KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic — In a move to extend its reach, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival has opened a miniplex at its summer fest home in the west Bohemian spa town.
Karlovy Vary prez Jiri Bartoska opened the three-screen Kino Festival on March 8 with screenings of “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Kolya,” directed by two Czechs: emigre Milos Forman and local hero Jan Sverak.
Like other early efforts in the plex spurt that is hitting Central Europe, the new cinema takes advantage of existing facilities rather than constructing a new built-to-purpose plex.
And, as in the popular Galaxie multiplex in Prague, ticket prices are high: about 50% more than at other local cinemas.
However, unlike other plex operators, the Karlovy Vary Festival is not in business for the money. The management doesn’t expect to see a profit from the miniplex. Instead, said one source, the plex is more like a thank-you gift to the town of Karlovy Vary, which came to the fest’s financial rescue three years ago. The benefit of the cinema is seen as establishing the fest’s presence in the town year-round.
The miniplex is expected to be just the beginning of expanded operations by the Karlovy Vary Festival Foundation.
“This is the first time in three years that the Karlovy Vary Festival is operating in the black,” Bartoska told Daily Variety. “As we increase our sponsorship, we will increase our activities here in the areas of distribution or promotion of Czech films — whatever looks interesting to us.”