“Na zdraví!” The Karlovy Vary Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary in style Thursday night at a soiree filled with Czech artists, American journalists and international celebs at Soho House in West Hollywood.
Jude Law, a friend of the festival who was feted with its President’s Award in 2010, attended with some friends and was impossible to miss in a navy blue derby hat. Guests sometimes had to choose between observing the real, flesh-and-blood Law and watching this video of the actor, which played on loop during the party.
“Look, there I am!” Law said, catching a glimpse of himself onscreen. “That’s how I treated their award. It’s quite funny,” he said, watching the film of himself hacking the trophy with a saw.
Law insists that he would never treat an honor from the festival as such. “It’s an extraordinary festival: a film festival for film fans and film aficionados, set in the most extraordinary place, filled with passionate, young film fans,” Law said.
Over his career, Law has attended his fair share of international film festivals. He thinks Karlovy Vary is a particularly special one. “Because there’s no competition or market, it allows itself to solely concentrate on — as they’re doing this year — remembering members of the film community or a collective work of a country or given person. It makes it unique,” Law said.
Law was not alone in his feelings. Young Czech actor Adam Misik — dubbed “the Czech Justin Bieber” by attendees, much to his dismay — has attended KVIFF many times. Misik praised the festival’s vibe. “It has a really good atmosphere,” he said. “I love it.”
Though the evening was a celebration of the festival’s 50th edition, the math involved is a little complicated. “The funny thing is that this is the 50th anniversary this year, but next year we will celebrate 70 years since the first year of the festival,” Kryštof Mucha, executive director of the festival, said. “During the communist era, we were not on every year, because they said we had to alternate with the Moscow Film Festival. The festival started in 1946,” which makes it one of the world’s oldest.
In its long history, the festival has acquired a devoted set of supporters. Actresses Jacqueline Bisset and Barbara Steele attended the celebration, along with director Yann Demange. Mel Gibson was also scheduled to attend.
Karel Och, Jude Law and Krystof Mucha pictured above. Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images.