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British director Ken Loach and his longtime screenwriting partner Paul Laverty are to be honored with Crystal Globes for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at the 52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this summer.
Loach and Laverty have a lifelong commitment to powerful polemical films with strong humanitarian messages, most recently seen in Cannes Palm d’Or and BAFTA award-winning I, Daniel Blake — a searing story set within Britain’s de-humanizing and cruel system of state social welfare.
Loach has long had close ties with the festival, based in the Czech Republic’s Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary. In 1968, at the 16th edition of the festival Carol White won best actress for her performance in his film Poor Cow; the film also picked up a special jury award.
In 1970 Loach personally accepted an award at the 17th edition of the festival — which was, as part of the communist Eastern Bloc, then a biannual event alternating every other year with the Moscow Film Festival — for Kes, the story of a poor, lonely and bullied schoolboy who finds solace in caring for a young injured sparrow hawk he finds and nurses back to health. The film has been included in the British Film Institute’s list of the best 10 British films of the 20th century.
Loach, who first came to wide attention for his uncompromising portrayal of poverty and homelessness in his 1966 British BBC television play Cathy Come Home, returned to Karlovy Vary in one of its first post-communist editions in 1992; his and Laverty’s work is often included in festival selections.
Laverty, whose career before turning to screenwriting included working as a lawyer in Scotland and a human rights worker in Central America, has written scripts for 12 of Loach’s features (including I, Daniel Blake) and two of his short films. His awards include a Cannes win for best screenwriter for Loach’s Sweet Sixteen, Golden Palms for The Wind That Shakes the Barley and I, Daniel Blake.
In other awards and retrospectives announced by the festival Tuesday, composer James Newton Howard, who wrote the music for films that include Pretty Woman, The Sixth Sense and Batman Begins — as well as all four parts of The Hunger Games — will be awarded a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema.
There will be a special screening of a newly restored and digitalized copy of the famous 1965 Czech New Wave film The Shop on Main Street, directed by Jan Kadar and Elma Klos and a retrospective of the work of Japanese master filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi, selected by British writer, film critic and curator Tony Rayns.
The festival’s now famous annual trailer, which will be presented at the opening of the 52nd annual festival, features Czech acting legend Josef Somr. This film and theater actor was the winner of the KVIFF President’s Award in 2012.
The 52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs June 30-July 8.
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