The festival was due to take place July 2-10, but the alarming COVID-19 situation has forced organizers to delay. The Czech Republic currently has the highest per capita infection rate in the world with more than 16,000 daily new infections for a population of 10.7 million. The nation is in a strict three-week lockdown that is enforced by police and military.
“Moving the festival’s dates back by seven weeks will offer the best chance of holding this cultural event closer to the extent that audiences and festival goers have become accustomed to,” said a statement from the festival.
“Our decision to take this step was made after consulting with experts and upon a careful consideration of the current situation. We hope that the coming months will see a significant increase in vaccinations, thanks to which the pandemic will be brought under control, thus allowing us to hold the Karlovy Vary festival in a form that will be maximally safe for guests and visitors. Naturally, we are ready to observe all applicable regulations,” said festival executive director Kryštof Mucha.
Festival artistic director Karel Och added: “Moving the dates of the 55th festival does not mean a long-term change in the Karlovy Vary festival’s traditional slot, the festival’s 56th edition will return to its usual time, meaning from 1 to 9 July 2022.”
While the new dates ensure there is no proximity to Cannes, should that festival take place as planned in July, Karlovy Vary’s new dates place it merely days away from the Venice Film Festival’s current dates of Sept. 1-11.