Forman film to open Karlovy Vary festival

An early film from the late director will be paired with a public concert of related music

The 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs from June 29 to July 7 in the spa town in Western Bohemia.

In a break with tradition, the opening film will be a classic rather than a new film. To honor the memory of Czech-born Miloš Forman, who died recently at the age of 86, the 1965 comedy Loves of a Blonde (Lásky jedné plavovlásky) will show on the big screen as the gala opening event.

The film was also nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe and opened a festival in New York in 1966. The film involves a jazz pianist who meets a woman in a factory town that has almost no men. But their attempted romance faces numerous and humorous complications. It is inspired by a true story.

Right after the invitational opening, outside the Thermal Hotel is an event for the wide public. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, led by Libor Pešek, will play music from Forman's Czech and American films including Amadeus and Hair, as well as music from films by Forman's friends and contemporaries.

Forman received a Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the 44th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1997.

KVIFF president Jiří Bartoška called Forman a great friend of the festival and added that foreign audiences can seldom see his early work on a big screen.

Most of the schedule, which will have a competition of new films for the Crystal Globe as well as several other categories of new films from around the world, plus some retrospectives, has not been announced yet. But a few early hints are available. As usual, the festival will provide a platform in particular for films from Central and Eastern Europe.

The first special guest announced for the festival is director Richard Linklater, who is the founder of the Austin Film Society. Nine films and two blocks of shorts will be shown in a section called Made In Texas, including Linklater's debut Slacker and Robert Rodriguez's debut El Mariachi plus more recent from other filmmakers.

Another person to be honored will be Czech actor Jaromír Hanzlík, who just turned 70 years old. He has been acting since the age of 18 and appeared in The Joke, Romance for a Trumpet and Snowdrop Festival, among other films. He is still active and in 2015 appeared in Gangster Ka. The 1965 film Searching (Bloudění) will be shown.

A special section of films will be dedicated to documentaries from the Baltics, with entries from the Baltic New Wave of the 1960s as well as the world premiere of a new film called Bridges of Time.

The poster for the festival was unveiled, and in keeping with the opening has a minimalist retro look. The predominantly red poster has black details showing two frames and film sprocket holes, as well as some text in thin block letters. It was designed by Aleš Najbrt.

Each year a new trailer is introduced, and this year features Casey Affleck, who was at the festival last year and took home the KVIFF President's Award.

The festival will also have a large section for the industry, where filmmakers can present works in various stages of production so try to attract more funding.

Even though the festival ends with an award ceremony July 7, the winners will be shown July 8 in special screenings.

The festival also announced new main partners, which include Vodafone, Innogy, Mall.cz and Accolade, as well as the City of Karlovy Vary and the Karlovy Vary Region. Among the official items, the official drink is Becherovka, the official champagne is Moët & Chandon, the official car is BMW and the official bike is Specialized.

While the opening and closing are by invitation, most other films are open to the public. People with no connection to the film industry can get accreditations that allow then to purchase tickets. This is unusual for an international film festival. There are also some free outdoor screenings, usually with special guests to introduce them.

While this is 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the event was established in 1946 and ranks among the world's oldest. The discrepancy is because it alternated with the Moscow International Film Festival until after the Velvet Revolution.

More information will be available at www.kviff.com/en/news.

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