Och, a KV programmer since 2001, takes over duties of outgoing Zaoralova as of Jan 1.

The Karlovy Vary International Film festival has named Karel Och as its new artistic director.

Och has been a programmer with the festival since 2001. He takes over the duties of outgoing director Eva Zaoralova as of Jan 1.

Och’s previous accomplishments include last year’s popular retrospective on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, special programs Sam Peckinpah and New Hollywood Cinema.

Zaoralova decided the appointment.

“I will keep on building on what makes KVIFF a truly distinctive event – a combination of modern and classic, the co-existence of new ways of storytelling with a fresh look on film history’s crucial moments,” Och said.

Zaoralova, with her distinctive cat-eye spectacles and youthful enthusiasm, has been the festival’s leading personality for more than 15 years. She will remain closely involved with the festival, serving as artistic consultant.

“I couldn’t have had a better mentor in festival programming than with Mrs. Zaoralova,” Och said. “Our discussions on cinema have always been thought provoking and illuminating. And I’m thrilled that this close collaboration will go on with her continued involvement with Karlovy Vary.”

She added: “I have been taking Karel Och for my successor for a long time. I respect him very much as a cinema connoisseur and aficionado, as well as a human being. I look forward to continue working for the festival  with which I have been connected for so many years.”

The 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will take place from July 1 to July 9, 2011.