The official selection of the 55th KVIFF, which takes place from 20 to 28 August, 2021, features 32 premieres. The films will make their bow in the fest’s two competitions and Special Screenings section. Karlovy Vary will also celebrate the work of The Film Foundation via an extensive tribute.

    In 2019, the festival adjusted the structure of its official selection by axing the documentary competition. The 2021 edition will formally see the updated version of the fest come into reality after the cancellation of last year’s edition. Feature-length documentaries are now, for the first time, incorporated into the two existing competitions – the Crystal Globe Competition and East of the West Competition – both previously restricted to fiction features only.

    Exclusive premieres and sneak previews of foreign and Czech films will continue to be presented in the Special Screenings section. The programming team has chosen eight diverse titles to spotlight. Heading the Special Screenings selection is the festival’s opening film, ZÁTOPEK, David Ondříček’s highly anticipated drama about four-time Olympic gold medalist, the runner Emil Zátopek, who is widely regarded as the most popular athlete in Czech Republic’s history. The film will premiere on August 20, 2021 in the Hotel Thermal Grand Hall on the opening night gala.

    This year’s sole retrospective is a tribute to the celebrated work of The Film Foundation. Established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese, the non-profit organization is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history, restoring to date over 900 classic works of cinema as well as less-known masterpieces from around the world. Ten carefully selected films produced between 1932 and 1991 and traversing the U.S., Côte d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Taiwan, and Morocco comprise what is the central program of the 2021 edition.

    KVIFF’s non-competitive programs, an assortment of some of the most notable films shown in 2020 and 2021 as chosen by the programming team, will be announced two weeks prior to 55th Karlovy Vary IFF’s starting date.

    KVIFF Eastern Promises Industry Days unveils 29 selected film projects showcased in the platform’s various strands: Works in Progress, Works in Development - Feature Launch, and First Cut+ Works. The event will take place entirely online between July 28 and August 12. This year’s winners will receive awards of a total value of 115.000 EUR.


    Atlas ptáků / Bird Atlas
    Director: Olmo Omerzu
    Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, 2021, 92 min, World premiere

    An ageing proprietor of a technology company (Miroslav Donutil) has dedicated his whole life to his work, so it comes as a big blow when things suddenly start to fall apart at the seams. Olmo Omerzu’s new film relies on persuasive character acting and his special brand of gentle irony to demonstrate that, in order to preserve our dignity, we occasionally need to lose face in the eyes of others.

    Boiling Point / Boiling Point
    Director: Philip Barantini

    United Kingdom, 2020, 94 min, World premiere

    The shift has hardly begun for head chef Andy and he’s already behind with everything. His restaurant is overbooked, there’s a disgruntled inspector combing the kitchen and, if that weren’t enough, a culinary icon and a respected food critic have turned up for dinner. Via a single, continuous shot, we are launched into what proves to be a very hectic evening… The superb Stephen Graham takes the lead role in a British film about anyone who’s ever been stressed out at work and got themselves into a stew.

    Ezmûn / The Exam
    Director: Shawkat Amin Korki

    Germany, Iraqi Kurdistan, Qatar, 2021, 89 min, World premiere

    If Rojin doesn’t pass the university entrance exam, she will have to go through with an arranged marriage. If she does get in, she will be free. This is the pronouncement of her father, the head of the family. Rojin’s older sister Shilan tries to help her as best she can, yet every well-meant action draws the young woman deeper into a web of deceit and lies. An absorbing drama and daring probe into the theme of a woman’s right to her own life.

    Guerres / Wars
    Director: Nicolas Roy
    Canada, 2021, 84 min, World premiere

    When Emma turns twenty, she decides to join the army. Not only does she want to follow in her father’s footsteps, but she also yearns to rid herself of an oppressive sense of existential emptiness. Although the army’s harsh discipline helps her break free, she slowly discovers that she cannot suppress all her emotions in this male society.

    Každá minuta života / Every Single Minute
    Director: Erika Hníková
    Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2021, 80 min, World premiere

    The Hanuliaks, a couple from Slovakia, have decided to bring up their son according to Kamevéda, a complex approach to developing the child’s motor abilities and intellect. Unique in its depth of focus, this reflection on child-rearing documents a year in the life of four-year-old Miško, where not a minute is wasted since there is no room for boredom and moments of rest are merely preparation for the next achievement.

    Láska pod kapotou / At Full Throttle
    Director: Miro Remo
    Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2021, 85 min, World premiere

    Fifty-something former miner Jaroslav has always dreamt of a career as a race car driver. In a congenial and jovial manner, he represents not only the charms and struggles (especially economic) of southeastern Moravia, but also the ever more visible chasm between city and countryside. An uncommonly charismatic portrait of a man struggling with the traumas of the past who, with disarming directness, clings to the promise of good luck and a dignified life alongside a new partner.

    Nö / Nö
    Director: Dietrich Brüggemann
    Germany, 2021, 119 min, World premiere

    Isn’t the trajectory of a shared life determined in advance? Get married, have kids, be like everyone else… According to Dietrich Brüggemann, who competed in Vary six years ago, 30-somethings conceivably have it all, yet they fail in their attempts to achieve their set ideals. Nö delivers a critique of contemporary values, while also highlighting the struggle to find and nurture love.

    Le Prince / Le Prince
    Director: Lisa Bierwirth

    Germany, 2021, 125 min, World premiere

    Perhaps they should never have met, but fate wanted otherwise. Monika and Joseph. She is a curator, he is an immigrant from Congo, a businessman with an unclear past and present. They meet during a police raid at a bar, when the first of many sparks flies between them. An understated love story, a melodrama without pathos, a fragile story about the ambiguous nature of love and the impossibility of overcoming it through reason.

    The full press release is available for downloading - Press Release 29/6/2021.