The KVIFF Group, a Czech Republic-based media group built around the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, has acquired a majority stake in Aerofilms, a leading arthouse distributor in the Czech Republic.
The purchase, which was executed via the group’s distribution arm, KVIFF Distribution, continues its expansion, seen most recently with the launch of the KVIFF TV streaming platform, and fueled by investment by Jakub Havrlant’s Rockaway Capital. The move will up the content offered by KVIFF.TV to more than 500 titles.
The KVIFF Group also has an event’s arm, KVIFF Events, which last month staged the film and live music event Variations, in collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic. Other events include the Pragueshorts Film Festival and KVIFF at Your Cinema, which takes films from the Karlovy Vary festival to regional cinemas in the Czech Republic.
Aerofilms, which has released 170 films in Czech movie theaters since its founding in 2006, also operates its own internet VOD platform, Aerovod, whose catalog will now also be used by the KVIFF.TV online platform. Aerofilms will join forces with KVIFF Distribution, with the objective of increasing the synergy between the festival and online and cinema distribution, and together they will look to distribute films across the entire Central and Eastern Europe region.
Aerofilms’ CEO Ivo Andrle, who will retain his position after the acquisition and will also take over as head of KVIFF.TV, said: “I am glad that we are fundamentally strengthening the cooperation with KVIFF that we have been successfully testing on multiple levels over the past few years. The combination of festival, theatrical, and online activities under one roof creates a unique opportunity for us to offer a far wider range of independent cinematic content. I am convinced that the teaming up of KVIFF Distribution and Aerofilms will benefit audiences and filmmakers in the Czech Republic and beyond.”
The festival’s executive director, Kryštof Mucha, and artistic director, Karel Och, commented: “Over the past year, we have verified that we are capable of offering film fans and visitors to Karlovy Vary other, equally successful, projects. The start of new activities, such as KVIFF.TV and Variations, has shown that such projects have a great future. Our acquisition of Aerofilms is another step in our long-term plans in the field of distribution, not just in the Czech Republic but throughout Central and Eastern Europe.”
Jan Jírovec, Rockaway Capital’s investment partner, and a member of the board of KVIFF Group, said: “Rockaway Capital and the Karlovy Vary Festival have their first joint year behind them and I can say that it has been very successful. We have found synergy between both teams and are building a strong brand that we plan to combine with many other activities throughout the entire year. Our acquisition of Aerofilms is one such activity, but we’re not stopping there. Rockaway is ready to connect other projects, to support cultural events, and to continue to expand the KVIFF Group.”