Several world renowned directors set for this year's 41st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

In just over two weeks' time, one of the biggest annual cultural events in the Czech Republic will kick off. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the most important A-category film festival in central and eastern Europe, being held for the 41st time, will once again welcome hundreds of filmmakers and thousands of visitors to the picturesque spa town of Karlovy Vary - a unique location which no doubt contributes greatly to the festival's special atmosphere.

This year, the festival will open on June 30th with the world premiere of the film "Time" by renowned Korean director Kim Ki-duk who will present it himself in Karlovy Vary. Fifteen films will be competing for the Grand Prix - Crystal Globe for best feature film, and the Czech entry this year will be Jan Hrebejk's film "Kraska v nesnazich" or "Beauty in Trouble" which "tells of a love triangle between an ordinary young woman, her undeserving husband and a kind, elderly Czech-Italian".

Another of the main accolades of the festival is the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. Festival President Jiri Bartoska:

"At the close of the festival the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema will be awarded to Robert Shaye, the founder and one of the directors of New Line Cinema. The other two laureates will be Czech director Jan Nemec and American actor and director Andy Garcia who will present his directing feature debut 'The Lost City' in European premiere at the Karlovy Vary festival."

Jiri Bartoska and Eva Zaoralova,  photo: CTK
Among the other distinguished guests will be the French director and producer Luc Besson and American filmmaker Terry Gilliam - but as every year the festival organisers have been reluctant to reveal the names of the personalities they have invited. That is also partly because the Karlovy Vary festival is not about stars but about movies, says the festival's artistic director Eva Zaoralova. And here are some of her tips this year:

"I do have my favourites in the competition section, for example the French movie 'The Girl Is Mine' or the Argentinean 'El Destino'. Another of my favourites is the Polish feature 'Several People, Little Time' which I chose in October last year - the film will be presented by the Polish actress Krystyna Janda who is the number one actress in Poland though she is also well known in Europe, particularly in France."

Altogether, the festival will show over 230 feature films and documentaries. Fifteen of them will be screened in world premiere and 39 in international or European premiere. Also, this year, in association with the famous Sundance independent film festival, Karlovy Vary will present ten film highlights of Sundance, which was founded 25 years ago this year by Robert Redford.