Karlovy Vary Festival Unveils 50th Edition Lineup, Including Nazi Satire 'Heil'

Courtesy of the Karlovy Vary film festival
Karlovy Vary

Seven world and six international premieres are set for the main competition of the Czech festival, with organizers touting it as the youngest competition lineup in the event's recent history.

The Karlovy Vary film festival, one of Europe's top international festivals, unveiled the lineup for its 50th anniversary edition on Tuesday, including a slew of world and international premieres.

The festival in the Czech Republic has a reputation for discovering new talent and attracting top Hollywood guests. Mel Gibson, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, John Travolta and Helen Mirren have all graced its red carpet.

Organizers on Tuesday in particular touted the young-skewing lineup of competition directors. "This year, we are excited to present the youngest competition lineup in the KVIFF's recent history, the average age of the filmmaker in the main festival section is 39 years old," said artistic director Karel Och.

Its main competition will screen seven world and six international premieres this year, including new films from Dietrich Brueggemann and Romanian filmmakers Anca Damian and Florian Serban, as well as the feature debut of a rising star of Italian cinema, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino.

Brueggemann (Stations of the Cross) is among a new generation of up-and-coming filmmakers showcasing their latest works at the festival, held in a historic spa town west of Prague. He will premiere his anti-Nazi film Heil, a satire on the state of today's German society.

Debut features include Polish documentary director and cinematographer Marcin Koszalkaʼs The Red Spider, a psychological thriller about what motivates a mass murderer, and Danish documentarian Daniel Dencik's Gold Coast, an original historical film about European colonialism.

Filomarino brings his feature debut to the competition lineup with Antonia, which promises insight into the life of early 20th century poet Antonia Pozzi. Romania's Damian uses a collage of animated period materials in her new film about mountaineer and photographer Adam Jacek Winkler, The Magic Mountain; and five years after his Berlin competition film If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, fellow Romanian Serban brings his drama Box, about a talented 19-year-old boxer and his relationship with an attractive actress and mother whose life has gone out of balance.

Slavek Horak's Home Care — about a care facility nurse — and Jan Prusinovsky's The Snake Brothers, the story of two poor brothers in a remote rural town, will give audiences a taste of the latest in Czech cinema.

Czech-Polish road movie Tomasz Mielnik's Journey to Rome — a comedy set on a long train trip to the Italian capital — opens the competition of the festival's key sidebar East of the West, which showcases films from central and Eastern Europe.

Popular indie section Forum of Independents opens with Brazilian filmmaker Ives Rosenfeld's Hopefuls, the tale of a young boy's dream to become a soccer star.

Meanwhile, Britain's Mark Cousins and the Czech Republic's Helena Trestikova both bring their new films to the festival's documentary competition. Cousin's I Am Belfast is a meditation on the Ulster city, while Trestikova's Mallory is a study of a mother desperately trying to kick her drug habit and stay off the streets after the birth of her son.

The 50th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs July 3-11.

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