Karlovy Vary Film Festival Opens Its Doors to Central European and World Cinema

Czech spa town hosts event that brings together big stars and and film lovers

Anthropoid Jamie Dornan Cillian Murphy
Courtesy of Bleecker Street

Once again the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival is set to open its doors and host the most important event for the cinema community in Central Europe. For eight days the film industry and film lovers will experience a busy program of screenings, workshops and parties.

On July 1, festival president Jiri Bartoska, together with artistic director Karel Och, will welcome attendees at the gala opening in the Grand Hall of the Hotel Thermal. The celebration will include the world premiere of Sean Ellis’ “Anthropoid,” and will be attended by the film’s stars — Jamie Dornan, Charlotte Le Bon, and their Czech colleague Anna Geislerova.

The film’s story concerns a key moment in World War II — and a fateful one in what is now the Czech Republic — the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the No. 3 man in Nazi Germany, by Czechoslovak members of the British commandos. The U.K./France/Czech co-production will debut Aug. 12 in the U.S.

One of the fest’s main features is the East of the West section, a competition of first and second films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey, and the territories of the former Soviet Union. This gives filmmakers from this part of the world an opportunity to showcase their work.

Young talent recently discovered at this competition includes Russian director Ivan I. Tverdovsky in 2014. This year he is going after the Crystal Globe in the main competition with his new film, “Zoology.”

The wide range of programing at the festival is rounded off by the non-competitive section. This part is designed to provide opportunities to a new generation of less-conventional artists and includes Variety’s Critics Choice, 10 new international films that have impressed Variety critics (see separate story).

New this year: the festival, in co-operation with Barrandov Studio, is introducing a section called the Film Industry Pool. This gives producers, distributors, sales agents, film festival organizers, and representatives of international film institutions the opportunity to meet, network, and keep track of the ever increasing programs and incentives for filmmaking professionals.

Eurimages Lab 2016 will present publicly for the first time eight selected projects using new and innovative approaches to filmmaking. The best of these projects will receive a 50,000 euro ($56,000) prize.

Another section, Works in Progress, offers an attractive post-production package to the most promising project, with the winners receiving sound and audio services, and funds for the completion of their projects at Czech companies, including UPP, Soundsquare, and Barrandov Studio.

For the second year, a network of independent European distributors will be represented at a workshop by Europa Distribution.

Ted Hope, head of motion picture production at Amazon Studios, will speak about his vision of the film industry.

One of the festival days will be dedicated to Czech scriptwriter, producer, director, and educator Frank Daniel (1926-1996). Before immigrating to the United States he cooperated on over 40 films in former Czechoslovakia, such as the foreign-language Oscar-winning “The Shop on Main Street” (1965).

In 1969 he became the first dean of the American Film Institute. Former student David Lynch thanks Daniel in his 1977 “Eraserhead,” and in 1981 Robert Redford named Daniel artistic director of the Sundance Institute.

(Pictured above: Jamie Dornan, left, and Cillian Murphy in “Anthropoid”)