The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2014 (4-12 July)
Seven world and five international premieres will compete for the Crystal Globe at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, including new features from George Ovashvili and Gyorgy Palfi.
Another twelve films take part in the East of the West Competition, which again showcases debut and sophomore features from the region, and it kicks off with the world premiere of Virág Zomborácz’s ‘Afterlife’.
Zdeněk Jiráský’s keenly anticipated ‘In Silence’, the follow up to his Czech Lion winner and festival hit, ‘Flower Buds’, is amongst the out of competition world premieres.
An impressive list of personal appearances sees Alice Rohrwacher, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Pawel Pawlikowski, Debra Granik, David Mackenzie and Asia Argento all present their latest features.
Xavier Dolan’s Cannes jury prize winner, ‘Mommy’, and its predecessor, ‘Tom at the Farm’ lead a seven strong Canadian contingent and they both screen in the Horizons section.
And Mel Gibson will receive an outstanding contribution award.
Nariman Turebayev has had reasonable exposure on the festival circuit from his first two features, ‘Malenkie lyudi’ and ‘Sunny Days’, including two Locarno Golden Leopard nominations, but only limited theatrical distribution. It’s difficult to see that pattern changing with his follow up, an idiosyncratic musical adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s early short story, ‘White Nights’. The tale of a nondescript man’s unrequited love for a young woman missing a former lover has already attracted, amongst many others, Luchino Visconti, Robert Bresson and James Gray.
Corn Island (Simindis kundzuli)
George Ovashvili’s latest feature, ‘Corn Island’, is set in the contested borderlands between Abkhazia and Georgia. The corn island of the film’s title lies within the Inguri River, and an old man and his daughter are its only occupiers until a border policeman arrives. It’s the keenly awaited follow up to Ovashvili’s multiple winning festival hit, ‘The Other Bank’ (‘Gagma napiri’).
Andrea Sedlackova has made his name editing and received a César nomination for Philippe Lioret’s ‘Welcome’ five years ago. With drugs abuse still plaguing international sport, Sedlackova returns to 1980’s Eastern Europe for his third feature behind the camera, ‘Fair Play’, when steroids formed part of the standard training programme. A potentially stirring plot has a mother and coach conspiring to apply performance enhancing drugs to a young athlete against her will.
Free Fall (Szabadeses)
Innovative Hungarian filmmaker, György Pálfi, returns to Karlovy Vary where he competed for the Crystal Globe with the improvised ‘I Am Not Your Friend’ (‘Nem vagyok a barátod’) five years ago. His latest film, ‘Free Fall’ (‘Szabadeses’) once again receives an international premiere, and it depicts seven disturbing stories witnessed by a lady climbing a building. Pálfi remains best known for his first two features, ‘Hukkle’ and ‘Taxidermia’.
I’m Yours(Je Suis a Toi)
After exploring a challenging relationship during his debut feature, ‘Beyond the Walls’, which premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week, David Lambert does the same with his follow-up, ‘I’m Yours’ (‘Je Suis a Toi’). This time a Belgian baker rescues an Argentinian escort from the streets but expects too much commitment by return. Picking up on a familiar contemporary theme, the couple first met on the Internet.
Cinematographer and experimental filmmaker, Jeff Preiss, made his debut feature with ‘Low Down’, which premiered in competition at this year’s Sundance. It’s a biopic on the talented but largely unknown jazz musician, Joe Albany, who, unlike some of his contemporaries, could not progress a musical career alongside serious drug addiction. Preiss assembled a particularly strong cast, including John Hawkes, Elle Fanning and Glenn Close.
Nowhere in Moravia (Dira u Hanusovic)
Miroslav Krobot is a theatre director and actor best known to filmgoers for playing the lead in Béla Tarr’s ‘The Man from London’. This is his debut feature – although he has directed TV work – and Tatiana Vilhelmová (‘The Idiot Returns’, ‘Something Like Happiness’) plays a barkeeper looking for companionship within rural Czech Republic. It’s a comedy drama with Krobot co-writing the script himself.
Paris of the North
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson is best known for collaborating with David Gordon Green on Berlin Silver Bear winner, ‘Prince Avalanche’. Green based it on Sigurðsson’s debut film ‘Either Way’, and the Icelandic filmmaker co-wrote the script. Sigurðsson now returns with his second feature, ‘Paris of the North’, which depicts a difficult relationship between a teacher and his reformed alcoholic father.
Patchwork Family (Du goudron et des plumes)
Pascal Rabaté returns to Karlovy Vary where he picked up best director for ‘Holidays by the Sea’ three years ago. His follow up, ‘Patchwork Family’ (‘Du goudron et des plumes’) is a comedy drama starring Sami Bouajila (‘Days of Glory’) and Isabelle Carré (‘Anna M.’, ‘Beautiful Memories’) and features a divorced father whose life changes dramatically after meeting a single mother and entering a popular TV competition show. It receives a world premiere just ahead of its theatrical launch in France.
Perpetual Sadness (La Tirisia)
Jorge Perez Solano
Jorge Perez Solano (‘Espiral’) is from the second group of Mexican new wave directors making their mark on world cinema but it’s over twenty years since his first short. His second feature, ‘Perpetual Sadness’ (‘La Tirisia’) is set within a small village where two women find themselves pregnant by the same man in a Carlos Reygadas type set up. Gustavo Sánchez Parra picked up best actor when the film screened at the Guadalajara Mexican Film Festival earlier this year.
Rocks in My Pockets
Signe Baumane has established her reputation with many animation shorts since 2003, culminating in the Berlin nominated ‘Birth’. Continuing with animation for her first feature, ‘Rocks in My Pockets’, she tackles the challenging subject of mental illness and genetics based on the filmmaker’s own family. Baumane is already in post-production on another animation feature, ‘The Golden Horse’, adapted from Janis Rainis’ play of the same name.
Angelina Nikonova’s festival hit, ‘Twilight Portrait’, earned her a Discovery of the Year nomination at the European Film Awards. Her sophomore feature, ‘Welkome Home’, is a potentially intriguing black comedy that follows various Russians who moved to New York chasing the American Dream. Nikonova continues her collaboration with Olga Dykhovichnaya, who co-wrote and starred in both films.
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‘Corn Island’, the third feature from Georgian filmmaker, George Ovashvili, has won the Crystal Globe at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It’s the follow up to his multiple winning festival hit, ‘The Other Bank’, and unfolds on a small river island within the contested borderlands between Abkhazia and Georgia. Turkish veteran, Ilyas Salman, leads the cast, playing an old man who occupies the island with his daughter until the arrival of a border policeman changes the dynamic. The award carries a cash prize of $25,000 with the filmmaker and producer receiving half each.
It was also an excellent night for Gyorgy Palfi’s surreal ‘Free Fall’, which picked up the special jury prize, best director and the Europa Cinemas Label Award. The innovative Hungarian filmmaker, best known for ‘Hukkle’ and ‘Taxidermia’, depicts seven disturbing episodes that a lady witnesses whilst climbing a multi-story building.
The FIPRESCI prize – international critics – went to Signe Baumane’s ‘Rocks in My Pockets’, an animated feature tackling the challenging subject of mental illness and genetics based on the filmmaker’s own family.
Klass Korrektsii’s debut film, ‘Corrections Class’, focusing on institutional prejudice against a disabled girl, won the East of the West Award.
And the top documentary award went to Teodora Ana Mihai’s child poverty feature, ‘Waiting for August’.
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE ($25 000)
Corn Island / Simindis kundzuli
Directed by: George Ovashvili. Georgia, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, 2014
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE ($15 000)
Free Fall / Szabadesés
Directed by: György Pálfi , Hungary, France, South Korea, 2014
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
György Pálfi for the film Free Fall / Szabadesés
Hungary, France, South Korea, 2014
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Elle Fanning for her role in the film Low Down
Directed by: Jeff Preiss USA, 2014
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart for his role in the film All Yours / Je suis à toi
Directed by: David Lambert ,Belgium, Canada, 2014
EAST OF THE WEST AWARD ($20 000)
Corrections Class / Klass korrektsii
Directed by: Ivan I. Tverdovsky Russia, Germany, 2014
Barbarians / Varvari
Directed by: Ivan Ikić, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, 2014
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM OVER 60MINS ($5 000)
Waiting for August
Directed by: Teodora Ana Mihai, Belgium, 2014
Steadiness / Sitzfleisch
Directed by: Lisa Weber ,Austria, 2014
BEST DOCUMENTARY UNDER 30MINS ($5 000)
Directed by: Boris Poljak , Croatia, 2013
The Queen / La reina
Directed by: Manuel Abramovich, Argentina, 2013
FORUM OF INDEPENDENTS AWARD
The winning film will be purchased by Czech Television for the flat fee of 5000 EUR.
Anywhere Else / Anderswo
Directed by: Ester Amrami, Germany, 2014
The Magic Voice of a Rebel / Magický hlas rebelky
Directed by: Olga Sommerová, Czech Republic, 2014
CRYSTAL GLOBE FOR OUTSTANDING ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA
Mel Gibson, USA
William Friedkin, USA
FESTIVAL PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO CZECH CINEMATOGRAPHY
Zdeněk Svěrák, Czech Republic
The non-statutory jury awards were also announced in a ceremony earlier in the day:
AWARD OF INTERNATIONAL FILM CRITICS (FIPRESCI)
Rocks in My Pockets/ Rocks in My Pockets
Directed by: Signe Baumane USA, Latvia, 2014
THE ECUMENICAL JURY AWARD
Winner: Corn Island / Simindis kundzuli
Directed by: George Ovashvili, Georgia, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, 2014
Special Mention: Rocks in My Pockets
Directed by: Signe Baumane USA, Latvia, 2014
FEDEORA AWARD (FOR THE BEST FILM FROM EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION)
Winner: Bota / Bota
Directed by: Iris Elezi, Thomas Logoreci, Albania, Italy, Kosovo, 2014
Special Mention: Correction Class / Klass korrektsii
Directed by: Ivan I. Tverdovsky Russia, Germany, 2014
EUROPA CINEMAS LABEL AWARD
Directed by: György Pálfi Hungary, France, South Korea, 2014
OFFICIAL SELECTION – COMPETITION
“Adventure,” Nariman Turebayev (Kazakhstan, France) World premiere
“Dira u Hanusovic” (Nowhere in Moravia), Miroslav Krobot (Czech Republic) World premiere
“Du goudron et des plumes” (Patchwork Family), Pascal Rabate (France) World premiere
“Fair Play,” Andrea Sedlackova (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Germany) International premiere
“Je Suis a Toi” (I’m Yours), David Lambert (Belgium) World premiere
“Low Down,” Jeff Preiss (U.S.) International premiere
“Paris of the North,” Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Iceland) World premiere
“Rocks in My Pockets,” Signe Baumane (U.S., Latvia) World premiere
“Simindis kundzuli” (Corn Island), George Ovashvili (Georgia, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan) World premiere
“Szabadeses” (Free Fall), Gyorgy Palfi (Hungary, France, South Korea) International premiere
“La Tirisia” (Perpetual Sadness), Jorge Perez Solano (Mexico) International premiere
“Welkome Home,” Angelina Nikonova (Russia) International premiere
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
“Axınla Asagı” (Down the River), Asif Rustamov (Azerbaijan) World premiere
“Bota,” Iris Elezi, Thomas Logoreci (Albania, Italy) World premiere
“Drevo” (The Tree), Sonja Prosenc (Slovenia) World premiere
“Kebab & Horoscope,” Grzegorz Jaroszuk (Poland) World premiere
“Kirsitubakas” (Cherry Tobacco), Andres Maimik, Katrin Maimik (Estonia) World premiere
“Klass korrekcii” (Corrections Class), Ivan Tverdovsky (Russia, Germany) International premiere
“Norviyia” (Norway), Yannis Veslemes (Greece) World premiere
“Rozkos” (Delight), Jitka Rudolfova (Czech Republic) International premiere
“Spomenik Majklu Dzeksonu” (Monument to Michael Jackson), Darko Lungulov (Serbia, Germany, Macedonia, Croatia) International premiere
“Utoelet” (Afterlife), Virag Zomboracz (Hungary) World premiere
“VAN Valami Furcsa es Megmagyarazhatatlan” (For Some Inexplicable Reason), Gabor Reisz (Hungary) World premiere
“Varvari” (Barbarians), Ivan Ikic (Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia) World premiere