The film, a psychological drama set in the past, by Czech director Valclav Kadrnka’s stars Karel Roden.
Little Crusader won the Grand Prix at the closing Saturday of the 52nd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
The picture is a Czech psychological drama starring Karel Roden as a knight forced to confront his own deepest inner fears when his young son goes missing after running away from home inspired by stories of the Crusades.
It is the first time in 15 years that the festival’s famous Crystal Globe for main prize has gone to a Czech film. Vaclav Kadrnka’s film, a co-produciton with Slovakia and Italy, is based on an adaptation of a poem by Jaroslav Vrchilicky.
The last time a Czech director won was Petr Zelenka in 2002 for Year of the Devil, a film within a film about a Czech rock band.
The $25,000 prize money, in common with other Karlovy Vary festival awards, will be shared between the film’s producer and director, the festival said in a statement.
A special jury prize worth $15,000 went to Bosnian director Alen Drljevic’s Men Don’t Cry, about a group of Yugoslav civil war veteran gathering 20 years after the end of the conflict for a period of intensive trauma therapy.
Best director went to Slovakia’s Peter Bebjak for The Line, about a cigarette smuggling syndicate that works the Ukrainian border with Slovakia.
Best actress was jointly shared by Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire for their roles in Polish feature Birds Are Singing in Kigali, by Joana Kos-Krauze and her husband Krzyszstof Krauze, who died during the shooting, with his wife completing the film.
Best actor was Alexander Yatsenko for his role in Russian director Boris Khlebnikov’s Arrhythmia.
There was a special jury mention for best first feature for Rachel Israel’s touching story of an autistic couple finding love, Keep the Change. The film, which also picked up a FIPRSECI critics’ award, earned an enthusiastic standing ovation from more than 2,000 viewers when it screened in the festival’s grand hall.
Romanian actress Voica Oltean also earned a special mention for best newcomer for her part in Iulia Rugina’s Breaking News.
Russian director Alexander Hant’s gloriously titled How Viktor “the Garlic” Took Alexey ‘the Stud” to the Nursing Home, took top prize in the festival’s Eastern Europe-focused competition East of the West. There was a special jury prize for Georgian debut director Mariam Khatchvani’s Dede, an enchanting story of a disappearing way of life set in a mountain community.
Best documentary went to Spain’s Gustavo Salmeron’s Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle, with a special jury prize for Atelier de conversation by Austrian director Behnhad Braunstein.
The festival’s popular audience prize went to Taylor Sheridan’s Indian reservation murder thriller, Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner – who was in Karlovy Vary to receive the festival president’s award Saturday night.