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Sunday, October 15, 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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