The beginning of the summer in Karlovy Vary is traditionally devoted to the international film festival. It was held from 3 to 11 July and featured stars such as John Malkovich, Antonio Banderas, Isabelle Huppert, Miloš Forman, Jan Švankmajer, Isaach de Bankolé, Alan Rudolph, Scott Sanders or Paul Schrader.
The festive opening ceremony was inspired by natural elements. Woman silhouettes veiled in huge plastic pieces, blown by fans, symbolized water, wind and fire. Moderator Marek Eben introduced two new "lightweight" festival trailers – four personalities – Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Danny De Vitto and Harvey Keitel were joined by boyish mischievous Jiří Menzel and vivacious Andy Garcia this year.
This year's 44th Film Festival offered 230 films, divided into various competing and non-competing categories. Great attention was traditionally directed to the main competition, featuring twelve films. The Grand Prix – Crystal Globe was awarded to "Angel at Sea", a Belgian film directed by Frédéric Dumont. The Special Jury Prize was awarded to "Twenty", an Iranian film directed by Abdolrez Kahani. The Best Actor Award was awarded to Paul Giamatti and Olivier Gourmet and the Best Actress Award was awarded to Paprika Steen.
More than 12 thousand accredited film fans came to Karlovy Vary this year and total 130 tickets were sold. The changeable weather during the festival may have contributed to the high attendance and often urged the fans to spend some time in movie theatres. The Festival also featured some controversial films and winners of foreign film festivals, such as "Antichrist", "Adam Resurrected" or "The White Ribbon". However, it was the famous film stars that the fans were most interested, whom Festival President Jiří Bartoška prepared a warm welcome – awards for their work in film industry.
The Crystal Globe for extraordinary art contribution to the world cinematography was awarded to French actress Isabelle Huppert, American actor and director John Malkovich and Czech surrealist director and animator Jan Švankmajer. The price of the President of IFF Karlovy Vary was awarded to actor Antonio Banderas.
The film festival was accompanied by numerous programs, such as the recital of Jarek Nohavica, exhibition of musician and painter Vladimír Franz or Master Classes with film makers – Olga Sommerová, Iran actress Niki Karimi or John Malkovich.
Already now we may look forward to the next – jubilee – 45th festival!