Iran-Set Teen Drama ‘Summer With Hope’ Wins Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

Iran-set coming-of-age story “Summer With Hope” won the top prize at the 56th Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, winning over the Crystal Globe jury with its story of youthful competitive swimmer Omid as he struggles to train for a risky ocean competition.

The film, directed and written by Iranian-Canadian Sadaf Foroughi, is her sophomore feature, following up on 2017 teen drama “Ava.” The Karlovy Vary prize comes with $25,000.

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The closing night gala, which filled the Grand Hall of the storied Hotel Thermal in the western Czech spa town, saw several honorees commenting on the critical issue of artistic freedom and urging solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Benicio Del Toro, honored with the fest president’s prize, praised Karlovy Vary for hosting the Odesa film fest’s work-in-progress event this year, saying, the support would help “ensure another culture won’t be a casualty of war.” He also thanked film audiences, describing them as “people like you, who breathe life into these movies with every viewing.”

Geoffrey Rush, at the ceremony to be honored with a lifetime achievement award, recalled his past film shoots in the Czech Republic for “Les Miserables” and the “Genius” National Geographic series in which he played Albert Einstein, adding he felt his greatest honor was being invited “into this prismatic, inspirational world of Bohemia.”

He also cited Czech director Milos Forman, the playwright Karel Capek and Vaclav Havel – along with the theater work of actor Bolek Polivka – as artistic founts from which he has drawn lessons since his early career days.

The fest honored Polivka with a lifetime achievement award.

The brisk yet redolent Spanish study of friends “You Have to Come and See It,” directed by Jonás Trueba, won the special jury prize and $15,000 for its ironic, philosophical portrayal of a country outing by Madrid city folk.

Czech filmmaker Beata Parkanová won the director prize for “The Word,” a Czech/Slovak/Polish co-production and her original story of a small-town notary – Martin Finger, who also took the actor prize – and his wife, Gabriela Mikulková, who stand up to political pressure under the repressive pre-1989 regime, at great personal cost.

Georgians Taki Mumladze and Mariam Khundadze shared best actress honors for their roles as restless young women coping with claustrophobia and sexual frustration in Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze’s German/Georgian convention-breaking drama “A Room of My Own.

The nine-day festival, arguably Central Europe’s most spectacular, wrapped Saturday night, capping a week of 170 films screened in mostly packed halls, with a total 10,000-plus visitors.

The Právo audience award went to Czech rockumentary “PSH Neverending Story,” Štěpán FOK Vodrážka’s free-wheeling account of three Prague rapper heroes, Orion, Vladimir 518 and Mike Trafik, who as Peneři strýčka Homeboye (Uncle Homeboy’s Hoboes), made waves for decades in local clubs, parties and tabloid headlines.

The Karlovy Vary fest’s new Proxima competition – which has evolved from the former East of the West section, opening it up to global indie filmmakers doing remarkable work – honored the Czech doc “Art Talent Show,” directed by Adéla Komrzý and Tomáš Bojar, the chronicle of art school competitive spirit, with its top prize and $15,000. The filmmakers pledged to send the funds to support urgent war victim needs in Ukraine.

The film also won a FIPRESCI prize, as did Official Selection film “Borders of Love,” an offbeat Czech/Polish look at open relationships directed by Tomasz Wiński.

“La Pietà,” a Spanish/Argentinian look at home life in hell directed by Eduardo Casanova, took the Proxima special jury prize and $10,000 while Croatian/Serbian 80s-set family story “The Uncle,” directed by David Kapac and Andrija Mardešić, had a special jury mention.

The Ecumenical Jury Award went to observational doc “A Provincial Hospital,” a Bulgarian/German production directed by Ilian Metev, Ivan Chertov and Zlatina Teneva, while the Europa Cinemas Label Award honored Polish holiday polemic “Fucking Bornholm,” directed by Anna Kazejak.

56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival winners
Best film
“Summer With Hope”
Directed by Sadaf Foroughi
Canada, Iran

Special jury prize
“You Have to Come and See It”
Directed by Jonás Trueba

Beata Parkanová
“The Word”
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland

Taki Mumladze and Mariam Khundadze
“A Room of My Own”
Georgia, Germany

Martin Finger
“The Word”
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland

Právo audience award
“PSH Neverending Story”
Director: Štěpán FOK Vodrážka
Czech Republic

Proxima Grand Prix
“Art Talent Show”
Directed by Adéla Komrzý, Tomáš Bojar
Czech Republic

Proxima special jury prize
“La Pietà”
Directed by Eduardo Casanova
Spain, Argentina

Proxima special jury mention
“The Uncle”
Directed by David Kapac, Andrija Mardešić
Croatia, Serbia

Ecumenical jury award
“A Provincial Hospital”
Directed by Ilian Metev, Ivan Chertov, Zlatina Teneva
Bulgaria, Germany

Europa Cinemas Label award
“Fucking Bornholm”
Directed by Anna Kazejak

Crystal Globe competition
“Borders of Love”
Directed by Tomasz Wiński
Czech Republic, Poland

Proxima competition
“Art Talent Show”
Directed by Adéla Komrzý, Tomáš Bojar
Czech Republic

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