The International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary is Just around the Corner

The International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary is Just around the Corner

The largest gathering of film professionals and enthusiasts in the Czech Republic will take place July 4 to 12 in the midst of the beautiful spas of West Bohemia, and with Mel Gibson in attendance!

The combination of summer, the spas and the magic of the silver screen make the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is one of the category A festivals, a truly unique experience. Thanks to its one-of-a-kind atmosphere, thousands of film fans flock to it every year for a chance to catch a glimpse of interesting Czech and world features, jazzing up the life of the colonnade in the center of the city with their enthusiasm. The festival is much appreciated because of its special atmosphere: here you'll meet the biggest stars on the red carpet, but also students with backpacks and sleeping bags.

Lech Walesa and the director of The French Connection are coming

This year's 49th anniversary will once again bring a plethora of new notable films. The festival opens with the international premiere of the American picture I Origins, which will be personally introduced in Karlovy Vary by the leading actor Michael Pitt, director Mike Cahill and actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey. At the closing ceremony, the audience hit of this year's festival in Cannes, the Argentinean black comedy Wild tales produced by the Almodóvar brothers, will be screened.

A dozen titles will be featured in the main part of the competition, seven in their global premier and five in their international premiere. There will also be two Czech films among them – Fair Play and Tomorrow Forever – and, for the first time ever, an animated film, the work of the Latvian director Signe Baumane, hiding under the name of Rocks in my Pockets.

The big attraction is undoubtedly the participation of former Polish President Lech Walesa, who will come to Karlový Vary on the occasion of the director's cut of the film Walesa. Man of Hope, which tells the story of his life. Walesa is played in the film by actor Robert Więckiewicz, who will also be a guest of the festival. The Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema will be received by the American director William Friedkin, famous for the films The French Connection and The Exorcist. He will present the restored version of The Wages of Fear, an important film in the history of cinematography.

The long history of the Karlovy Vary film festival

The Karlovy Vary Film Festival is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. It was held for the first time in 1946. During the four decades of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the festival was under political pressure to fulfil the ideological notions of the top echelons of the regime.

After the fall of communism, the festival spent a few years searching for its identity and had to fight the public’s indifference. A positive turnaround was brought about with the advent of a new organizational team (since 1994), led by the Czech actor Jiří Bartoška and experienced film critic Eva Zaoralová. The stagnating film festival was transformed into an important cultural and social forum of international importance, which, through its dynamic conception, has also managed to attract young people, for whom the festival has achieved cult status.