1896. On Wednesday, 15 July 1896, Karlovy Vary Kurhaus (Lázně III/Spa III), Karlovy Vary, witnessed the first public projection in the Czech lands. The showing of the screen series of several short films – Workers Leaving the Factory, Arrival of a Train, Family Breakfast etc. might have been a model for today’s Film Festival.
1946. "Opening the Film Festival in Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně, we want to hoist a flag showing the new beauty and the new spirit of both our contemporary domestic and international production in these beautiful regions of our country..." Vítězslav Nezval said when opening the first year of the International Film Festival on 1 August 1946.
The festival experienced a stringent ideologized atmosphere from the beginning of the 1950s, gradual relief followed by haltering normalization. Faltering after the revolution of 1989, it was seeking its position and forms of presentation, in which it succeeded despite certain difficulties. It is obvious that this festival found its strong position among international film festivals and became, besides balneology, a real part and parcel of the cultural life of the town, the region and the Czech Republic.
On 14 July 1951, on the eve of the 55th anniversary of film projection in Karlovy Vary, revenue stamps were issued, the subject of which was the VI International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary. On stamp numbers 603 and 605 with denomination values of 80 halers and CZK 4, there was the same motif from the end of the Soviet film "The Fall of Berlin". This film won the V IFF Grand Prix. The stamp was designed by K. Perman and engraved by J. Mráček. On stamp No. 604 with a denomination value of CZK 1.50, which was designed by J. Figer and engraved by J. Schmidt, was again, typically, the theme of the Soviet film "The Great Citizen". The stamps were printed by rotation die stamping with a 12½ line perforation.
On the FDC with all stamps the drawing of the struggle for peace was symbolised.
IFF (International Film Festival) appeared again on revenue stamp number 1386 with the denomination value of 60 halers, issued on 20 June 1964, promoting its XIV year. The main motif is a rosette from the film strip but, how else, with the obligatory Karlovy Vary Colonnades in the background.
On the FDC, Vřídlo (Hot Spring) enfolded in the film strip is illustrated with the sign for the XIV International Film Festival Karlovy Vary 1964.
Another revenue stamp with the denomination value of 30 halers, under catalogue number 2200, with the motif of the film festival, was issued on 26 April 1967. It was the theme developed by I. Strnad, engraved by M. Ondráček. It was printed by a combination of rotation die stamping and gravure printing with 11¼: 11½ frame perforation. On the stamp there is a woman’s face created from the film strip and the sign XX International Film Festival Karlovy Vary. On the FDC there is a woman’s head with a scarf of the film strip, who has the sign, 20 Jubilee International Film Festival Karlovy Vary in her hair.
The consequent revenue stamp with this motif with a denomination value of CSK 1.- was issued on 3 April 1986 on the occasion of XXV IFF. It received catalogue number 2741. It was printed again by a combination of rotation die stamping and gravure printing and with 11¼: 11½ frame perforation. The motif of the stamp is IFF letters created from the film strip and the drawing of the Hot Spring and the Karlovy Vary coat-of-arms.
On the FDC there is the Hot Spring in a red-and-blue colour, surrounded by the drawing of the Hot Spring’s glass cupola and the Hotel Thermal. The sign is the XXV Jubilee International Film Festival Karlovy Vary 1986.