The 56th Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival will host the launch of KVIFF Talents, its new year-round program, whose goal is to identify talented filmmakers, and support the creation of projects with international ambition, and a high level of originality.

The first flight of 11 creative teams will present their projects in person during a showcase on July 4 at 12:30 p.m. in KVIFF.TV Park.

“We’ve always considered the festival to be a bridge between the creative potential of Central and Eastern European filmmakers and the international stage where they can shine,” Kryštof Mucha, the festival’s executive director, said. “The KVIFF Talents program represents a new, bolder and more progressive step in that direction, as it broadens its spotlight to include audiovisual works of formats and genres beyond feature or documentary films. It offers an alternative way to secure financing and, thanks to the ‘KVIFF Talent’ label, better market visibility to a wider pool of talented creators.”

KVIFF Talents is divided into two parallel sections: Creative Pool and Feature Pool.

The Creative Pool focuses on works of any format or genre, be it a short film, web series, podcast, music video, video game, etc.

The Feature Pool is designed to support ideas for original feature films that have the potential to be made quickly and with a budget under five million CZK (approx. 200,000 EUR).

The KVIFF Talents’ pilot phase attracted more than 230 submissions from the Czech Republic and Slovakia this spring.

“We were thrilled to see the interest our program generated and the high level of quality and originality, which was exactly what the program was aiming for. The entries were so compelling that we ended up selecting more projects than originally planned,” Hugo Rosák, head of the KVIFF Film Industry Office, said.

This year’s Creative Pool will encompass eight projects, from mockumentary and experimental fairy tale to VR game and animated series. Together with the three feature-film projects selected for the Feature Pool (see the full list of selected projects below), the projects will now be presented by their creative teams to potential producers, partners and investors at several events during the festival.

Besides the showcase and pitching opportunities, the selected creative teams in both pools receive financial support for development – 120,000 CZK for the Feature Pool projects and 50,000 CZK for Creative Pool projects. All participants receive mentoring and consultations with international film professionals tailored to their needs during the development, production and distribution stages in order to help them bring their projects to life.

The most promising projects among the feature films may become part of the KVIFF ecosystem, from the festival itself to KVIFF Distribution and KVIFF.TV.

“Skinny Bitch,” feature film by Michael Hogenauer and XOVA Film
Kristina is a young girl who unexpectedly breaks up with her longtime boyfriend due to his infidelity. She joins a friendly couple who run a food truck with sweet potato fries and a plan to tour Czech music festivals for a few weeks. Kristina needs to sort out her thoughts and priorities and grapple with emotions she still doesn’t properly understand. But she gets caught up in the whirlwind of music and parties, chance meetings, dancing and burnt frying oil. Can Kristina find a better prospect for a quieter future when the first wave of COVID is appearing?

Creators’ Bio
Michael Hogenauer studied promotional graphics, photography and directing at FAMU. His graduate film “Tambylles” (2012) premiered in the Cinéfondation section of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, he co-founded the film education platform Cinergy Prague. From 2017, he was the artistic programmer of IFF Febiofest Prague for three years. His feature debut “A Certain Kind of Silence” premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2019. He is currently finishing his second feature film “V korunách stromů je klid.”

XOVA Film is a Prague-based production company with an eclectic, auteur profile, whose aim is to produce audiovisual works with an authentic creative vision. Founded in 2014, the company started with TV documentaries (“Daleko od Majdanu” by Michal Varga), experimental/hybrid films (“Vienna Calling” by Petr Šprinckl) and feature documentaries (“Circus Rwanda” by Michal Varga), and gradually started to make feature films (“Erhart” by Jan Březina, “Ordinary Failures” by Cristina Groșan). The company is managed by producer Marek Novák and focuses on the projects of emerging talents, both fiction and documentary, both as a majority and minority producer. Marek Novák graduated from FAMU in Prague, is a graduate of EAVE Producers Workshop 2019, Berlinale Talents, Emerging Producers 2020 and is a Producer on the Move 2021.

“Luigi,” feature film by Eliška Kováříková, Kateřina Kováříková, Adam Struhala
The summer holidays have just ended in Sardinia and Luigi, who has just graduated, has no plans for the future. Bored, he wanders between his father’s workshop and the village and spends time on Instagram, watching the new lives of his classmates who have left the island to continue their studies. Luigi despises it all, as well as ordinary work. His lonely daily routine is only interrupted by the annoying cars of tourists looking for a nearby canyon. When his father confronts him with an ultimatum to either find a job by the end of the week or start working at his auto repair shop, Luigi must act. The next morning, he stands outside the canyon with a tour guide sign next to the professional guides. He accepts clients whom others have turned down because they couldn’t handle the arduous climb – retirees with crutches, people with small children, or the very obese, making them pay extra money. Luigi is pleased to watch his waist bag fill up quickly with banknotes. He has just earned as much as he would in a month in the auto repair. An unusual, disparate group of tourists from different countries starts to descend to the bottom of the canyon, embarking on a trip that is bound to turn into an adrenaline rush and make Luigi look at the world through a slightly different lens.

Creators’ Bio
Eliška Kováříková holds a master’s degree in screenwriting and dramaturgy from Prague’s FAMU.
2022 – Czech Lion Awards: nomination in the short film category for “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”
Czech Lion Awards: nomination in the Magnesia Student Film category for “Still Awake?” (screenplay)
Czech Film Critics’ Awards – nomination for the short film “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”
Young Film Fest – winner in the 9-11 years category for “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”
Famufest’s Best Unrealized Screenplay award for screenplay “Moravská odysea”

Adam Struhala is studying the screenwriting and dramaturgy master’s program at Prague’s FAMU.
2022 – Czech Lion Awards: nomination in the short film category for “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”
Czech Film Critics’ Awards – nomination for the short film “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”
Young Film Fest – winner in the 9-11 years category “The Glory of Terrible Eliz”

“The Hour Between Dog and Wolf,” feature film by Terézia Halamová
The film closely follows a group of five male strippers on their annual tour through the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Their dynamic nightly performances are interwoven with everyday scenes of small towns. For Rudo, the youngest of the group, dancing is the purest phenomenon that he knows in a life full of misunderstanding and helplessness. The group is falling apart and is confronted with only two extreme attitudes from the audience – either absolute desire or endless contempt. Rudo has the hardest time coming to terms with his inability to control the events around him, and is on a journey to discover what he can truly have power over. He plunges into a world seemingly full of possibilities, but only finds people disinterested in his presence. His heart is broken by his own naivety, and a childlike sulking makes him question the meaning of doing good.

Creator’s Bio
As a student of directing at FAMU in Prague, Terézia Halamová is involved with both fiction and documentary film projects. In addition to assisting on various sets, she has worked on her short films in collaboration with Czech Television.
2019 – Winner of the Akcelerátor competition in cooperation with Czech Television
2020 – Winner of the Papaya Young Directors Competition.
2020 – Jury Prize for the film “Sing for Us” at the International Kinoproba Festival.
New Talent Europe and the best cinematography awards at the Zubroffka Festival.
Best film award in the Short Film Competition at the KameraOko festival.
Award for best film in the PragueShorts Short Film Competition.
Award for best film in Short Film Competition Vilnius Film Festival.

“Don’t Light My Fire,” short mockumentary by David Payne and Tomáš Navrátil
A mockumentary about the environmentalist group Anti-metheus, which seeks to put an end to the use of fossil fuels in a rather unusual way: by returning fire back to the gods. Throwing torches into the air seems silly at first, but to everyone’s surprise, the activists actually succeed one day. From that moment on, however, they too must face the catastrophic consequences of their ill-conceived plan.

Creators’ Bio
David Payne moved from studying archaeology to directing at FAMU, where he made the short films “Filip Is Celebrating” (2017), “Wild Game” (2019), “Fundamentals of Art” (2021) and “Still Awake?” (2021). He is now working on the educational series “Koumando” (2022) for ČT D, the children’s channel of Czech Television.

Tomas Navratil is studying production at FAMU.

“Give It Take It,” an animated web series by Michael Přibil, Matouš Valchář, Karel Větrovský.
A diverse bunch of people share the rent in two apartments in a Prague building. The first apartment is inhabited by two long-time friends; in the second one there’s a rather random group of roommates who don’t have enough money to pay rent on their own. Some have just finished or are finishing up college, others are already working. They share a similar lifestyle that includes the recreational use of a wide range of drugs and a certain free-spiritedness that manifests itself in open sexual relations and a spontaneity that often leads to unexpected situations. However, this lifestyle is beginning to clash with the feeling among some of them that it’s time to grow up.

Creators’ Bio
Michael Přibil graduated in Film Studies from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University. He currently works at Czech Television as a program editor. He has a wide range of experience in film production, having worked in various positions (from extra, set designer, runner to production assistant) at companies such as Sirena Film and Film United. He writes film scripts in his spare time.

Matouš Valchář graduated from the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen with a bachelor’s degree in animation and interactive production. He also holds a master’s degree in film and television graphics from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. His achievements include winning the main student prize at Animafest Zagreb 2019 and New Chitose Airport International Animation Festival in Japan for his puppet film “After” (co-written by Karel Větrovský) and the main prize at Bizárfest for the film “Red and Blue in the Church.” Most of his films have been selected for European festivals dedicated to animation and short film (Annecy, Corto Imola Festival, Anifilm, Fest Anča and others). He works with puppets not only in animation, but also in theater productions and in the multimedia project Televize Estráda. His puppet show “Luna” is currently showing at the Švandovo Theater in Prague. As an animator, he is also involved in the making of Kristina Dufková’s feature film “Living Large.”

Karel Větrovský graduated in sociology from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University and in management from the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Economics in Prague. He gained experience in film production at FilmBrigade and Wet Cat Pictures, working as a production assistant and helping with alternative distribution strategies for independent documentaries. He currently works as a web and content analyst for a Czech media company, where he selects key content and thematic focus for their internet users.

“Sunny Boys,” feature film by Jan Kubíček, Alice Krajčírová
Thirty-year-old Jiří is a disillusioned dreamer who is gradually becoming more and more sociopathic, trying unsuccessfully to break into the music industry. He is most fascinated by boy bands because he naively believes in their unbreakable collective friendship. After failing to survive in Prague and bombing at a singing competition, he receives the sudden news of his grandfather’s death and returns to his provincial hometown, where he inherits a house and a sizable sum of money. This inheritance gives him a new plan to turn his dreams into reality. He turns the basement of the house into a rehearsal room, and, thanks to a series of coincidences, manages to kidnap three young men, Dominik, Sen and Antonín. Inside the house, he then plans to form a boyband and record a demo with them. The abductees are initially resistant to his plan and focus on their own problems, but gradually they start to like something about Jiří’s idea. The police try to find out what is behind the trio of sudden disappearances, but are unable to find any clues. But, even without their help, the prisoners eventually manage to escape and Jiří ends up in a mental hospital. The three men, however, uncover the mystery of Jiří’s past and visit him again, this time perhaps giving sense to the project after all.

Creators’ Bio
Jan Kubíček first studied graphic design, then intermedia, and has a master’s degree in photography. He now works full time as a projectionist at FAMU. In 2020, he founded his own visual project “Graffiti Repairs,” dealing with technical visual signage. Together with a New York-based artist and producer known as Sporting Life, they created a short film called “Ghost Story,” in which they work with various spatial graffiti repair objects in a virtual reality environment.

Alice Krajčířová graduated from the Department of Scriptwriting and Dramaturgy at FAMU. Films based on her short scripts have screened at SOHO, BFI Flare, Palm Springs ISF, SAPPORO, Image+nation, Reeling and others. She has collaborated with Marek Čermák on the script for his feature film “Domovina,” and has also worked on the experimental short film “Fata Morgana,” directed by artist and photographer Veronika Čechmánková. She is now working with Ondřej Moravec on a short interactive animated VR project called “Darkness.” Her most recent scriptwriting work is for a video art installation by the winner of the 2021 Jindřich Chalupecký Award, artist Jakub Jansa, commissioned by the nascent Museum of Literature in Prague.

“K-point,” music video, short and feature film by Šimon Šafránek
Lída was born in the Giant Mountains of the Czech Republic. She is 14 years old and loves ski jumping. Fanda is 17 and is a newcomer to the mountains. He used to jump just because it was the only fun he could have with his friends. Now he’s tired of it and only wants to ride his enduro. His dad regrets this, as Fanda’s success could help save the slowly crumbling local ski jumping hills. But Fanda hates his parents and their world. He destroys the landing hill with his enduro bike – no one’s gonna jump here anymore! Lída is sad to see this and Fanda feels embarrassed, so he at least gives her a ride on the enduro. She likes it. Gradually, a friendship develops and inevitably grows into love, which is against the rules considering Lída’s age.

Creator’s Bio
Šimon Šafránek is a director, writer and journalist. His documentary “King Skate” (2018) won the Czech Lion Award and the Best Skateboard Documentary Award at the Paris Surf and Skateboard Film Festival (2019), and his documentary “Meky” (2020) about singer Miro Zbirka won the Audience Award at the Tady Vary 2020 festival. “Rapstory” (2021), his online docu-series commissioned by Czech Television, premiered at KVIFF in 2021. He has made numerous music videos for Czech and foreign bands, the music documentary “Zěmě revivalů” (2016) and the music TV series “Kombo and Apollo.” He wrote the novel “Fleischerei 36” (2008) and the novella “23” (2005). As a film and cultural journalist, Šafránek has contributed to most Czech print and digital media.

“I Will Drive You Yesterday,” VR narrative game by Kateřina Hanáčková
A narrative virtual reality game about saving the world through time travel. The game is a first-person adventure set in a fictional western metropolis. The player controls Karin, a professional taxi driver who is approached one day by her future self and tasked with changing a series of events in order to prevent the environmental collapse of the world.

Creator’s Bio
Kateřina Hanáčková is a game designer and creator of virtual reality experiences. She places a strong emphasis on storytelling and the innovative use of interactive mechanics as narrative elements. As part of her game design studies at FAMU, she creates small-scale, non-profit games. Nevertheless, she was lucky enough to find a partner and producer for her next dream project – the Prague-based Brainz Immersive studio, where she works as a creative director of commercial projects.

“Orla,” experimental fairy tale by Marie Lukáčová
An experimental fairy tale exploring the relationship between nature and artificial intelligence as one possible way out of a globalized and hierarchical society. The plot brings us to a society surrounded and isolated by nature. Here, people live around a castle that demonstrates the superiority of those who inhabit it. The main character is a 16-year-old girl, Jasna, endowed with the power of critical thinking, which brings her into conflict with authority. The ruler, Volk, condemns her to a difficult path from which there is no return… The film aims to break down stereotypical ideas based on unequal arrangements and oppression. “Orla” combines live-action scenes with animation and a 3D interface.

Creator’s Bio
Marie Lukáčová is a visual artist working primarily in the medium of video and video installation. Her films reimagine characters borrowed from politics, mythology, geology or science and travel across different dimensions of time and space, addressing the issues of an uncertain future through specific narratives and poetics.

Selected works:
“Skuzomeetzah” (14. min., 2019) – Finalist of the 2019 Jindřich Chalupecký Award
“Pole Žin” (8 min., 2019)
“Milena’s Song,” (8 min., 2019) – Honorable Mention, Ecumenical Jury, Oberhausen Kurtz Film Festival
“Moréna Rex” (11 min., 2019) – Best Experimental Film Award – Ji.hlava Documentary Film Festival

“You Can Tell Us,” feature film by David Semler
Ben and his Colombian partner Miguel are planning to start a family, but adoption by a gay couple is not possible in the Czech Republic. In addition, finding a surrogate mother is not only illegal but also very expensive. Ben’s older sister Adéla, on the other hand, doesn’t want children, but the rest of the family demands them of her. When Adéla’s negative attitude towards children might cause her to lose the farm that her grandmother would otherwise have left her, she decides to have a child with the plan to hand it over to her brother afterwards. However, the conservative family must not know about the agreement, at least not until the farm ownership is passed over to Adéla. But when her ex-boyfriend returns to her, thinking he is the child’s father, Ben and Miguel begin to realize that they might lose the child. Is Adéla really determined to give the baby up? And how would Miguel act if he had to choose between Ben and his child?

Creator’s Bio
David Semler studied screenwriting and dramaturgy at FAMU. During his studies, he wrote and directed the short film “Must Be Painful,” which was selected for more than 20 film festivals, won the French-German ARTE channel’s award for best student short film, and was also nominated for the Magnesia Student Award at the Czech Lion Awards. He is currently involved in the development of two other projects as writer and director: the five-part crime miniseries “Studna” for Luminarfilm; and the dramedy series “This Is Just the Beginning,” which is being developed for the German production company Intaglio Films. He is also collaborating on several other projects as a screenwriter: the feature-length drama “Neposlušné děti” (directed by Luboš Kučera), the feature-length adaptation of the play “Ledoví koně” (Luminarfilm, directed by Dodo Gombár), and the comedy audio series “Holubník” (Audiotéka).

“Pig Slaughter,” feature film by Adam Martinec and Matěj Paclík
An old homestead is the site of an annual pig slaughter. It’s the only day when the whole family gets together to have fun, complain a little, eat, drink and basically enjoy themselves. Life’s dramas, big and small, pop up around every corner. Fortunately, no one knows yet that the butcher is hiding the fact that his ammunition has gone wet. Grandpa is nervous all day and doesn’t know how to tell Karl that this slaughter is the last, because the ritual is more important than ever to the widower in question. Lucie’s marriage is falling apart, Romana misses her mother and Dušík lacks a real role model. After Karel slips up and spills all the pig’s blood, it’s uncertain whether the slaughter will be a success.

Creator’s Bio
Adam Martinec has made several short films, the most successful of which so far include “Sugar and Salt” (2018), which toured film festivals around the world and collected several awards, and “Anatomy of a Czech Afternoon” (2020), which won the Magnesia Award for Best Student Film and the Czech Lion Award for Best Short Film.