Karel Och: “If you want your film at our festival, just send it to us, even if it’s still unfinished”

On July 13, Karel Och, a member of the European Film Academy, director of the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, and this year’s jury member of the OIFF International Competition program, conducted an artistic meeting

“Together with the team, I'm in charge of the selection of films for the festival. I can say for sure that the main thing in our work is the team and its passion towards cinema”.

“We are one of the festivals that do not identify criteria for film selection. When you identify something clearly, you limit not only the films, but also yourself. In a year, your opinion and the films might go beyond this definition. After all, we are all human beings, and we change in the course of a year”.

“People often ask us why our program contains so few Czech films. One of the reasons is the Czech mentality. Sometimes we are too calm, too self-sufficient. We are a little lacking in energy, romanticism, and passion. Some say that art is flourishing in times of crisis, because art unites people. This can be seen from the example of Greece, which in recent years has suffered from a bad economic condition, but creates more and more interesting films. In the Czech Republic, synergy is not so powerful right now”.

“During the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, we have 1200 employees, but throughout the year - only 12. We are constantly inventing activities in order not to lose people from the team. Not everyone is able to work for half a year and then not to work at all. For example, we will have a short festival that will take place in winter. We also have a label of about 10 films a year. The additional formats allow us to give more work to the people whom we particularly appreciate and want to keep in the permanent team”.

“This year, film ‘My Thoughts Are Silent’ by Ukrainian filmmaker Antonio Lukic won the Special Prize at our film festival. Our team liked the film immediately, especially its script and humor. The festival’s audience also loved it. It has a certain charm, I think, and the team of this film has a great future”.

“If you want your film at our festival, just send it to us, even if it’s still unfinished. The main thing is the active communication. Right now, the demand for films from Eastern Europe is huge. This region has been increasingly present at international festivals of different scales. And we love this”.