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Monday, September 11, 2023

‘Blaga’s Lessons’ Wins Karlovy Vary Film Fest’s Top Prize

Stephan Komandarev’s Blaga’s Lessons, a Bulgarian/German co-production, has been chosen as the winner of the top prize — the Crystal Globe, which comes with a $25,000 prize — of the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The festival announced the winners during its closing ceremony on Saturday. The film’s star, Eli Skorcheva, was named best actress. (See THR‘s review of the film here .)

Meanwhile, the top Czech festival’s special jury prize, which comes with a $15,000 check, was awarded to Behrooz Karamizade’s German-Iranian co-production Empty Nets (see THR’s review ). Its audience award went to Vincent Perez’s The Edge of the Blade, a French film (see THR’s interview with Perez ), and a special jury mention was designated for Cyril Aris’ Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano, a German-Lebanese entry (see THR’s review ).

Babak Jalali was honored as best director for the American film Fremont , which premiered earlier this year at Sundance; and Herbert Nordrum won best actor for his work in the Swedish/Norwegian/French co-production The Hypnosis (see THR’s review).

The jury consisted of Oscar-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson , whose new film Monica screened at the fest out of competition; Tunisian film producer Dora Bouchoucha (Buried Secrets, Foreign Body); Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu (Family FilmWinter Flies); Sundance festival programmer John Nein and Irish actor Barry Ward (The End of the F***ing World).

The second edition of Karlovy Vary’s Proxima competition, which is focused on bold works by young filmmakers and renowned auteurs alike, also revealed its award winners. The Grand Prix, which comes with a $15,000 reward, went to Yoo Ji-young’s South Korean picture Birth. A special jury prize, with $10,000, was awarded to Saurav Rai’s Indian/Nepalese co-production Guras, and a special jury mention was noted for Albert Hospodářský’s Czech/Slovak effort Brutal Heat.

The 57th edition of the Karlovy Vary fest, which has a reputation as Central Europe’s largest cinema party, opened on June 30 with the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe and a festival president’s award to Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander ; a spectacular ice skating number ; and concerts by British electronic music band Morcheeba as well as Crowe’s band , Indoor Garden Party.

Two other festival president’s awards were presented during this year’s fest — to Ewan Mc Gregor during the first weekend and during the closing ceremony to actress/director Robin Wright. American producer Christine Vachon and Czech cinematographer Daniela Kolářová were also feted at the fest.

A new trailer , starring 2021 KVIFF honoree Johnny Depp, was also unveiled. (The fest’s trailers, which are played before screenings, are famously irreverent and have featured big names such as Mel Gibson, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Casey Affleck, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Andy Garcia, Miloš Forman and Danny DeVito.)

James Mackreides
James Mackreides
'Mac' is a short tempered former helicopter pilot , now a writer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Loves dogs, the outdoors and staying far away from the ocean.

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