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Hronec to set up Film Europe TV

Founder sells stake in SPI Intl.

LONDON — Ivan Hronec, the founder of Central European distrib SPI Intl., is selling his stake in the company, and plans to set up a TV channel devoted to European movies, Film Europe TV.

The channel will be operated through Hronec’s other company Film Europe, which has webs in Slovakia and the Czech Rep., Kino CS, Doku CS and Muzika CS.

The company has offices in Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and London, and will shortly open another in Cannes.

“The idea is to create a new business model for distribution and production of European film as a whole eco-system. Film Europe TV — available on cable and satellite — will be part of that,” Hronec said.

A pilot based in Central Europe is planned for the second half of 2011.

“I don’t want to replicate festival programs. It will screen films from all European territories, reflecting the cinematography of those countries,” he said.

Acquisition deals for the channel would be based on a new model — combining an element of minimum guarantees, revenue sharing and incentives.

“The pan-European promotion the channel would offer a film from a country where films do not always get wide exposure could be a factored into a deal,” he said.

Hronec has already acquired titles that include “Mr Nice,” a British film about the drug dealer Howard Marks, and Serbian movie “The Belgrade Phantom,” based on the true Communist-era story of a car thief who steals a Porsche and eludes police through his superior driving skills.

SPI Intl. prexy Loni Farhi will continue to head the company, which distribs pics in Poland, Czech Rep., Slovakia and Hungary, and runs paybox Filmbox, which airs both arthouse and mainstream hits.

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