This end of June marks the beginning of the 57th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF), which will run from June 30 thru July 8. Based in the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary is among Europe’s most storied festivals ripe to quench cinephiles fascinated by the world and, more specifically, Eastern European cinema. This year’s Crystal Globe Competition will feature nine world and two international premiere works from Pascal Plante, Stephan Komandarev, Tinatin Kajrishvili, Babak Jalali (his film “Fremont,” playing at KVIFF, was a particular favorite of mine out of Sundance), and many others. Producer Dora Bouchoucha (“Red Satin” and “Buried Secrets”), actress Patricia Clarkson (“Pieces of April,” “Six Feet Under,” “Sharp Objects”), Senior Programmer and Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Sundance Film Festival John Nein, director Olmo Omerzu (‘Winter Flies”), and actor Barry Ward (“Jimmy’s Hall”) will serve as the competition’s jury. The Proxima Competition, in its second year of existence, will present ten world and two international premieres, nine of which are fictional features alongside two documentaries from filmmakers like Swiss auteur Thomas Imbach, Poland’s Olga Chajdas, Cyprus-born Kyros Papavassiliou, French filmmaker Émilie Brisavoine and Romanian documentarist Alexandru Solomon, etc. NRC critic and Rotterdam International Film Festival curator Dana Linssen, producer Marija Razgutė (“Slow” and “Runner”), director Šimon Šafránek (“King Skate”), author, curator, and head of Berlinale Forum Barbara Wurm, and CEO of Radiance Meng Xie will serve on the Proxima jury. Eight films will fill the Special Screening section, which includes Jean-Gabriel Périot’s “Facing Darkness” (he will be present to introduce the film) and Marija Kavtaradze’s “Slow.” Kavtaradze’s aching romance, “Slow,” was a Sundance highlight that tells the story of a sensual dancer who falls for an asexual sign language interpreter. “It has been an incredible adventure for the programming team to get acquainted with this year’s state of the arthouse cinema via almost two thousand submissions. We are proud of the selection and simply cannot wait to share it with the audience,” says Karel Och, KVIFF’s artistic director. As previously announced, the festival plans to award New Zealand-born, Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe its prestigious Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. A performance by Crowe’s band is also planned, along with a special screening of Peter Weir’s historical epic “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” The legendary Czech actress Daniela Kolářová will join Crowe and also receive the KVIFF President’s Award. The festival will also center on a celebration of contemporary Iranian cinema, featuring Nader Saeivar’s “No End,” Faeze Azizkhani’s “The Locust,” Danesh Eqbashav’s “Zapata,” and Negin Ahmad’s “Dream’s Gate.” There will also be a look back at the work of revered Japanese filmmaker Yasuzo Masumura (“The Blue Sky Maiden,” “A Wife’s Confession,” “All Mixed Up,” “Blind Beast,” etc.). For the full details of the festival’s competition titles, visit the official site of KVIFF.