A double interview with the executive director of the Karlovy Vary film festival, Kryštof Mucha, and Rockaway investment partner Jan Jírovec about the upcoming 55th festival, the future, and the connection between…
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is busy with preparations for the post-poned 55th annual festival, and despite the difficult times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, has a new strategic investor, Jakub Havrlant’s Rockaway Capital Group, which would thus like to support the film industry in the Czech Republic and Central Europe.
The Karlovy Vary festival has had a difficult year. Due to the pandemic the planned 55th annual festival was cancelled, and in the end so was a special edition of the festival, the 54½ Karlovy Vary IFF, which had been slated to take place in November. On the other hand, the interest of film fans was affirmed by the success of the unique Your Cinema showcase, during which 16 films were shown in 96 cinemas across the Czech Republic and attended by almost 37,000 viewers.
Rockaway Capital’s strategic investment in Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary, the festival’s organizer, will ensure stability while opening up new opportunities for development.
No changes will occur to KV IFF senior management, with Jiří Bartoška staying on as president and Chairman of the Board of FSFKV. The role of the festival’s existing management team will be enhanced, ensuring the continuity of its long-term vision. It’s artistic director is Karel Och, and executive director Kryštof Mucha will now also join the board of directors of Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary.
“This year, a difficult and unpredictable one, showed us how important it is to have strong partners on our side, who will support us even when film festivals all over the world are being cancelled due to the coronavirus. I took the opportunity to invite a strategic investor who will help us move the festival forward in both organizational and artistic terms. In addition, our relationship with Jakub Havrlant and Rockaway Capital has been a long-term one and we know them well. MALL.cz, which is part of Rockaway’s portfolio, has been a partner of the festival for four years now,” says KVIFF president Jiří Bartoška.
For Rockaway Capital, this isn’t the first active role in the area of film and art. Its portfolio includes Mall.tv, which produced the first Czech series to receive an international Emmy Award – #martyisdead, in the short-form series category, or for example Gjirafa and its platform for streaming video content, gjirafaVideo, which is a leader on the Balkan market. Rockaway’s aim is to use this experience, support the film industry in the Czech Republic and Central Europe and further actively develop activities related to the festival.
Aside from traditional festival activities, the organizers of the KVIFF want to focus on developing the KVIFF.TV platform, which will feature art films and during the festival also its own exclusive content. The organizers also want to broaden existing distribution activity through a strategic partnership with Aerofilms, and develop projects and programmes focused on providing young and talented creators with a base for their growth as filmmakers. At the same time, they want to utilize the potential of Karlovy Vary and the entire region to produce other cultural and social projects and events.
“I’m thrilled and at the same time have huge respect for the fact that we can be part of one of the most prestigious events in the Czech Republic. I am sincerely looking forward to working with Jiří Bartoška and his excellent team, and I’m confident that when we find synergy, we can also help modernize the festival going forward,” adds founder and CEO of Rockaway Capital, Jakub Havrlant.