Every year, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival welcomes a variety of activities to support charity projects, and strives to present and support the work of people who, despite their disabilities, create interesting things. This year, the festival will host a nontraditional series of films entitled Mental Power Prague Film Festival, which offers “other” people a chance at self-realization. The results are often highly exceptional film stories made and acted with tremendous enthusiasm, passion, and candor by people with mental or physical afflictions.
This special festival creates space for original film works by people with disabilities. The movies are not based on shallow scripts, but on words which cannot help but move, because in many cases the actors themselves are expressing them for the very first time. Every step is a struggle, every scene a newfound expression, a moving pop-up picture book assembled from joy and pain and expressed in the faces of the (non)actors. They joke with the camera and create pictures of diverse colors and tastes that they then nonchalantly submit to the viewer.
The project, awarded the “Bridges 2008” prize, connects the mainland of classic film to an island which is often a handicapped person’s entire world. It presents their art to the world, and allows them the space to look around for themselves and experience positions that are new to them. Film affords room for many kinds of artistic expression, offering diverse possibilities for statement and interpretation. Film has thus become the instrument of choice to help those with disabilities progress. To a certain extent, it influences their abilities and self-expression, and at the same time provides the viewer a new way to perceive not only those around them but even themselves.
Karlovy Vary will feature three exemplary films from the wide range offered by the Mental Power Prague Film Festival. We have chosen films which best reflect the explicit direction and thinking of the festival: The Hombredo, Little Red Caroline or How the Wolf Remained a Wolf and the People Remained Human, and Articapped.
The third official edition of the festival will take place June 4-6, 2009 at the Palace Theater on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, and actress Tatiana Vilhelmová has lent her face to the project. The festival is being organized with the support of the Czech National Disability Council, under the auspices of Prague mayor Pavel Bém.