Prague, Czech Republic – “If the people cannot come to [the festival], then [the festival] must come to the people,” said Marek Eben, the host of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) on July 3 in an empty festival hall of the Karlovy Vary’s Hotel Thermal.
Jiří Bartoška, the director of the Festival, joined him in the festival’s traditional venue, adding that “we came to you this year, but we are hoping that you will come to us next year.”
Despite having to postpone the festival’s 55th edition due to the coronavirus crisis, the festival’s programming department has already selected movies for this year’s edition.
Traditionally, some of the most popular festival movies would be later presented in cinemas across the country. In response to the pandemic, the organisers decided to expand the event called “KVIFF at Your Cinema” to present sixteen films via two daily screenings.
The Karlovy Vary film festival has put out a map, outlining 96 cinemas, in which people can see the movies. Just Prague offers 14 cinemas. The movie screenings will include introductory talks either via internet or by a festival delegation to selected venues.
Last month, KVIFF also joined other festivals, including Cannes, Venice and Berlin for an online festival on Youtube that took place from May 29 to June 7.
A shortened event, called Karlovy Vary IFF 54 ½, is scheduled to take place in the Czech city between November 19 and 21. The four-day event will feature 30 movies and other events, which usually accompany the programme.
The festival is one of the longest-running film events in Europe. Set up in 1946 to showcase the results of the Czechoslovak film industry, the festival was forced to alternate between Moscow’s IFF from 1959 until 1993.
It almost ended this long tradition in 1992 due to financial issues. After separating from Moscow in 1994, it took place annually and became the leading film event in Central and Eastern Europe.
By Matej Voda