'Little Crusader' Wins Karlovy Vary Grand Prix

Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
'Little Crusader'

Czech director Valclav Kadrnka's film, a psychological drama set in the past, stars Karel Roden.

Vaclav Kadrnka's Little Crusader won the Grand Prix on the closing Saturday of the 52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The psychological drama stars Karel Roden as a knight forced to confront his own deepest inner fears when his young son goes missing after running away from home inspired by stories of the Crusades.

It is the first time in 15 years that the festival's famous Crystal Globe for best film has gone to a Czech movie. Kadrnka's film, a co-production with Slovakia and Italy, is based on an adaptation of a poem by Jaroslav Vrchilicky.

The last time a Czech director won the Crystal Globe was Petr Zelenka in 2002 for Year of the Devil, a film within a film about a Czech rock band.

The $25,000 prize money, in common with other Karlovy Vary festival awards, will be shared between the pic's producer and director, fest organizers said in a statement.

A special jury prize worth $15,000 went to Bosnian helmer Alen Drljevic's Men Don’t Cry, about a group of Yugoslav civil war veterans who gather 20 years after the end of the conflict for a period of intensive trauma therapy.

Best director honors went to Slovakia's Peter Bebjak for The Line, a drama about a cigarette smuggling syndicate that works the Ukrainian border with Slovakia.

Best actress honors were jointly shared by Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire for their roles in Polish feature Birds Are Singing in Kigali from Joana Kos-Krauze and her husband Krzyszstof Krauze, who died during the shooting, with his wife completing the film.

Alexander Yatsenko was tapped as best actor for his role in Russian director Boris Khlebnikov's Arrhythmia.

A special jury mention for best first feature went to Rachel Israel's touching story of an autistic couple finding love, Keep the Change. The film, which also picked up a FIPRESCI award, earned an enthusiastic standing ovation from more than 2,000 viewers when it screened in the festival's grand hall.

Romanian actress Voica Oltean also earned a special mention for best newcomer for her part in Iulia Rugina's Breaking News.

Russian filmmaker Alexander Hant's gloriously titled How Viktor "the Garlic" Took Alexey "the Stud" to the Nursing Home earned the top prize in the festival's Eastern Europe-focused competition East of the West. A special jury prize was awarded to Georgian tyro director Mariam Khatchvani's Dede, an enchanting story of a disappearing way of life set in a mountain community.

Best documentary honors went to Spanish helmer Gustavo Salmeron's Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle, while Atelier de conversation by Austrian director Behnhad Braunstein received a special jury prize.

The event's popular audience prize went to Taylor Sheridan's Indian reservation murder thriller Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner, who was in Karlovy Vary to receive the fest's President's Award on Saturday night.