Ethan Hawke gets award while film on migrants wins top prize at KVIFF

Ethan Hawke

The 55TH edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival ended with the traditional gala closing ceremony on Saturday evening. Hollywood stars Johnny Depp and Ethan Hawke were among the special guests, while a drama exploring the situation of African migrants in Europe was named Best Film.

Megastar Johnny Depp received the most attention on the red carpet on Saturday evening. The actor was a huge hit at the region’s biggest cinema event, interacting with the public to a rarely seen degree.

But it was another Hollywood star who was honoured on stage at the closing ceremony of the 55TH edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Ethan Hawke with his wife Ryan | Photo: Slavomír Kubeš,  ČTK

Actor Ethan Hawke, who also proved a charming and engaged guest, received the Karlovy Vary’s President’s Award from festival chief Jiří Bartoška – and promptly thanked his spouse, who was also present.

“I want to share this tonight with the person who is the most dear to me and the biggest influence on my artistic life, which is my wife, Ryan Hawke, my artistic partner.

“She produces movies that I act in, she reads every script, I send her every video from every dumb costume fitting and everything that we do. You are my partner and I love you.

“And I love movies and I love everybody here. Thank you for wearing your masks. Thank you so much!”

Johnny Depp | Photo: Slavomír Kubeš,  ČTK

The top Crystal Globe prize for Best Film at Karlovy Vary went to As Far As I Can Walk by Serbian director Stefan Arsenijevic. It follows a Ghanaian refugee who travels across hostile European borders in search of his wife. Arsenijevic says he was inspired by the migration crisis.

“I spoke with a lot of migrants before starting the film and realised that a lot of them are completely like me.

“For somebody coming from Yugoslavia, war and refugees and poverty is not something I didn’t experience.

“I felt like this was happening and somehow the media was talking about it in terms of numbers and analysis and I wanted to make a human face of it, so I invented a love story.

“I thought this is the easiest way that we can actually identify and feel how it is to lose your home and be a refugee or migrant.”

Stefan Arsenijevic | Photo: Slavomír Kubeš,  ČTK

The Best Director gong at KVIFF went to Dietrich Brüggemann for the German film Nö.

Karlovy Vary prides itself on providing a showcase for Eastern European cinema, primarily through its East of the West competition. This year’s edition was won by Vladimir Munkuev for Nuuccha; it was the first major European award ever for a film depicting the Yakut ethnic group.

The festival was the first in two years, because of the pandemic and took place later in the summer than usual. Next year’s Karlovy Vary, the 56th, will start on July 1, 2022.