Renowned directors present their favourite films in Karlovy Vary

Foto (by KVIFF) Crystal Globe - The Mosquito Net - director Augustí Vila and producer Luis Minarro

The celebrations around the 50th Karlovy Vary IFF will include an opportunity for festival audiences to encounter a special section entitled Six Close Encounters. For the programme, six international directors who share a history with the Karlovy Vary IFF present one of their favourite films.

“It is extremely important to us that we maintain long-term relationships with filmmakers whose work we follow continuously, often from the beginning of their careers, which in many cases were launched at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival,” says KVIFF artistic director Karel Och.

With this in mind, the Karlovy Vary IFF asked six prominent directors and friends to select and personally present a favourite film that played a fundamental role in defining their own styles on filmmaking.

The following six directors contributed to the Six Close Encounters showcase: Mark Cousins, Kim Ki-duk, Sergei Loznitsa, Luis Miñarro, Michael R. Roskam and Sion Sono.

Mark Cousins is a Northern Irish filmmaker, writer, curator and traveller whose films regularly appear in the Karlovy Vary IFF programme. The festival has screened his documentary The First Movie (2009), his monumental, 15-hour documentary project The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011) and his poetic reflection What is This Film Called Love? (2012). Also presented at the festival was his original project A Story of Children and Film (2013) and Life May Be (2013), in which Cousins and respected Iranian artist Mania Akbari communicate together via “film letters”. This year Mark Cousins’ work will be represented in the Documentary Films Competition with a distinctive homage to his hometown I am Belfast (2015).

For the Six Close Encounters section, Mark Cousins chose the Iranian-French film A Moment of Innocence (Nun va Goldoon, 1996) by one of the leading directors of the Iranian new wave, Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The talented and versatile Korean director Kim Ki-duk has been associated with the Karlovy Vary IFF for nearly twenty years now. In that time, nearly all of Kim Ki-duk’s films have been screened here. In 2002, the director attended the festival for the very first retrospective devoted to his work. At the 38th KVIFF the film The Coast Guard (Hae anseon, 2002) appeared in the Official Selection, in 2006 the festival opening ceremony showcased the world premiere of his film Time, with the director himself present in both cases. And even in recent years, when Kim Ki-duk’s work has garnered awards at a number of awards at international festivals after a creative break, audiences here continue to appreciate his films. On the programme at this year’s KVIFF is Kim Ki-duk’s latest film, Stop (2015), again as a world premiere.

In the Six Close Encounters section Kim Ki-duk will present the film Poetry (Shi), directed by his colleague and countryman Lee Chang-dong in 2010, the same year that the filmmaker was a member of the KVIFF main jury.

Sergei Loznitsa, a Belorussian director based in Germany, first took part in the Karlovy Vary IFF in 2001 when his feature-length documentary The Settlement (Poselenie) received a special mention. Two years later the same distinction went to his documentary short Portrait (Portret, 2002). In 2007 he won the documentary films up to 30 minutes category with the film Artel. His work is regularly screened at the Karlovy Vary IFF, including his feature-film debut My Joy (Schaste moe, 2010) and the film In the Fog (V tumane, 2012), both of which were also selected for the competition in Cannes, his documentary dedicated to the dramatic events in Ukraine, Maidan (2014), and his short experimental work from 2013 Letter (Pismo). In this year’s Imagina section we will be presenting the director’s unique portrait of a disappearing place, Old Jewish Cemetery (2014).

Seregej Loznitsa will show director Kira Muratova’s magnum opus, The Asthenic Syndrome (Astenicheskiy sindrom, 1989). This raw epic about the state of Soviet society during the spread of perestroika won the Special Jury Prize at the 1990 Berlinale and is indisputably one of the pinnacles of Soviet cinematography.

Luis Miñarro is one of the most highly-regarded European producers of independent cinema. In 2010 he was awarded the Crystal Globe for Best Film in Karlovy Vary for The Mosquito Net (La Mosquitera, dir. Agustí Vila). He is the founder of the production company Eddie Saeta S. A. which has given rise to the films of a number of outstanding European filmmakers. As for his work as a director, KVIFF presented the world premiere of Miñarro’s film Familystrip in 2009, and the remarkable documentary 101: Manoel de Oliveira as Seen by Luis Miñarro in 2012. Last year, Luis Miñarro was the chairman of the KVIFF international jury and also presented his feature directorial debut Falling Star (Stella cadente, 2014).

For his contribution to the section Miñarro chose the Orson Welles’ legendary 1958 film noir Touch of Evil, in which the director also played one of the lead roles.

Michaël R. Roskam studied painting at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and started with film in 2002, since which time his shorts have been rapturously received at festivals. His feature-length debut, Bullhead (Rundskop, 2011), which premiered at the Berlinale and was later included in the programme of the Karlovy Vary IFF, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This year’s programme includes Roskam’s latest work, The Drop (2014) which was shot in the United States and won the Best Screenplay award at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

The Belgian director, too, reached for a title from the film noir shelf, selecting the film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton’s Rififi (Du rififi chez les hommes, 1955) by director Jules Dassin.

Japanese director Sion Sono has progressively earned his reputation as one of the most nonconformist contemporary filmmakers from his country, for which reason his films are sought after by festivals including Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Toronto. Audiences at the Karlovy Vary IFF have had the opportunity to see his films Noriko's Dinner Table (Noriko no šokutaku, 2005), which was selected for the main competition and received a Special Jury Prize, Love Exposure (Ai no mukidashi, 2008) and Guilty of Romance (Koi no cumi, 2011). At this year’s Karlovy Vary festival we will be presenting Sono’s hip-hop opera Tokyo Tribe (2014).

Sion Sono will be showing Karlovy Vary audiences his favourite film, Babe (1995), Chris Noonan’s family comedy which was nominated for seven Oscars and received the award for Best Special Effects.

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