Since 1946 the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has been attracting world-class guests and their movies. Casey Affleck is set to receive the President’s Award at this year’s event, which takes place June 30-July 8…and I’ll be there to see it as I make my first visit to this picturesque 14th century spa town. (Do you remember the 2006 movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah? It was shot there and it looks like no other place on earth.)
One thing I know for sure: there won’t be an idle moment. Every year Karlovy Vary showcases an imposing 180 new feature films, many of which are making their world, international, or European debuts. Casey Affleck is presenting his latest collaboration with writer-director David Lowery, A Ghost Story. Lowery will be in attendance with producers Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston.
Among the other notables being honored this year are British filmmaker Ken Loach, his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty and renowned composer James Newton Howard. Howard will conduct the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on opening night as they play music from his score for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He will share the podium with the great composer-conductor Carl Davis. There will be tributes to Czech cinematographer Jiří Brdečka and a digitally restored print of the Oscar-winning Czech classic The Shop on Main Street by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos.
Another highlight will be the unspooling of ten films by Japanese master Kenji Mizoguchi, selected by British film critic Tony Rayns. “At a time when film buffs are often forced to watch classic movies on screens that measure diagonally about the length of your forearm, KVIFF will provide big-screen viewing of mainly 35mm prints for another chapter in our series devoted to filmmakers who had an immense influence on the development of film culture,” said festival artistic director Karel Och. Amen to that.
More than 100,000 people attend this sprawling event, which is open to the public. To quote from a press release, “Also known as Carlsbad, the town of Karlovy Vary is located 100km from Prague in Western Bohemia—at the crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe. Its world-famous spa was founded in the 14th century and attracted European royalty, artists and composers who availed themselves of the healing thermal mineral waters.”
My wife Alice, daughter Jessie and I are excited about this adventure, our first visit to the Czech Republic and this famous festival. If you’re curious to learn more about it, click HERE