Category A status for a proposed new international film festival in Prague hasn’t officially been confirmed, but the impact of the proposal already is being felt in neighboring Karlovy Vary, where an international film fest has been a biannual tradition since 1948.

The local Karlovy Vary newspaper, Karlovarske Noviny, reported Dec. 21 that the controversy surrounding the status of the proposed new festival and possible decertification of the old one has even brought the Czech Republic’s prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, and other top government officials into the fray.

Karlovy Vary’s A-category status, a designation granted by the Paris-based Federation des Associations de Producteurs de Films (FIAPF), the international sanctioning body for the major film fests, is in jeopardy. Rules prohibit two “A” festivals-those fests deemed nonspecialist and competitive-in the same country.

According to the report in Karlovarske Noviny, the new fest will be called the Golden Golem Festival, named after the famous supernatural character from the German silent film “The Golem,” which was set in Prague. The fest is planned to unspool June 9-17, only a day apart from the still-scheduled Karlovy Vary fest.

Heading the efforts to launch the new fest are Karlovy Vary’s executive director Antonin Moskalyk-a noted Czech filmmaker-and Karlovy Vary general manager Stanislav Safr. The report says Czech film star Jiri Bartoska-the president of the Karlovy Vary foundation, which is the underwriting body behind that fest-has thrown his support behind Karlovy Vary.

Karlovy Vary is believed to be strapped for cash following the decision of the Czech government not to provide funding for any fest in the republic.

According to the article, “requests for support” for Karlovy Vary have gone all the way to the top of the government with positive results.

This conflicts with one source in the Czech Republic who spoke of the decertification of Karlovy Vary as a foregone conclusion, saying, “They didn’t make it,” in reference to that fest’s efforts to stave off the loss of t he FIAPF A-status.

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