World premiere of 'Zátopek' to open annual Karlovy Vary Film Festival

The legendary Czech runner is the subject of this 2021 biopic; celebrity guests are likely to be announced last minute. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.06.2021 10:54:00 (updated on 30.06.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to be held in this West Bohemian spa town on August 20-28, will open with the world premiere of "Zátopek," a film biopic of the legendary Czech runner, directed by David Ondříček, festival president Jiří Bartoška told reporters Tuesday.

Václav Neužil and Martha Issová will appear in the leading roles of the four-time Olympic winner, Emil Zátopek (1922-2000), and his wife, Dana Zátopková (1922-2020), a javelin thrower and an Olympic gold and silver medalist.

The Karlovy Vary film festival was postponed from early July until the end of August due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Last year, it was canceled completely due to the pandemic.

This year, the event will offer 32 film premieres in the Main Competition and the East of the West competition section and in its off-competition program.

The festival will also pay tribute to The Film Foundation, an NGO established by American film-maker Martin Scorsese in 1990. A dozen unique films made from the 1930s till the 1990s not only in the U.S., but also in other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Mexico, Taiwan, and Morocco, will be screened as part of this event.

Organizers have not yet announced possible festival guests.

"Man proposes, God disposes. Some new pieces of information emerge every two weeks and this year's guests will be rather the 'last minute' ones, they will decide according to the development of the situation. As (festival artistic director) Karel Och has put it, delegations are arriving with films and we will do our utmost for them to arrive in a safe zone. We will respect all given conditions," Bartoska told CTK.

For the first time, the competition sections of the Karlovy Vary festival will also open to documentary films, along with feature ones.

Organizers yesterday introduced the films in the festival competitions, including "The Bird Atlas" by Slovenian Olmo Omerzu, living and working in the Czech Republic, and the world premiere of "Boiling Point" by British director Philip Barantini.

The festival team will present the other part of the programme, the off-competition selection of the most interesting films made in 2020 and 2021, two weeks ahead of the festival.

The festival previously had an annual budget of CZK 130 million. The previous festival in 2019 received a state subsidy of CZK 30 million plus eight million from the region and the town of Karlovy Vary each.

The town gave 2.5 million and the region 1.5 million to the festival last year when the international event was not held in Karlovy Vary due to the epidemic and a shorter non-competition film event entitled "54 1/2 International Film Festival Karlovy Vary" planned there last November had to be scrapped, too, amid the surging second wave.

However, the festival organizers prepared the Tady Vary event presenting 16 films, originally selected for the international festival's program, which was screened in 96 cinemas across the Czech Republic last July.

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