PRAGUE — Oops.
After firing the entire Foundation Board of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Sept. 16, the city of Karlovy Vary and founding board partner Grand Hotel Pupp decided that, maybe, it didn’t really mean it.
Foundation and festival president Jiri Bartoska and program director Eva Zaoralova no longer sit on the foundation board — 11 Karlovy Vary residents now hold the seats — but the new board said it wants to open discussions about continuing to work with the festival management team.
At issue is a new law that prohibits foundations from running enterprises. Fest reps suggested setting up a shareholding company to take over the administration, but there was so much foot-dragging over the issue that it was too late to get a new company registered in time to put together next year’s festival.
Bartoska and fest managing director Rudolf Biermann took matters into their own hands and offered their own new (already registered) shareholding company to the foundation. That’s when the founding members took a 10-minute recess and came back with the news that they were dissolving the board.
Relations between the festival and the spa town have not been ideal in recent years.
The city offers only minimal financial support to the festival (in the form of free electric bills and the like), and the festival itself often is used as a pawn in the internal politics of the town council.
“Perhaps now they will be satisfied, because the people of Karlovy Vary had the feeling they weren’t part of the festival,” Zaoralova told Daily Variety. “Maybe this gives them the illusion of power.¨
Bartoska and Biermann said the festival team is maintaining a united front in its negotiations with the new board.