KVIFF 2023: Wrap-Up and Awards | Festivals & Awards

KVIFF was also filled with wonderful retrospectives. “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” Peter Weir’s feast of masculine tenderness wrapped in a nautical epic, screened in 35mm. John Cassavetes’ romantic screwball “Minnie and Moskowitz” was also shown. But the major highlight was curator Joseph Fahim’s richly programmed series on mid-century Japanese author Yasuzo Masumura (1924 – 1986). Of the eleven films from Masamura films that played, I was lucky to see four: “Red Angel,” “The Blue Sky Maiden,” “Hoodlum Soldier,” and “A Wife’s Confession.” Even the small taste I got of the series clued me into how adaptable and precise of a filmmaker Masamura could be, particularly while critiquing the Japanese army’s actions during World War II, the concept of the nuclear family, and the country’s antiquated gender roles.

During the closing night ceremony—whereby a screening of Bobby Farrelly’s “Champions” occurred—several deserving pictures were honored: Bulgarian filmmaker Stephan Komandarev’s “Blaga’s Lessons” won the Grand Prix award in the main Crystal Globe Competition; Behrooz Karamizade’s “Empty Nets” took home the Special Jury Prize; director Babak Jalali claimed Best Director for his black and white shot indie “Fremont;” and Herbert Nordrum received Best Actor for “The Hypnosis.” Eli Skorcheva took Best Actress for her performance in “Blaga’s Lessons,” Cyril Aris’ documentary “Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano” landed a special Jury mention,” and Vincent Perez’ “The Edge of the Blade” took home the PRÁVO audience award.

In the Proxima competition, South Korean filmmaker Yoo Ji-young won the top $15,000 Grand Prix for “Birth.” Indian director Saurav Rai won the $10,000 Special Jury Prize for “Guras.” Czech director Albert Hospodářský’s “Brutal Heat” gained a Special Jury Mention.

Academy Award-winning actor Russel Crowe received the Crystal Globe For Outstanding Artistic Contribution To World Cinema, while Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, Ewan McGregor, and Robin Wright were honored with the Festival President’s Award. Czech actress Daniela Kolářová accepted the Festival President’s Award For Contribution To Czech Cinematography (cinematography stands as a synonym for the entire craft of cinema).