They say that who hasn’t been in Karlovy Vary (for the film festival), is as good as nonexistent. I haven’t been there this time - in fact I stopped going years ago, even though I think it's one of the most prestigious events of the year, which tries to keep an international level. The organizers still believe that the festival is mainly about films. And of course about the actors... I wish it were true.
I'm glad I don't go there anymore. Had I been there, I would have had to literally run a bullet through my head. Because, unlike Czech pseudo-celebrities, I “love shooting”. I’m saying this to point out the absurdity of this year's scandal around Česká zbrojovka. This time, the company sponsored the International Film Festival, together with Vodafone, Korunní, Nespresso, Dermacol, Philip Morris and other brands. But the VIPs seem to be somehow bothered by an arms factory being on the list...
Czech celebrities are accustomed to the fact that their presence on the red carpet and then in Pupp doesn’t cost them anything, but they fail to realize that the ever-flowing champagne and caviar served on silver trays doesn’t grow on trees. Someone has to pay for it.
So when someone, such as Aňa Geislerová, along with 39 other people involved in the film industry, writes an open letter to the IFFK leadership, that is directly to Mr. Jiří Bartošek, asking for the next year to be held without the support of Česká zbrojovka, it makes me want to chuckle. It is not easy to gain sponsors, I believe that the organizers get a little wet behind their ears every year, when trying to find patrons. Because no matter how you look at it, Vary still can’t compare to Cannes or the Oscars.
"We are convinced that human rights should always stand above business, and would rather participate in a more modest, but even prouder celebration of cinematography in the Czech Republic,"
Seriously? Has any of you ever been at the opening party at the Pupp Hotel and then at the Bechers Bar? Well, I have. Several times. And I can testify that this level of luxury can be compared to parties anywhere abroad. Literally anywhere. And the only ones who always finds something to complain about, something that’s missing or something that shouldn’t have been there, are the VIP guests.
And the very same VIP guests always end up drunk under the table, wander up and down the colonnade in the early morning hours screaming like idiots, and eventually jump into the fountain. Because, you know, what could be more fun than bathing fully clothed in a local stream - or worse, naked in the fountain. I get it, the pool in Termal has been out of order for several years. Of course, the never-sleeping paparazzi are having a field day and their superiors are rubbing their hands in delight, knowing that the next issue will sell like hot cakes. Everyone wants to see these huge stars like Geislerová, Vilhelmová or Macháček in regrettable situations. It’s nice to see they’re only human, after all.
Moving on: some of our actors may be known abroad because of a particular role or award, (let’s not mention Roden, he is a MASTER actor who really asserted himself abroad), BUT... Česká zbrojovka?
Yes, Česká zbrojovka may be producing weapons that evoke violence and death in people’s minds, and God knows how many spiteful “hashtags” the filmmakers labeled the company with, but let’s make one thing clear: the brand has an excellent reputation among people not only here, but mainly internationally. And it certainly isn’t due to having caused the deaths of millions of people...
On the contrary, a weapon from Česká zbrojovka is a unique piece, which should be kept in a safe, not used on the battlefield! After all, the US president Donald Trump has just recently received one of these guns as a gift from Andrej Babiš. The king of Jordan or George W. Bush also found liking in weapons from the Czech company. That is to say, the idea of weapons in general may not be in line with today's mainstream thinking, when everyone wants peace, freedom, and a tidy planet, but weapons have always been around and that won’t change. And, unlike most Czech actors, Česká zbrojovka is not totally unknown beyond our borders!
That’s why I give the We love shooting marketing scheme a thumb up. Starlets of the Czech show business should suck it up, lay low and pray for the next festival in Vary to take place! Because once they’ve started, they could easily attack other festival partners in the same way. Doesn’t it bother anyone that Philip Morris sells cigarettes that kill thousands of people worldwide every year? Really? And how about Sazka? How many people are addicted to gambling? BMW - don’t car engines pollute the air we breathe? And the list doesn’t end here...
Personally, I see the scenario of the next, 55th anniversary year of the festival in a better light. All of us, the actors included, will bring snacks in our backpacks, fill glass bottles with clear water directly from the Karlovy Vary mineral springs and get on our bikes. Instead of red carpets, fancy robes and animal-tested make-up, a modest, environmentally friendly vegan party will take place. Mrs. Bartošková might even bake something, gluten-free, of course. All in line with the actors’ wishes. A more modest festival without weapons, alcohol and artificially produced drugs. Just pure nature, love all around us and, of course, great movies.