Neha Patil (Editor)

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

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No. of films
223 (2015)

Crystal Globe

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival


The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech: Mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary) is a film festival held annually in July in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Czech Republic. The Karlovy Vary Festival is one of the oldest in the world and has become Central and Eastern Europe’s leading film event.



The pre-war dream of many enthusiastic filmmakers materialized in 1946 when a non-competition festival of films from seven countries took place in Mariánské Lázně and Karlovy Vary. Above all it was intended to screen the results of the recently nationalized Czechoslovak film industry. After the first two years the festival moved permanently to Karlovy Vary.

The Karlovy Vary IFF first held an international film competition in 1948. Since 1951, an international jury has evaluated the films. The Karlovy Vary competition quickly found a place among other developing festivals and by 1956 FIAPF had already classified Karlovy Vary as a category A festival. Given the creation of the Moscow Film Festival and the political decision to organize only one "A" festival for all socialist countries, Karlovy Vary was forced to alternate year by year with Moscow IFF between 1959 and 1993.

The social and political changes that took place after the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 pushed concerns about organizing the Karlovy Vary IFF to the background. The program for 1990 was saved by the release of a collection of Czechoslovak films which had been locked up for years in a storage vault. And the appearance of a number of international guests such as Miloš Forman, Lindsay Anderson, Annette Bening and Robert De Niro helped as well. Future festivals were in doubt. Financial problems and a lack of interest on the part of the government, organizers and viewers almost ended the festival's long tradition in 1992.

In 1994 the 29th Karlovy Vary IFF inaugurated an entirely new tradition. After nearly forty years of alternating with the Moscow IFF, the festival began once again to take place every year. The Karlovy Vary Film Festival Foundation was set up in 1993 co-created by the Ministry of Culture, The City of Karlovy Vary, and the Grand Hotel Pupp. Actor Jiří Bartoška was invited to be the festival's president, and Eva Zaoralová became program director in 1995. Since 1998 the organization of the festival has been carried out by Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary, a joint stock company.


The core of the program is the feature film competition; in accordance with FIAPF regulations only those films which have not been shown in competition at any other international festivals can be included. The documentary competition is an important festival event. The extensive informative program features both distribution pre-premiers and films awarded at other festivals. But it also includes discoveries of artistic creations by independent directors, productions coming out of little known film industries, retrospectives, and an overview of Czech film output during the past year. For the tenth straight year the festival will present Variety Critics' Choice: new and interesting films of mainly European production selected by critics working at this prestigious magazine.

Seminars focusing primarily on European film are another important part of the festival.

Thousands of visitors and the great variety of films testify to the effectiveness of the program team with program director Eva Zaoralová at its head. Due to their valiant efforts many films will be purchased at the festival for wider distribution or, thanks to receiving a festival award, will attract the attention of major producers, distributors, and the media.

The festival program has the following sections:

  • Official Selection - Competition – films never before shown in competition at any other international festival.
  • East of the West - Competition – films from the former socialist bloc.
  • Documentary Films - Competition – a competition divided into two parts: documentaries less than and longer than 30 minutes.
  • Horizons and Another View – a selection of the most remarkable contemporary films.
  • Imagina - films with an unconventional approach to narration and style, distinctive and radical visions of film language.
  • Out of the Past - classic, cult, rare and unfairly overlooked films, screened in their original and restored versions.
  • Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers To Follow - ten directors, an upcoming generation of young European filmmakers, present their student films. The project is organized in cooperation with European Film Promotion.
  • Midnight Screenings - a selection of the latest horror and action films, works that look at their genres in new, often humorous, ways.
  • Czech Films – a representative selection of current Czech films.
  • Tributes, special focuses and retrospectives
  • Awards

    Since 1948, the Grand Prize has been the Crystal Globe – although its form has often changed. As of the 35th Karlovy Vary IFF 2000 the Crystal Globe has taken on a new look: now the figure of a woman stands raising a crystal ball (artistic concept developed by Tono Stano, Aleš Najbrt, Michal Caban, and Šimon Caban).

    The Feature Film Competition is divided into the following main awards:

  • Grand Prix – Crystal Globe for best feature film ($25,000)
  • Special Jury Prize ($15,000)
  • Best Director Award
  • Best Actress Award
  • Best Actor Award
  • The Documentary Competition is divided into the following main awards:

  • Best Documentary Film in the category for film lasting 30 minutes or less
  • Best Documentary Film in the category for film lasting above 30 minutes in length
  • Each year, the festival also presents the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema.

    Prominent foreign festival guests

  • 1946: Nikolay Cherkasov, Rita Hayworth
  • 1990: Annette Bening, Robert De Niro, Miloš Forman, Vojtěch Jasný, Maximilian Schell, Shirley Temple
  • 1992: Coen brothers, Jason Connery, Aki Kaurismäki, Ken Loach, Agnieszka Holland
  • 1994: Leonardo DiCaprio, Max von Sydow, Philippe Noiret
  • 1995: Peter O'Toole, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, Mia Farrow, Mika Kaurismäki
  • 1996: Alan Alda, Whoopi Goldberg, Gregory Peck, Ivan Passer, Pierre Richard
  • 1997: Miloš Forman, Ivan Passer, Salma Hayek, Nikita Mikhalkov, Steve Buscemi
  • 1998: Michael Douglas, Ornella Muti, Saul Zaentz, Terry Jones
  • 1999: Woody Harrelson, Lukas Moodysson, Nikita Mikhalkov
  • 2000: Woody Harrelson, Edward Norton, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson
  • 2001: Nastassja Kinski, Scarlett Johansson, Oleg Taktarov, Thora Birch
  • 2002: Kim Ki-duk, Keira Knightley, István Szabó, Michael York
  • 2003: William Forsythe, Kim Ki-duk, Udo Kier, Morgan Freeman
  • 2004: Jacqueline Bisset, John Cleese, Bernard Hill, Harvey Keitel, Guillermo Jimenez Díaz, Roman Polanski, Elijah Wood, Albert Maysles
  • 2005: Sharon Stone, Robert Redford, Alexander Payne, Gael García Bernal, Liv Ullmann
  • 2006: Andy García, Terry Gilliam, Kim Ki-duk, Danny Trejo
  • 2007: Renée Zellweger, Danny DeVito, Ellen Page, Tom DiCillo
  • 2008: Robert De Niro, Les Blank, Kim Bodnia, Saffron Burrows
  • 2009: John Malkovich, Antonio Banderas, Isabelle Huppert
  • 2010: Jude Law, Nikita Mikhalkov, Kevin McDonald, Scott Cooper
  • 2011: Judi Dench, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Cary Fukunaga, Sasson Gabai, Remo Girone
  • 2012: Helen Mirren, Richard Peña, István Szabó, Susan Sarandon, Helena Třeštíková, Marek Najbrt
  • 2013: John Travolta, Oliver Stone, F. Murray Abraham, Valeria Golino, Agnieszka Holland, Lou Castel, Jerry Schatzberg, Michel Gondry
  • 2014: Mel Gibson, Michael Pitt, Jake Hoffman, Franco Nero, Fanny Ardant, Laura Dern, Mike Cahill, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
  • 2015: Richard Gere, Harvey Keitel, George A. Romero, Jamie Dornan, Sean Ellis,, Jena Malone, Ryan Fleck, Udo Kier, Ben Mendelsohn, Alba Rohrwacher
  • 2016: Jean Reno, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Kaufman
  • Crystal Globe Winners – Grand Prix

  • 2016 It's Not the Time of My Life (Hungary) – director Szabolcs Hajdu
  • 2015 Bob and the Trees (USA, France) – director Diego Ongaro
  • 2014 Corn Island (Georgia) – director Giorgi Ovashvili
  • 2013 The Notebook (Hungary) – director János Szász
  • 2012 The Almost Man (Norway) – director Martin Lund
  • 2011 Restoration (Israel) – director Yossi (Joseph) Madmoni
  • 2010 The Mosquito Net (Spain) – director Agustí Vila
  • 2009 Angel at Sea (Belgium/Canada) – director Frédéric Dumont
  • 2008 Terribly Happy (Denmark) – director Henrik Ruben Genz
  • 2007 Jar City (Iceland/Germany) – director Baltasar Kormákur
  • 2006 Sherrybaby (USA) – director Laurie Collyer
  • 2005 My Nikifor (Poland) – director Krzysztof Krauze
  • 2004 A Children's Story (Italy) – director Andrea Frazzi, Antonio Frazzi
  • 2003 Facing Windows (Italy, GB, Turkey, Portugal) – director Ferzan Özpetek
  • 2002 Year of The Devil (Czech Republic) – director Petr Zelenka
  • 2001 Amélie (France) – director Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • 2000 Me You Them (Brazil) – director Andrucha Waddington
  • 1999 Yana's Friends (Israel) – director Arik Kaplun
  • 1998 Streetheart (Canada) – director Charles Binamé
  • 1997 Ma vie en rose (Belgium, France, GB) – director Alain Berliner
  • 1996 Prisoner of the Mountains (Russia, Kazakhstan) – director Sergej Bodrov
  • 1995 The Ride (Czech republic) – director Jan Svěrák
  • 1994 My Soul Brother (Spain) – director Mariano Barroso
  • for older winners (... 1946) see Crystal Globe.
  • References

    Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Wikipedia