“East of the West” at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

'The Dolls'

One of the sections of the official competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is East of the West – a showcase for films from Eastern and Central Europe. This year, it features ten different films from countries like Armenia, Slovenia and Azerbaijan. Sarah Borufka talked to Lenka Tyrpáková, who works for the festival’s program department, about what East of the West is all about and what we can expect from it this year.

Photo: Štěpánka Budková
“The East of the West section is a competitive section which we have had since the 38th year of the festival. This is the competition into which we try to select the best or most interesting films from Central and Eastern Europe and from countries of the former Soviet block.”

Would you say that it’s sort of a specialty of the festival, something that makes it unusual?

“Yes, I would agree with this. And also the section belongs to one of the most closely watched sections, especially by foreign buyers and industry people. So a lot of them came here to watch films from that section. And also, our industry office is organizing a selection in which they only present films from the East of the West section.”

Lenka Tyrpáková
Do you think that this section brings Eastern and Central European films to a larger audience?

“Yes, I would say that, and also, the festival is a platform to screen films which would probably never be screened in the context of regular distribution. So, it’s the place where people can learn more about those countries and their culture, the background and transitions they are in, also.”

So this year, what are some of the films shown in the section? Can you mention a few interesting ones?

“This year, we selected ten films, and from so-called exotic countries, I would like to mention a film from Azerbaijan, which is called The Dolls by the director Chingiz Rasulzade, and it’s a world premiere.”

'The Dolls'
“There’s an interesting story surrounding this film. We received the DVD from the director and we selected the film and confirmed the choice. And after, we received some phone calls from the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, and they said that they were involved financially with the film. It happened that they made some changes and edited some scenes. They changed the ending against the will of the director. But we still wanted to show the original film because we want to help this director, so this is a very important film for us.”