CZECH REPUBLICJiri Bartoska, Czech matinee idol of stage, film, and television, as well as president of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival foundation, is about to wear another hat. He’s joining forces with Rudolf Biermann (Karlovy Vary general manager, to make his producing debut with “All My Loved Ones.” Signing on as co-producers are Polish thesp Olaf Lubasenko’s company Sting, and Slovak helmer Martin Sulik’s Titanic production company. Pubcaster Czech TV and CME Slovak station Markiza are also on board. A pair of local companies have expressed interest in taking on the distribution dealership for Warner Home Video in Slovakia. But the Czech headquarters for Warner Bros. says that it’s staying with Gregor, now that the Slovak dealer has paid up on its outstanding debt. “We’re observing the situation closely,” said Ladislav Stastny, managing director for Warner’s Czech office. “Slovakia has been a stable situation, but we’re viewing the Bonton expansion,” he said, referring to a pending merger of the Center for Czech Video with the Czech entertainment giant. The Center for Czech Video holds all video rights for films produced at Barrandov studios from 1964-1991, along with earlier choice titles and some Czech TV product. Sunfilm, a film distributor in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, releases its first pickup, Dutch Oscar-winner “Character,” in cinemas in January. Sunfilm does a double Dutch treat, with 1996 Oscar winner “Antonia’s Line” next in line for theatrical release. Sunfilm owner Zuzana Drazilova, co-founder of the one-year-old Prague Indies fest, said she plans to buy a minimum of 10 films per year, with initial focus on quality Euro and kids’ films. Drazilova will also pick up between 20-40 films for video distribution next year. AUSTRALIA Aussie producer-distrib Beyond has inked a three-year joint venture pact with Mullion Creek Prods. to develop TV projects, which Beyond will distrib globally. The pact, which formalizes the pair’s 10-year relationship with such pics as “The Great Wall of Iron,” “Sharks of Steel,” “The Space Shuttle” and “Flight Over the Equator,” also gives Beyond a first look at Mullion’s Imax films. Coming up on the Beyond-Mullion slate is “Diving for Pearls,” a Geoff Burton-helmed adaptation of Katherine Thomson’s classic Oz play, Discovery docu “Guitar” and Imax pic “Equus — The Story of the Horse.”
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