Pix picked for Czech-off

Karlovy Vary lines up competish, top exex for panels

The Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s producer Rudolf Biermann and program director Eva Zaoralova made the most of their Cannes visit, locking up commitments for several official selections for the Czech resort fest’s unspooling July 3-11, while also snagging several major business execs for their financing and production panels.

“Sekal Has to Die” by award-winning Czech helmer Vladimir Michalek will take competition’s opening night slot, while the Minnie Driver-starrer, “The Governess” and Jacque Rivette’s “I. Secret Defense” have been added to the competition as well. “Sekal” is unspooling at Cannes in a first-peek for distributors private screening today at the Ambassades.

The fest has also lined up Michael Di Jiacomo’s “Animals” for an official out of competition spot. Biermann also announced the fest’s plan to screen “Casablanca” in honor of Warner Bros.’ 75th anni celebrations this year.

Even more impressively, the venerable fest, now in its fifth year of private management after decades of state control, has made a giant leap into the world of film commerce, skedding major showbiz panelists to meet with more than 80 film producers from the region. Confirmed participants include producer Saul Zaentz, New Line’s Sara Risher, U.K. producer Lynda Myles, new CLT-Ufa-alligned producer Chris Sievernich, October prexy Bingham Ray, Miramax’s Teresa Maneo, Strand Releasing’s John Gerrans and the Samuel Goldwyn Co.’s Sarah Rose.

This is in addition to the previously announced Shooting Gallery tribute that is bringing in prexy Larry Meistrich as well as the “career contribution” honors for Michael Douglas.

The recently ailing Czech president, Vaclav Havel, is also skedded to come in from Prague.

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