Karlovy Vary 2022

Report from the 56th International Film Festival in the spa town of the Czech Republic

At the award ceremony in Karlovy Vary 2022: The members of the Ecumenical Jury (Annette Gjerde Hansen, Théo Peporté, Veronika Lišková) and Martichka Bozhilova (producer of "A Provincial Hospital", second from right); (© Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary, a.s.)

In the middle of the small spa town of Karlovy Vary, two hours away from Prague, one of the world's oldest and most traditional film festivals is held. This festival is a central gateway to the Eastern European cinema market. Karlovy Vary is an A-festival with status and traditions on a par with the film festivals in Cannes and Berlin.


Due to its health beneficial hot-springs, the city has a long tradition of artists and other well-known historical characters visiting, even long before the time of film festivals. Guests such as Goethe, Beethoven and Chopin, just to name a few. And now it was our turn to visit this beautiful city, drink from the healing springs and last but not least; explore the different worlds projected onto the screens inside the movie theatres. It is such a great pleasure to sit in a packed movie theatre again! After a time of restrictions due to the pandemic, even standing in line is considered a privilege. This festival is buzzing. Thousands of people are moving up and down, in and out of the Hotel Thermal every day – it is nothing short of wonderful!


Meanwhile, both the participants and organizers of the festival are quite considerate about the current times we live in. During the 56th Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the consequences of the Ukraine War were discussed at a panel debate, moderated by Ivanna Khitsinska from the Odessa Film Festival, which for obvious reasons will not be held this year. KVIFF also held space for the film industry in Ukraine by hosting market meetings and other contributions. Benicio del Toro particularly highlighted this in his thank-you speech when he received The Festival President’s Award. Del Toro said he was proud to receive an award from a film festival not only committed to being in the spotlight for itself, but being a light to others. More about this can be found at KVIFFs website.


As tradition wants it the Ecumenical Jury watched the screenings in the Crystal Globe Competition. This year’s program had a strong variation in both themes/topics and artistic expression. However, it was impossible not to notice the fact that a lot of the films were composed by a relatively young crew, which in itself was quite encouraging to see. Yet, it is worth mentioning that these particular film crews were not only encouraging in that they were young per se, but they showed a great deal of courage through their work, and we are excited to see what comes out of these film crews in the future.

The members of the Ecumenical Jury were also able to watch some screenings from the rich program besides the competition program. We really enjoyed Robert Østlund’s latest “Triangle of Sadness”. Another well made film was the Icelandic film from this year’s Un Certain Regards in Cannes: Hlynur Pálmason’s “Godland”.  Set in the 19th century, Godland tells the story of a young Danish priest (Elliott Crosset Hove) who travels to a remote part of Iceland to build a church and photograph its people. But the deeper he goes into the unforgiving landscape, the more he strays from his purpose, his mission and morality.

I would like to offer another warm recommendation, this one also from this year’s Un Certain Regards in Cannes: “Corsage” by Marie Kreutzer. The leading actress Vicky Krieps won the Un Certain Regard Best Performance Prize for her outstanding work in the role of Elisabeth from Austria. And last but not least; make all the effort you can to see "You Have to Come to See It" by Jonás Trueba, This one was part of KVIFFS competition program. Variety described it as a “delightful, gently profound, summery Spanish snack”, and I find that very fitting. It charmed us all!

Award of the Ecumenical Jury

The Ecumenical awarded their Prize to "A Provincial Hospital", a German-Bulgarian documentary created by a trio of young directors, Ilian Metev, Ivan Chertov, and Zlatina Teneva. In their motivation, the jury highlighted the power and honesty of the film, and the ability of the filmmakers to convey the strength, the hope, the conscientiousness and even the humour of the staff running a provincial hospital in Bulgaria during the time of the covid pandemic.