The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is reportedly interested in buying the Czech festival's main venue, the Western Bohemian spa town's communist-era Hotel Thermal.
Built in the 1970s as a retreat for Party elites, the imposing socialist edifice has hosted the festival's administrative centre, along with the largest film screenings, for years. Thirteen years after the fall of the Communist regime in Prague, the Czech government is finally considering selling it.
Festival President Jiri Bartoska, in a written response to queries, declined to confirm a rumour that the Festival organisation wanted to purchase the property, but said the Festival is "interested in this privatisation" and that negotiations between the state and the Festival over the sale are ongoing.
"Being the company organising the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary every year, we are of course interested in this privatisation," said Bartoska.
At the festival this year, Bartoska named the hotel's pending privatisation as one of the main concerns of the festival. He also called for the city of Karlovy Vary to build a large cinema hall to accommodate the festival's growing attendance. The number of accredited guests topped 10,000 last year.