Only two state-run Czech distribution companies will send buyers to the Berlin Film Festival this year.

Prague-based Lucernafilm, repped by director Jan Jira and the managers of its four distribution groups, is looking for comedies, horror and science-fiction films, which still are in short supply in Czechoslovakia.

Direct dealings

Jira, who took over the reins at Lucernafilm last May, confirmed that he would be seeking direct contacts with sellers, though he admitted he will continue using Czechoslovak Filmexport to bring some foreign films into the country.

Slovak Distribution Agency, based in Bratislava, is the only big competitor for Lucernafilm. Director Peter Kot and two executives will also be looking for genres lacking in the domestic market. Despite the considerably higher cost of going to Berlin this year, they claim to be quite optimistic.

Shorts a lengthy tradition

Czech short films have been a continuous presence at Berlin, and last year Jiri Menzel walked away with the top prize in competition for his long-banned “Larks On A String.” This year’s competition entry is “When The Stars Were Red,” a Slovak- French co-production set in the pre-revolution days. The film was directed by Dusan Trancik, who will also be responsible for sales in Berlin.

“Family Matters,” a dark drama about the victims of 1950s trials helmed by Jiri Svoboda, and “Forbidden Love,” a 44-minute docu on gay relations from the crusading filmmaker Vladislav Kvasnicka, will represent Czechoslovakia in the Panorama section.

Slapstick and cartoons

The short-film competition includes two Czech entries – a live-action slapstick comedy “That’s A Movie” by Kvotoslav Hecko, and a new animation short by Pavel Koutsky made as a private production and significantly called “Lexicon Of Philosophy – The Last 100 Years Of Marx- Leninism In Bohemia.” Koutsky will sell the film himself in Berlin.

Czechoslovak Filmexport will be repped at the fest topper by Jiri Janousek and two sales executives.

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