

Woody’s Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” screened before the black-tie closing gala audience at the Hotel Thermal’s grand hall, followed, as per tradition, by a party at the baroque and marble-filled GrandHotel Pupp.

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