The 37th International Karlovy Vary Film Festival has gotten underway in the Czech Republic drawing thousands of film lovers as well as actors and actresses both from the Czech scene and from around the world. Radio Prague's Ian Willoughby has been attending the festival and I was able to speak to him earlier today to get the latest impressions.
"My impressions are that it is absolutely fantastic: the most incredible thing is the atmosphere of sheer positive energy - everybody is positive and it is an amazing event. I urge any of our listeners to attend if they ever get a chance. The film that opened the festival was The Year of the Devil (Rok Dabla), and after the film I spoke to the director Petr Zelenka and he said a) that was honored that his film was chosen as the opening film and b) even though it was his own film, he didn't think it was a real "opening-type" film - it's a kind of mock-documentary about a real group of musicians... I went to a party for this film Rok Dabla and there was a Czech band playing called Cechomor - they're in the film. And I was looking around me and I thought if a bomb went off here it would set the Czech film industry back 20 years because every actor, every actress, every director under the age of 40 was in that building. And that's what it's like here, it's like the Czech film industry, Czech actors, actresses letting their hair down and just having a good time."
Later on, in One on One, we've got an interview with the head of the distribution company that distributed The Year of the Devil - it is in official competition - so would you say it has a good chance to win an award?
"It seems to me, I like the film, but it's very, very, very Czech and I don't know if the jury, of whom none are Czech, I don't know if they would really get it. It's the kind of film you would understand more if you lived in this country for a while. It's a really nice film, but I don't believe it has a chance. Last year the winner was Amelia, and that was a really big film - the jury loved it, the critics loved it, and the public loved it, but this year I think there's no one film that stands out like that..."
And as the festival continues we'll be bringing you up to date on the films and stars in attendance: for example, Scottish actor Sean Connery will be receiving a lifetime achievement award.