Bulgarian drama Blaga's Lessons wins top prize at Karlovy Vary film fest

Director Stephan Komandarev was presented with a Crystal Globe as the Czech Republic's biggest film festival came to a close on Saturday evening.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.07.2023 09:43:00 (updated on 10.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Bulgarian-German film Blaga's Lessons from director Stephan Komandarev has won the Crystal Globe, the grand prize of the main competition at this year's Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

The director was presented the Crystal Globe by festival president Jiří Bartoška for his social drama that focuses on vulnerable senior citizens at the festival's closing ceremony last evening. The grand prize of the main competition comes with an award of $25,000 (about CZK 550,000).

The Special Jury Award, which brings a reward of $15,000 (around CZK 325,000), went to the German-Iranian film Empty Nets. Behrouz Karamizadeh's feature debut is a realistic drama set in contemporary Iran. The jury evaluated 11 films in the main competition.

Among the guests in the packed Grand Hall at the Thermal Hotel during last night's closing ceremony were Michal Lukeš, director of the National Museum in Prague, actress Eva Holubová, musician Michal Dvořák, and René Zavoral, director general of Czech Radio.

The ceremony was hosted by Marek Eben. The ceremony began with a routine by figure skaters from the Olympia Prague synchronized skating team, just like last week's opening ceremony of the festival.

The Best Director Award went to Babak Jalali for the American film Fremont. The film tells the story of an Afghan immigrant in the U.S. who toils in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.

Eli Skorcheva's performance as Blaga in the Crystal Globe-winning film Blaga's Lessons won her the Best Actress Award. The Best Actor Award went to Herbert Nordrum for his role in the Swedish-Norwegian-French film Hypnosis.

A Special Mention went to the German-Lebanese documentary Dancing on the Edge of A Volcano by Cyril Aris, which showcases the difficulties of filmmakers shooting in contemporary Lebanon after the explosion in the port of Beirut. The Audience Award went to the French historical film Edge of the Blade by Vincent Perez.

In the Proxima competition, the Grand Prix went to the South Korean film Birth, about a young writer's unplanned pregnancy. The Special Jury Award in the Proxima Competition went to Guras, an Indian-Nepalese mystical odyssey about the pain of loss and the differences in mourning between children and adults.

The Czech disaster film Brutal Heat, directed by Albert Hospodářský, received a special mention from the jury in this competition. Alongside the main competition, Proxima is the second competition section of the festival. It is a space for filmmakers waiting to be discovered as well as for renowned filmmakers looking for new definitions of their work. Unlike its predecessor, the East of the West competition, Proxima is open to work from all over the world.

The 58th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will take place from June 28 to July 6, 2024.

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