FESTIVALS: Karlovy Vary Plays to Its CEE Strengths with Competition Line-up

The Line by Peter Bebjak The Line by Peter Bebjak

PRAGUE: The competition line-up of the 52nd Karlovy Vary IFF (30 June – 8 July 2017) underscores the festival’s position as the powerhouse gateway to Central Europe and points East. Yes, the traditional slots for long-time partner territories such as France and Germany remain firmly in place, but for festival followers, it’s the array of films from CEE territories in all three of the festival’s competition sections that make it a must-attend event on the 2017 schedule.

Case in point: the world premiere of George Ovashvili’s Khibula, his first film since his 2014 Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe winning Corn Island (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), which went on to win another 21 festival awards. Poland is represented by another Karlovy Fest winner, the late Krzysztof Krauze and his wife Joanna Kos-Krauze with the director’s final film The Birds are Singing in Kigali. For Czech and Slovak filmmakers, the festival's main competition is a highly coveted slot. This year the honours go to Czech director Vaclav Kadrnka’s musing on the search of a father for his son during the medieval chidren’s crusades, Krizacek; and to Slovak director Peter Bebjak with a contemporary tale of Slovak/Ukrainian border smuggling The Line.

The East of the West competition section, dedicated to first and second films from CEE directors, is notable for the world premieres of two Estonian films, as well as for the return of Slovak director Juraj Lehotsky, who was awarded in the same section for his 2013 debut film Miracle (Artileria). In the documentary competition, the big audience draw is expected to be The White World According to Daliborek by legendary Czech enfant terrible Vit Klusak, who will be up against a largely pan-European slate of films, including two entries from Switzerland.

Turkey also makes a strong showing with two films in the East of the West competition and a third film in the main competition. A pair of CEE’s newer and lesser-known territories, Bosnia and Herzgovina and Kosovo, show up alongside the expected entries from Romania, Croatia, Slovenia and Poland. The competition leans toward serious themes and stories: suicide, war, psychological trauma, death. In all, 12 films will screen in the main competition, 12 in the East of the West competition, and 11 in the documentary competition.

Main Competition

Arrhythmia (Russia, Finland, Germany)
Directed by Boris Khlebnikov

Birds Are Singing in Kigali (Poland)
Directed by Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze
Produced by KOSFILM Joanna Kos-Krauze
Coproduced by TVP, Odra-film, Narodowe Centrum Kultury, Studio A
Supported by the Polish Film Institute

Breaking News (Romania)
Directed by Iulia Rugină
Produced by Hai–Hui Entertainment
Coproduced by Libra Film Production
Supported by the Romanian Film Centre

The Cakemaker (Israel, Germany)
Directed by Ofir Raul Graizer

Corporate (France)
Directed by Nicolas Silhol

Keep the Change (USA)
Directed by Rachel Israel

Khibula (Georgia, Germany, France)
Directed by George Ovashvili
Produced by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Coproduced by 42film, Arizona Productions
Supported by the Georgian National Film Center

The Line (Slovakia, Ukraine)
Directed by Peter Bebjak
Produced by Wandal Production
Coproduced by RTVS, Garnet International Media Group and Home Media Production
Supported by Creative Europe MEDIA and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund

Little Crusader (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy)
Directed by Vaclav Kadrnka
Produced by Sirius Films
Coproduced by Artileria and Tempesta
Supported by the Czech State Cinematography Fund, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Apulia Film Commission and the Sardegna Film Commission

Men Don’t Cry (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany)
Directed by Alen Drljević
Produced by Deblokada Sarajevo
Coproduced by Iridium Film, This and That, Menderley Films, Produkcija Živa and Cineplanet
Supported by Foundation of Cinematography Sarajevo, Slovenian Film Centre, ZDF/Arte TV, MEDIA, Ministry of Culture and Sport of Kanton Sarajevo, CineLink Market

More (Turkey)
Directed by Onur Saylak

Ralang Road (India)
Directed by karma Takapa

East of the West Competition

Absence of Closeness (Czech Republic)
Directed by Josef Tuka
Produced by Cinema Belongs to Us
Coproduced by Magiclab

Blue Silence (Turkey, Belgium)
Directed by Bülent Öztürk

Dede (Georgia, UK)
Directed by Mariam Khatchvani
Produced by 20 Steps
Coproduced by Film and Music Entertainment, MP Film Production, Montauk Film Production, and JaJa Film Productions.
Supported by the Doha Film Institute and the Georgian National Film Centre

The End of the Chain (Estonia)
Directed by Priit Pääsuke
Produced by Alexandra Film
Coproduced by Luxfilm, Filmivabrik, Angel Films, Cineunit, 1Agentuur

Falling (Ukraine)
Directed by Marina Stepanska

How Viktor “the Garlic” Took Alex “the Stud” to the Nursing Home (Russia)
Directed by Alexander Hant

The Man Who Looks Like Me (Estonia)
Directed by Katrin Maimik, Andres Maimik
Produced by Kuukulgur Film
Coproduced by Kinosaurus Film
Supported by the Estonian Film Institute

Mariţa (Romania)
Directed by Cristi Iftime
Produced by HiFilm Productions
Coproduced by deFilm

Nina (Slovakia, Czech Republic)
Directed by Juraj Lehotský
Produced by Punkchart Films
Coproduced by endorfilm, Czech TV, Lehotsky Film, sentimentalfilm
Supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Creative Europe MEDIA, the Czech State Cinematography Fund and Bratislava Self-Governing Region

Pomegranate Orchard (Azerbaijan)
Directed by Ilgar Najaf

The Stone (Turkey)
Directed by Orhan Eskikoy

Unwanted (Kosovo, Netherlands)
Directed by Edon Rizvanolli