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Karlovy Vary introducing the Proxima Competition


- The new section replaces the festival’s second competition, East of the West, aiming to offer space to global new voices by scrapping geographical limitations

Karlovy Vary introducing the Proxima Competition
KVIFF artistic director Karel Och

The 56th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF) is still almost seven months away, set to run from 1-9 July 2022, but the most important Czech gathering has announced a major change to its programme. The festival’s second competition, East of the West, is being replaced by Proxima, which ushers in a new focus for KVIFF.

According to the announcement from the festival, the Proxima Competition offers space to global new voices from across the vast cinematic spectrum. Showcasing works by upcoming filmmakers and adventurous efforts by renowned auteurs, it aims, together with the Crystal Globe Competition, to celebrate contemporary cinema with a slate of forward-thinking and notable discoveries.

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Karel Och, the KVIFF’s artistic director, explains: “Proxima is replacing the popular East of the West Competition, which was established in the 1990s with the aim of aiding filmmakers from the former Eastern Bloc to emerge out of the region’s politically indoctrinated isolation – an isolation that existed on both the institutional and the psychological level. Now that the festival is confident that that mission has been accomplished, it is crucial to consider and contextualise the region from a global perspective. Both the Crystal Globe Competition and Proxima are committed to granting space to the most envelope-pushing cinema from Central and Eastern Europe. As of 2022, though, KVIFF’s second competition will scrap the geographical limitations associated with East of the West and open the submissions window to the rest of the world.”

East of the West has been a competitive section for the past 15 years, and some of today’s established directors, such as Kristina Buožytė, Tomasz Wasilewski, Lili Horvát, Rusudan Glurjidze, Ivan Tverdovskiy, Ivan Ikić and Mariam Khatchvani, among others, saw their early films premiering in the programme. As the organisers state, discovering and nurturing new talents from the region has always been a key part of the KVIFF’s DNA, something that will continue on a larger and more ambitious scale with Proxima, and the festival team is excited about the expansion of the geographical scope of the programme.

It should be noted that KVIFF’s Eastern Promises, the festival’s sprawling industry platform for film professionals, will maintain its focus on projects originating from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the countries of the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa.

Film applications are being accepted from 16 November until 31 March, and the submission process is divided into three phases: early bird, regular and late submission.

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