FNE at KVIFF 2013: TV Moves into the Festival Spotlight

    "Burning  Bush", dir. Agnieszka  Holland "Burning Bush", dir. Agnieszka Holland

    KARLOVY VARY: The 48th Karlovy Vary IFF (www.kviff.com) gave a nod to the growing importance of TV in the film industry with screenings and panels that marked a first for the festival.

    The 48th Karlovy Vary IFF ( www.kviff.com) gave a nod to the growing importance of TV in the film industry with scree Jury president Agnieszka Holland presented her lauded HBO Europe (www.hbo-europe.com) 3-part TV film Burning Bush, and the festival closed with a gala screening of HBO’s Liberace film, Behind the Candelabra. Public broadcaster Czech TV (www.ceskatelevize.cz) had a high visibility spot on the spa town’s main pedestrian street with daily activities and meet-and-greet sessions. The station capped off the week by sharing the Audience Award as the coproducer of one of the first films to come out of its new independent film production programme, Revival directed by Alice Nellis and produced by IN Film (www.infilm.cz).

    For the industry, the must-attend event was a first-time panel that brought together some of the TV visionaries that are trying to move TV into the international coproduction arena. They include HBO Europe’s Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Production Anthony Root and Czech TV’s General Director Petr Dvorak.

    Dvorak, who headed the Czech Republic’s private broadcaster TV Nova, the flagship station of CME       (www.cetv-net.com), told listeners, “We tried to find a format to travel at CME, but it was difficult to do.” To do an international coproduction at Czech TV, he noted, “We need to bring international money,” adding that Burning Bush was a good example of how a TV production with int1ernational appeal could work. In the past, he said, “we didn’t invest enough into development (at CME), and Czech TV also didn’t invest in development. We’re now at a different place.”

    Czech TV is now working on a six-part limited series that it hopes to will have an international life. Root, who has been in his post for 18 months, said, “The landscape has changed fundamentally. [Digital TV] has at last opened up the market for foreign productions.” He noted, however, that Central Europe did not have a tradition of developing writers in long form TV. Efforts are underway to change that, but, Root told FNE, HBO would prefer to work with individuals who have projects rather than develop a cadre of filmmakers via the workshop process.

    Czech TV is moving aggressively toward coproductions, and has already met with heads of the neighboring public broadcasting stations, discussing cooperation in documentary and animation formats. “We plan to create a hub for Visegrad Four countries, using the Scandinavian model,” Dvorak said.