Karlovy Vary Wrap-Up: Celebrating Half A Century Of The Czech Fest

Contributor; Slovakia (@martykudlac)
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival successfully wrapped last week in the Czech spa town, celebrating its 50th anniversary: a true milestone amongst film festivals.

In total the 50th edition of the festival screened 226 films for 135,105 viewers.

The grand jury of the fest consisted of Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, Russian filmmaker Angelina Nikonova, Icelandic-American actor, producer and screenwriter Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, the founder and president of Celluloid Dreams, Hengameh Panahi and Senior Vice President for HBO Europe, Ondřej Zach. They awarded the Grand Prix - Crystal Globe to the American independent film Bob and the Trees by Diego Ongaro. The film follows the titular 50 year old logger and rap aficionado trying to make his way in life. The Special Jury Prize went to Austrian director Peter Brunner´s drama about mourning, Those Who Fall Have Wings.

Check the gallery below for further awards coverage and capsule reviews of selected films from the festival´s line-up.

The Rest Of The Awards

Kosovo-born director Visar Morina left the Czech spa town with the Best Director Award for his feature debut Babai. The film was also given the Europa Cinemas Label Award for its "moving yet brutally honest story of a ten year old boy searching for his father who has abandoned him for a new life in Germany." Curiously enough, the two awards for the best performance went to local Czech films. Alena Mihulová won the Best Actress Award for Home Care, about a self-sacrificing nurse coming to terms with her illness. Kryštof Hádek took the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of the irresponsible Cobra in Jan Prušinovský´s drama The Snake Brothers. The second entry in Anca Damian´s heroic trilogy, Magic Mountain and Italian biopic Antonia by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino both earned special jury mentions.

The debut feature by Hungarian director Lilly Horváth, The Wednesday Child, came on top of the East of the West competition while sharing the FEDEORA Award with Mirlan Abdykalykov´s Heavenly Nomadic. The Wednesday Child revolves around Maja who " is in debt, has just lost her new job and the custody of her son. Only her self-confidence and street smartness keep her from loosing faith and going crazy." Heavenly Nomadic was praised by the FEDEORA jury as "a film in the great tradition of ecological masterpieces, it depicts a family in a far-off country trying to survive the encroachment of so-called civilization with humor, warmth and perception." Romanian drama The World is Mine by debutant Nicolae Constantin Tănase received special jury mention, the film tells the story "of Larisa, a teenager who lives in a small town near the Black Sea. She is expelled from school after getting into a fight with the ex-girlfriend of the boy she's madly in love with, Florin, the town's Don Juan. Running away from home, Larisa will soon be forced to make a decision regarding her future."

Domestic production excelled again in the documentary section as the award for the best documentary film over 60 minutes went to lauded Czech filmmaker Helena Třeštíková for her latest outing, the time-lapse documentary Mallory, a 13 year study of the titular protagonist struggling with drug addiction, pregnancy and homelessness. Chilean director Roberto Collío won the best documentary under 30 minutes for White Death, "the impressionist portrait of a landscape marked by tragedy. A ghostly stroll among the vestiges of a story where forty-four young soldiers and one sergeant were pushed to their deaths in the mountainous Antuco."

Shot entirely on the iPhone, Sean Baker´s micro-budgeted miracle Tangerine, about transgender prostitutes in L.A. won the Forum of Independents Award while festival attendees decided to that Paolo Sorrentino´s latest, Youth, deserved the Audience Award. The FIPRESCI jury praised Romanian director Florin Şerban´s drama Box for „precisely expressed state of mind of his characters in our non-predictable presence and future and contributed again perfectly to the new Romanian cinema" before handing him the Award of International Film Critics.

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