Jiří Bartoška (*1947), Czech Republic
Contribution to the dialogue of national culture
Jiří Bartoška is one of the most popular film and theatre actors in the Czech Republic. After graduating from Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno, he launched his acting career at “Divadlo Husa na provázku” in 1972. He went on to “Činoherní studio” in Ústi nad Labem before engaging at Prague’s “Divadlo Na zábradlí” in 1978. He has regularly performed at “Divadlo Bez zábradlí” since 1991 and recently won critical acclaim for his role in “Jacques and His Master”. His characters from several popular Czechoslovak television shows brought him national fame: “Malý pitaval z velkého města”, “My všichni školou povinni” and especially “Sanitka”. He has played in nearly thirty films. While the country was still under communism, he signed a petition calling for the release of Václav Havel from prison and a “Charter 77” petition titled “Několik vět” (A Few Sentences). He co-founded the Civic Forum and was one of Havel’s closest associates. He has been the president of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival since 1994 and is greatly credited with turning the event into one of the most popular festivals in the world. Each year the festival welcomes stars such as Michael Douglas, Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon as well as famous filmmakers from around the world. The special, intimate atmosphere of this “big little festival” is especially popular among the hundreds of thousands of film fans who have converged on the spa town since the mid-1990s.