Preparations are in full swing for July's 45th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Though much is still being decided, the organisers revealed a lot on Tuesday: there are not one but two Czech films in competition, veteran director Juraj Herz will get a lifetime achievement award, and there will be special sections dedicated to the great British filmmakers Powell and Pressburger, contemporary Belgian film and Australian schlock-horror movies. I caught up with senior programmer Karel Och and asked him what he felt would be the highlights at this year’s Karlovy Vary.
“This question is always difficult to answer for someone who is part of the programme committee. We try to put the programme together in order that each one of the films is our personal film. I hope we are succeeding – the audience will have the chance to judge for themselves.
“We usually take care at this point of the retrospectives and the tribute programmes. I really look forward to the programme Tribute to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. We have six wonderful films they made under the production brand The Archers in the 1940s, like The Red Shoes, which was shown at Cannes last year in the restored version. Or A Matter of Life and Death or Black Narcissus.
“This programme is full of films which have never been shown in the Czech Republic and I look forward to seeing how the audiences will react.”
This year there are two Czech films in the main competition: 3 Seasons in Hell by Tomáš Mašín and the new Jan Svěrák film, an animated movie called Kooky. Why are there two Czech films in competition this year?
“The selection always depends on quality and whether we succeed in finding a suitable candidate for the competition. Last year as you know there were none – we were trying hard to find one, but we just didn’t find one that would meet our requirements.
“On the other hand, this year we found these extraordinary films. One is slightly older: 3 Seasons in Hell has already been released in the Czech Republic, a few months ago. Kooky is brand new. We consider them remarkable films. They are very different from one another, and we hope they will be found interesting by the jury, and by the audience as well.”
“At this moment we are still negotiating with other interesting personalities of Czech and foreign cinema, and it can’t be revealed…because it’s not confirmed yet, unfortunately.”
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