Karlovy Vary Film Festival Lineup Includes 'Low Down' With Elle Fanning

"Low Down" with Elle Fanning will be part of the Karlovy Vary festival lineup

Updated: The Czech fest's competition will include an animated film for the first time, and will offer seven world and five international premieres.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival unveiled its lineup in Prague Tuesday. It will for the first time ever include an animated film in its main competition.

The 49th edition of the festival, one of Europe's best-known movie showcases, includes seven world and five international premieres, including two Czech films, in the main feature competition.

Melancholic drama Low Down, by director Jeff Preiss, will be a U.S. entry at the festival. A portrayal of the carefree bohemian scene of 1970s Los Angeles, it focuses on the talent and self-destructive heroin addiction of famed jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes), seen through the eyes of his daughter Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning). Fanning is currently seen in Maleficent.

In a competition lineup strong on films from Central and Eastern Europe, New York-based Latvian filmmaker Signe Baumane’s Rocks in My Pockets -- described as a “funny film about depression” -- will be the first-ever cartoon to play in the section. The film portrays the mental illness that afflicts a family and offers a glimpse into the history of Latvia during the first half of the 20th century.

The festival attracts both Hollywood stars -- Robert De Niro, John Travolta and Sharon Stone have all been on the red carpet -- and large audiences of young people who camp out in the spa town's parks and sports grounds.

Also in the lineup, Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili (The Other Bank) brings his long-anticipated film Corn Island, a psychological drama of the intense relationship between man and nature, to the Czech Republic; Russian director Angelina Nikonova (Twilight Portrait) will introduce her second feature, Welkome Home, a bitter comedy set in an immigrant community in contemporary New York; Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi presents Free Fall, a sad and grotesque look at contemporary society, told through seven stories; and Czech actor Miroslav Krobot will screen his directorial debut, Nowhere in Moravia, a laconic rural drama with elements of dark comedy, starring Tatiana Vilhelmova, Ivan Trojan and Jaroslav Plesl.

Directors from western Europe and around the world include Belgium's David Lambert with I’m Yours, about the unlikely relationship between a restless young Argentinian man and a Belgian baker, and Icelandic filmmaker Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way), who brings Paris of the North, a rural comedy featuring an alcoholic teacher with a frivolous rocker father.

The festival's traditionally strong sidebar, East of the West, which focuses on films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and the ex-Soviet Union, opens with Afterlife, the debut of Hungarian director Virag Zomboracz, which proves that mourning one's dead father need not just be depressing.

The section also includes the world premiere of Bota, the debut of Albania's Iris Elezi and Thomas Logoreci, a San Francisco native of Albanian descent, about people inhabiting a remote cafe on the edge of a vast marsh, and the international premiere of Corrections Class, a story of the cruel world of special needs schooling, by Russian director Ivan Tverdovsky.

Said artistic director Karel Och: “This year’s selection of competing films offers an exciting mixture of outstanding films whose completion has been eagerly anticipated. Many of the filmmakers, who explore less frequently trodden paths of cinematic expression, come from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, on which the KVIFF has long focused."

Polish world sales agency New Europe Film Sales said Tuesday it had picked up two competition films: Rocks in my Pockets and Kebab & Horoscope by Grzegorz Jaroszuk, which plays in East of the Wet. Both films will have their world premieres in Karlovy Vary.

The 49th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs July 4-12.