Czech Documentaries at the 54th KVIFF

10. 6. 2019

Author: Martin Šrajer

Exactly thirty days before its launch, the 54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival published the first part of its program. We finally learned the names of participating Czech and Slovak filmmakers that are eagerly awaited by the local media every year.

While other A list film festivals have deliberately blurred genre boundaries and documentary films have been winning awards long reserved for fiction features, there is once again no documentary film in the KVIFF’s competition lineup. If it is any consolation, the Slovak filmmaker Marko Škop, known mostly for his documentary films, has his second feature in the running for the Crystal Globe Award. Škop’s drama Let There Be Light is a Slovak-Czech co-production.

To find a Czech filmmaker, we must turn to the Documentary Films Competition. Martin Mareček’s previous film Solar Eclipse told the story of two Czech experts trying to bring electricity to a remote village in Zambia. In 2011, it won the Czech Joy competition at the Jihlava IDFF. Mareček, whose other films include Dust Games, Source and Auto*Mate, is back in Karlovy Vary with his latest documentary Over the Hills that was recently presented at the Czech Docs... Coming Soon during the East Doc Platform. Produced by Negativ Film Productions and HBO Europe, Over the Hills is billed as an intimate road movie about a man who is trying to find himself through fatherhood.

Under Special Events, KVIFF will screen two films by internationally acclaimed Czech filmmakers. Premiered at this year’s Cannes IFF, Forman vs. Forman is a portrait of the director Miloš Forman by Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna. Co-produced by ARTE, the film will be introduced to Czech audiences in Karlovy Vary. It is slated for theatrical release later this summer.

Coming to Czech cinemas this fall, Jiří Suchý – Tackling Life with Ease by Olga Sommerová is a documentary portrait of Jiří Suchý, a Czech actor, musician, playwright, poet, artist and co-founder of the famous Semafor theater. After Věra 68, The Magic Voice of a Rebel and Červená, Sommerová presents another feature portrait of a notable Czech. Following Suchý’s life and prolific career using both archive and new footage, the film will screen at the 54th KVIFF as a world premiere.

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