“East of the West” debuts in Karlovy Vary
by Sakis Kontos
“All festivals that respect themselves must have a section where films east of Vienna are viewed separately” commented one of the Karlovy Vary guests last year. That was an off the record comment and therefore the guest’s anonymity had to be also respected. It still left its mark though. Karlovy Vary International Film Festival's board of directors seem to overheard him as this year they have, officially, introduced a competition with a selection of European films made in countries east of Vienna and the former Soviet Union, appropriately named “East of the West”.
Of the fifteen films chosen for this year, six are co-productions while Polish and Russian producers are involved in six of the rest. There is no particular theme for this first year selection. Three of the entries are comedies or black comedies but social and historical issues (i.e. in the Bulgarian film Stolen Eyes) are also examined, while there is a strong presence of women.
The 15 films will compete for a Grand Prize, given together with the rest of the awards at the closing night of the festival and accompanied by a cheque of 250,000 CZK (8,500 €). The money might be less than exceptional to many filmmakers in the so-called West but for the winning film, in that particular part of the world, it might represent a significant return of its investment.
Former FIPRESCI president Andrei Plakhov has been appointed chairman of the jury of the “East of the West” competition. The Russian critic and writer is considered an experienced juror as he has sat before in the jury of festivals such as San Sebastian, Wiesbaden or Berlin. The other four members are Jannike Åhlund, (Sweden, director of the Göteborg Film Festival), Viera Langerova (Slovakia, film journalist and critic), Mira Erdevicki (UK/Bosnia, documentary film maker) and Roland Rust (Germany, director of Cottbus film festival, publicist and film critic).
Selected “East of the West” entries
Dallas Among Us (Dallas Pashamende), directed by Adrian Robert Pejo
Hungary, Germany, Austria, Romania, 2005, 93 min
Fallen (Krišana), directed by Fred Kelemen
Latvia, Germany, 2005, 90 min
The Hunter (Anshi), directed by Serik Aprymov
Kazakhstan, Japan, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, 2004, 93 min
Land of Glass (Stiklo Salis), directed by Janina Lapinskaite
Lithuania, 2004, 68 min
Ragin (Ragin), directed by Kirill Serebrennikov
Russia, Austria, 2004, 93 min
The Ruins (Ruševine), directed by Janez Burger
Slovenia, 2004, 100 min
Saratan (Saratan), directed by Ernest Abdyshaparov
Kirghizstan, Germany, 2005, 84 min
Stolen Eyes (Otkradnati ochi), directed by Radoslav Spassov
Bulgaria, 2005, 111 min
Vinci (Vinci), directed by Juliusz Machulski
Poland, 2004, 110 min
The Wedding (Wesele), directed by Wojtek Smarzowski
Poland, 2004, 109 min
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