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Ivan Passer will head Karlovy Vary Jury

Writer and director Ivan Passer, one of the most respected representatives of the Czech new wave of the 1960s, will head up the International Grand Jury at the 43rd Karlovy Vary IFF. He cowrote and assistant directed Miloš Forman’s Loves of a Blonde and The Firemen’s Ball. Passer then debuted as a director with the short film A Boring Afternoon, following it up in 1965 with Intimate Lighting, one of the key Czech films of the era. After the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968, Passer emigrated to the United States, where he still lives and works today. Among the most critically acclaimed movies of his fruitful American output are the drama Cutter’s Way (1981) and the TV biopic Stalin (1992) starring Robert Duvall.
One of Britain’s current top actresses will also sit on the jury this year: Brenda Blethyn. In recent years she has lent her extraordinary talents to two literary adaptations: Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. A leading personality of the European Film Academy, she gained a name for herself in A River Runs through It, Little Voice, and above all Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies (Best Actress at Cannes and the Golden Globes, and an Oscar nomination).
Prestigious Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman will return to Karlovy Vary in the role of juror. Holder of the Special Jury Prize from the 1996 Karlovy Vary IFF for the comedy Saint Clara, he caused a stir at the recent Cannes festival with his animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, which will also be shown in the program of this year’s Karlovy Vary festival.
Producer Ted Hope, a central figure of American independent film, will also come to Karlovy Vary. Co-founder of the production company This is that, he was instrumental in introducing the work of such filmmakers as Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, and Ang Lee. His filmography as a producer includes among other 21 Grams, In the Bedroom, Happiness, and The Ice Storm.
The Czech Republic’s Main Jury representative will be composer, lyricist, music producer, and occasional actor Jan P. Muchow. Founder of the band The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, he has written the music for more than ten Czech films (e.g. Loners, Dolls, and Václav) and has won two Czech Lions for Best Music (One Hand Can’t Clap and Grandhotel). Director David Ondříček cast this versatile Czech music personality in a starring role in his successful film Whisper.
Eminent European actress Johanna ter Steege has also promised to sit on the Main Jury. This noted personality of Dutch theater has worked with premier world directors such as Robert Altman (Vincent & Theo), István Szabó (Meeting Venus), and Bruce Beresford (Paradise Road), and she has won awards at Berlin and Locarno. In addition, at this year’s festival she will present the psychological drama Guernsey in the Focus on the Netherlands section.
Legendary director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond will also be on hand to award the prestigious Crystal Globe. An Oscar winner for his work on Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, he left his native Hungary for the United States after the Soviet invasion of 1956. One of the most sought-after professionals in his field, he has lensed films by Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), John Boorman (Deliverance), Sean Penn (The Crossing Guard), Woody Allen (Cassandra’s Dream), and Ivan Passer (Stalin). His rich resume of work with Robert Altman includes the New Hollywood anti-Western McCabe and Mrs. Miller, which Zsigmond will personally present at this year’s festival.


In addition to Michaela Pavlátová’s Night Owls, writer and director Petr Zelenka’s new film The Karamazovs will also compete for the Czech Republic in the Official Selection - Competition at the 43rd Karlovy Vary IFF 2008.

The Karamazovs offers an original cinematic retelling of Dostoevsky’s incomparable novel The Brothers Karamazov. It is based on Evald Schorm’s theatrical dramatization and a successful staging of the play at Prague’s Dejvice Theater (under the direction of Lukáš Hlavica). Thus it is no surprise that the stars of the theater troupe were cast in the film, with Ivan Trojan playing old Karamazov.

The story is set in contemporary Poland. A Prague director and his actors arrive in Cracow to stage an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s masterpiece at an alternative festival in an old steelworks. The theater drama, which focuses on investigating the father’s murder, brims with emotion – love, jealousy, and envy – while contemplating questions of faith, immortality, and the salvation of the human soul.

Director Petr Zelenka has already once competed in the festival’s international feature film competition: at the 37th Karlovy Vary IFF his Year of the Devil took the Crystal Globe for the best film.


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