Karlovy Vary Festival Winners: ‘Summer With Hope’ Wins Grand Prix

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Sadaf Foroughi’s Iran-set feature Summer With Hope has clinched the Grand Prix award in the main Crystal Globe Competition of the 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, running July 1-9.

The social drama revolves around a young swimming champion whose close bond with his trainer sparks disapproval from people around them.

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Summer With Hope is Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Foroughi’s second film after Ava which debuted at Toronto in 2017, winning the Fipresci international critics prize.

KVIFF’s Grand Prix comes with a $25,000 cash prize to be shared equally between the director and producer.  Kiarash Anvari of Toronto-based First Generation Films is the lead producer on the film.

This year’s Crystal Globe competition jury comprised Argentinian film producer Benjamin Domenech, German filmmaker Jan-Ole Gerster, Polish distributor and festival organiser Roman Gutek, international sales agent and producer Fiorella Moretti and Danish film editor and screenwriter Molly Malene Stensgaard.

In other main competition awards, the $15,000 Special Jury Prize went to Spanish director Jonás Trueba’s You Have To Come And See It, following two couples in their thirties as they discuss the essentials of life between Madrid and the neighbouring countryside.

Czech director Beata Parkanová and actor Martin Finger won best director and best actor respectively for Word. Set against the backdrop of the events surrounding the Russian invasion of the Czech Republic in 1968, Finger plays a respected small-town notary and family man who comes under pressure to join the local branch of the Communist Party against his wishes.

The Best Actress Award was shared by Taki Mumladze and Mariam Khundadze for their performances in Georgian director Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze’s female emancipation drama A Room Of My Own.

Czech director Štěpán FOK Vodrážka’s PSH Neverending Story, about three legendary rappers on the cusp of middle age, clinched the audience award.

This year marked the inaugural edition of KVIFF’s new Proxima competition. Czech directorial duo Adela Komrzy and Tomas Bojar won the top $15,000 Proxima Grand Prix.

The Proxima jury comprised Filipino producer Bianca Balbuena, Icelandic documentarist Yrsa Roca Fannberg, Czech music journalist, filmmaker and writer Pavel Klusák, US distributor Michael Rosenberg and Ukrainian film director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy.

In other Proxima prizes, Spanish actor and director Eduardo Casanova won the $10,000 Special Jury Prize for La Pietà and The Uncle by Croatian directors David Kapac and Andrija Mardesic was feted with a Special Jury Mention.

A trio of honorary awards were also presented at KVIFF’s closing ceremony.

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush was feted with a Crystal Globe For Outstanding Artistic Contribution To World Cinema, Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro, with the Festival President’s Award, and veteran Czech actor Boleslav Polivka with the Festival President’s Award For Contribution To Czech Cinematography.

In collateral prizes, the Bulgarian feature documentary A Provincial Hospital won the Ecumenical Jury Award and Polish director Anna Kazejak’s camping holiday comedy-drama Fucking Bornholm clinched the Europa Cinema Label Award.

The Fipresci best film awards in the Crystal and Proxima competitions went to Polish director Tomasz Winski’s Borders Of Love and Czech observational documentary Art Talent Show respectively.

This was the first full-scale edition of KVIFF since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The event showcased 170 short and feature-length films in total and welcomed 10,592 accredited guests.

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