Art Film Fest Honors Stephen Daldry, Karl Roden

Slovaks discovering Brit helmer; reclusive actor steps out for laurels

Stephen Daldry – Golden Camera Prize

The immersive worlds created by British helmer and producer Stephen Daldry are feted at Kosice this year, where he will receive the Golden Camera prize for work of outstanding quality and professionalism behind the camera. Since the trophy was launched in 2001, the roster of honorees has included such unconventional filmmakers as Ulrich Seidl, Andrzej Wajda, and Slovak auteur Juraj Jakubisko.

Daldry’s international reputation and work with top stars make him a major score for Art Film Fest, says artistic director Peter Nagel.

Daldry’s three Oscar nominations [“Billy Elliot,” “The Hours,” and “The Reader”] are “clear evidence of his exceptional talent,” Nagel adds. In a recent stage production, Daldry cast refugees from the French “Jungle” camp in Calais to play themselves. Nagel notes that exposing Slovak auds to the filmmaker’s work fits in with the educational mission of Art Film Fest.

“I think it will be very good showcase,” Nagel says. He adds that Daldry’s work is unknown to some residents of the small nation. But a growing number of Slovaks are now well-versed in Daldry’s dramatic productions, spanning five features plus TV work over a 16-year career.

Daldry inspires emerging filmmakers with his gift for drawing out moving performances, says Art Film’s Fest’s Peter Nagel, adding that his frequent focus on strong female characters is also of interest to Slovak audiences.

Above: Stephen Daldry

Karl Roden – Actor’s Mission

There’s no shortage of star wattage at fests in Central and Eastern Europe these days, with Hollywood A-listers flown in regularly to increasingly rustic locations. But Art Film Fest prefers to focus on actors’ actors, as it has since launching the Actor’s Mission honor in 1995.

This year’s honoree, Czech film and stage veteran Karel Roden, is a Czech Lion-winning performer at Prague’s National Theater who has also branched out in to international thrillers including Robert De Niro starrer “15 Minutes” in 2001. His recent role as the raging Czechoslovak avant-garde photographer Jan Saudek in “The Photograph” is particularly apt for the Kosice fest’s focus on “films concerning art and artists.”

Roden’s portrayal of the hard-living Bohemian lensman was a sensation among critics and audiences in the region, but only the most recent character role for an actor whose range spans Russian mafia figures to Grigori Rasputin in “Hellboy.” He’s played Viktor in midnight movie “Frankenstein’s Army” and the studied intellectual hero of the Czech adaptation of HBO series “In Therapy.”

Famously press-shy Roden usually refuses such fest honors, but after three years of wooing by Art Film, aided by Rudolf Biermann, producer of Roden’s upcoming historic thriller “Masaryk,” the deal was sealed.

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