The Karlovy Vary IFF will present an impressive collection of the awarded films from the Cannes festival in its traditional Open Eyes section. These include the winners of the Grand Prix and Best Screenplay, the Jury Prize and Best Actress including the French film Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux) from director Xavier Beauvois, which took the Grand Prix, i.e. the festival’s “silver medal.” Focusing on a clash between Christian monks and Islamic radicals, this powerful, unsentimental film portrays the true story of seven Trappist monks that were abducted in Algeria in 1996.
A Screaming Man (Un homme qui crie) from Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, the first ever entry from Chad in the Cannes competition that takes place against the backdrop of a brutal military conflict between insurgents and the army. From the Cannes competition, Karlovy Vary will also screen Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus (Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie), by Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, as well as You, My Joy (Schastye moye), from Ukrainian director Sergey Loznitsa.
From Un Certain Regard section, the Jury Prize-winning Peruvian picture October (Octubre) and the enchanting romantic comedy Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaires) by young Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan.
In addition to this, EFP is presenting “Variety Critics’ Choice: Europe Now!” at the Festival. Ten young European directors present their films to the invitation of European Film Promotion (EFP) and KVIFF in sold out performances at one of the festival’s most popular sidebars. The Variety Choices has TWO women directors represented among them, Mona Achache. That’s 20% which leaves room for more conscious choices made by the selection committee whose predominant gender we won’t investigate here. (But it is higher than the Cannes Competition). The selection is made by critics from the international trade magazine Variety. The MEDIA Programme of the EU and the ten participating EFP member organisations are supporting the event. This year again sees Cinemax of HBO in the Czech Republic serving as a main sponsor. Alissa Simon is the Variety liaison for the Variety Critics’ Choice sidebar at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and Press contact in Karlovy Vary is Radovan Holub, e-mail: holub AT investtel.cz, Mobile: +420 723- 667 835. Contacts for EFP are Jo Mühlberger, Project Director, e-mail: muehlberger AT efp-online.com, Tel.: +49 40- 390 6252, Mareen Gerisch, Head of Press, e-mail: gerisch AT efp-online.com, Tel.: +49 40- 390 6252. Participating EFP member organisations are the British Council, Czech Film Center, ICAA/Spain, Irish Film Board, German Films, Polish Film Institute, Romanian Film Promotion, Swedish Film Institute, Swiss Films, Unifrance.
Here are the Variety Critics’ Choice: Europe Now!:
Will You Marry Us? by the young Swiss director Micha Lewinsky
The Hedgehog by debuting French filmmaker Mona Achache ♀
Reverse, a debut work by the Polish director Borys Lankosz
Medal of Honor by the Romanian director Calin Netzer.
The Be All and End All by Bruce Webb, U.K.
Friendship! by Markus Goller, Germany
Garbo: The Spy by Edmon Roch, Spain
Miss Kicki by Håkon Liu, Sweden/Taiwan
Men in Rut by Robert Sedláček, Czech Republic
Snap by Carmel Winters, Ireland ♀
Interviews with the directors have been conducted in cooperation with Cineuropa and are available at www.cineuropa.org