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Karlovy Vary streamlines its programming structure


- The festival preparations are continuing with a view to sticking to the original dates for now

Karlovy Vary streamlines its programming structure
(© HerminaPress)

The Czech Republic’s largest film gathering, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, has undergone some complex changes in recent years, extending its geographical scope to include Middle Eastern cinema (see the news) and including First Cut Lab within its industry section (see the news). The initiative to reshape the programming structure is continuing ahead of the upcoming 55th edition of the festival.

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The gathering has announced that the programme department has decided to end the tradition of having a separate competition for documentary films. As of the 55th edition, docs will be absorbed into the main competition with the other titles vying for the Grand Prix – Crystal Globe, and the East of the West competition for debut and sophomore features from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Greece, the Middle East, North Africa and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

“We have been contemplating the cancellation of the documentary competitions and integrating them into the competitions for fiction films for several years. The documentaries we are interested in are, in many ways, comparable to fiction films, especially in terms of the complexity of the auteurs’ approach, and their screenwriting and directing techniques. We consider giving everyone an equal chance to be a logical step,” KVIFF’s artistic director, Karel Och, told Cineuropa.

In a bid to simplify the programming structure, the festival will no longer programme the Official Selection – Out of Competition section. Exclusive premieres and pre-premieres of Czech and foreign films will continue to be presented in the Special Screenings sidebar. Furthermore, the sections with edgier and more experimental films, Another View and Horizons, will be merged under the Horizons heading. “The division of the films into the two parallel sections Horizons and Another View originated in the 1990s. Whereas the first section screened rather classic films from the competitions of the major film festivals, Another View tended to invite alternative, more provocative and more formally unconventional titles. Since then, it’s not only film productions that have undergone major changes in general, but also the tastes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival itself. Moreover, our long-term tendency is to keep the programming structure as simple and as understandable as possible for first-time visitors as well. The number of movies in the non-competitive programme will not decrease; they will be screened in one section instead of two from 2020 onwards,” Och confirmed to Cineuropa. He added that the announced changes are already significant enough, and that no more adjustments are planned for the upcoming edition.

KVIFF PR manager Uljana Donátová confirmed to Cineuropa that the festival preparations are proceeding with a view to sticking to the original dates of 3-11 July 2020. “However, we are observing the situation closely and following any new developments as well as adhering to all of the regulations,” she added, following the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the Czech Republic owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 55th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is currently set to take place from 3-11 July 2020.

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