Karlovy Vary cues talk on int’l, local biz

Filmmakers eye co-prods, coin, product at fest

KARLOVY VARY — East European pics in development and international production in the Czech Republic were Tuesday’s panel topics at the midway point of the 38th Karlovy Vary film fest.

A major meeting place for East and West, Karlovy Vary is increasingly being used as a platform for producers who enjoy the low-key and easy-access hobnobbing.

Producers from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic presented films in various stages of development to an overflow audience of colleagues, press and fest programmers.

The presentation, held for the first time, was the brainchild of organizers of a similar Czech event in the spring.

The select group of attendees ranged from Oscar-nommed Czech helmer Jan Hrebejk, introducing his contemporary tragicomedy due to film in July and August, to Hungarian producer Gabor Varadi of Eurofilm, still seeking co-production partners on a pair of prestige films.

While the purpose of the panel was the exchange of information, the end results could be even more concrete, with at least some of the producers exchanging phone numbers for possible future cooperation.

A meeting on international production in the Czech Republic tackled another issue: how to keep the Czech bubble afloat. The association of Czech producers (APA) estimates that $300 million in production money (not to mention $100 million more in indirect investment) could flow into the country this year, up 50% up from the reported $200 million in 2002.

After years of pleading with the government to start a film commission, a group of government reps and leading film professionals gathered in Karlovy Vary on Sunday to work out the founding of a Czech Film Committee.

The first working groups will analyze economic benefits of the film industry and the logistics of shooting in the Czech Republic. Noting that this was a private initiative, as opposed to state-funded institutions of Western Europe, APA president Pavel Strnad said the APA will allocate a budget for the organization, working in cooperation with the mayor of Prague’s office.

The topic of production will continue Thursday, with a panel on East-West co-production organized by the Club of European Producers.

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