Ken Loach one of the main guests at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival

Ken Loach, photo: Cornerhouse, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Preparations are already in full swing for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which gets underway in the West Bohemian spa town in early July. Among the main guests at the 52nd edition of the event will be British director Ken Loach and US composer James Newton Howard, who wrote scores for countless Hollywood movies. I spoke to the festival’s programme coordinator Anna Purkrábková about this years’ programme and I first asked her about the festival’s special sections:

Ken Loach,  photo: Cornerhouse,  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“One of the main tributes we are organising is dedicated to Kenji Mizoguchi, one of the most respected figures not only of Asian cinema, but also worldwide.. We will screen 11 films, which are mapping his career, and we will screen them mostly from 35-mm prints.

As for the Czech cinema, we prepared a tribute to Jiří Brdečka, director, screenwriter and also an artist. We will screen the film called Limonádový Joe or a Horse Opera, which he wrote scrip for, it is one of the most popular Czech films of all time. We also prepared a tribute completed from his short films, also screened from restored films.”

You’ve just announced that one of your main guests will be British director Ken Loach, who I believe has strong ties to Karlovy Vary international film festival.

“Yes. In 1968, the actress Carol White starring in his film Poor Cow was awarded at the festival. Two years later, his film Kes won the main prize and Ken Loach was personally there to pick it up. So we are happy to welcome him some 40 years later and give him the Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema.”

Among those receiving the Crystal Globe will also be Ken Loach’s long-time screenwriter Paul Laverty and also U.S. composer James Newton Howard. Is it true that the public will actually get a chance to see the composer?

“That’s right. We are continuing in the tradition of celebrating the start of the festival in front of the Thermal Hotel, so not only the invited guests but also all the visitors to Karlovy Vary are certainly welcome. They will have a chance to listen to the melodies composed by James Newton Howard and he will also introduce the world premiere of the music for the second part of the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

It's over two months now to the beginning of the festival. How close is the programme to completion?

“At the moment, all the programmes are closed at home, watching a lot of films and deciding about the last titles to be selected for the competitions. In a month we are going to Cannes film festival to select some of its highlights to show to the Czech audience.”