Stefan Arsenijevic won the main prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. In this contemporary story, African immigrants play the role of Serbian national heroes.
Migration drama “As Far as I Can Walk,” directed by Stefan Arsenijevic, won the top prize at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Saturday, commended by the critics for its nuanced portrayal of the realities of refugees’ lives.
The film is the second feature from Serbian director Stefan Arsenijevic, Oscar-nominated for his 2003 short “A)Torsion”, following his full-length debut “Love and Other Crimes” (2008).
The Karlovy Vary jury thought the 13-year gap between features was worth the wait, giving its top honor, as well as the accompanying €25,000 ($30,000) cash bursary for the 2021 Crystal Globe to Arsenijevic and his producer Strahinja Banovic. Ibrahim Koma also took Karlovy Vary’s best actor honor for his starring performance in the film.
“I want to make a hundred movies with you,” Koma told the Hotel Thermal gala audience, praising Arsenijevic as a director who can “see everything” in an actor.
The gala at the signature 1970s structure rounded out a fest edition somewhat subdued as COVID restrictions on travel limited the usual number of foreign guests and rain fell throughout the week while more than 9,000 fans attended screenings of 144 films, a number markedly down from the usual assortment.
Karlovy Vary’s special jury prize went to Every Single Minute, Erika Hnikova’s documentary about a family obsessed with raising the perfect child, while Dietrich Brüggemann took the festival’s best director honor for his German-language dramedy “Nö”.
Best actress honors went to Canadian Éléonore Loiselle for her starring performance in Nicolas Roy’s Wars, in which she plays a female soldier struggling in a male-dominated world.
Karlovy Vary’s audience award went to “Zatopek”, a sports drama from Czech director David Ondricek about a fateful meeting in 1968 between Australian runner Ron Clarke, at the time the world record holder, and his old friend and role model, legendary Czech long-distance runner Emil Zatopek.
The Hungarian director Hajni Kis’s film “Wild Roots” also took part in the festival.