"I perceive everything as a game and maybe that is the reason why I am not a writer but a screenwriter," said Jaroslav Dietl about his life and work. 'The father of the Czech serial' as he has been labeled was often criticized because of his uncritical attitude towards the communist regime. At the same time he won the affection of viewers who loved his great skill in developing a story. No other Czech screenwriter has ever matched him.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival may attract the most glamour and media attention but it is far from being the only film festival here in the Czech Republic. Indeed, while this year's Karlovy Vary will be the 41st, the Zlin International Film Festival for Children and Youth - which got underway on Sunday - is being held for the 46th time. Coilin O'Connor is in the south Moravian town for the festival. He told me all about it.
A group of Czech filmmakers have withdrawn their productions from a prestigious international film festival in Moravia in protest at what they call a lack of support for the Czech film industry by politicians. In their last session before the elections, Czech deputies failed to overturn a presidential veto of higher financial support for filmmakers last week. In protest, films such as Restart (director Julius Sevcik), Shark in the Head (director Maria Prochazkova), Still Living (director Pavel Gobl) and The City of the Sun (director Martin Sulik), have been taken out of the prestigious 46th Zlin International Film Festival for Children and the Youth. The festival was launched on Monday and will screen 410 films from 35 countries until Saturday.
Czech film makers and producers are withdrawing all their works from the competitive section of the Zlin Film Festival, which is due to begin on May 29th. The decision comes after a new legislative proposal regarding support for Czech cinematography was rejected. Film makers say they are unhappy with the position of MPs and President Vaclav Klaus, as well as with Cultural Minister Vitezslav Jandak, who was the president of the Zlin Film Festival until last year.
A cinema in Jirkov, north Bohemia is refusing to show the hit film The Da Vinci Code. Manager Milos Kubelka told the newspaper Deniky Bohemia he was a Christian and said The Da Vinci Code undermined the values this country's democracy was founded on. Both the film and the novel it is based on have been slammed by Roman Catholic groups.
A bill aimed at increasing state support for the Czech film industry has been thrown out. The Chamber of Deputies had previously approved it, but on Tuesday failed to overturn a veto by President Vaclav Klaus. Under the bill cinemas, TV stations and video and DVD distributors would have had to contribute three percent of their sales to the state cinematography fund. The Czech Republic's stand at the Cannes film festival closed on Wednesday in protest at the bill's failure.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed a bill on the state fund for Czech cinematography that would have seen the film industry receive public funds: namely, percentages from theatre ticket (2 percent), video, and DVD sales (3 percent) as well as profits from advertising on public television (3 percent). Mr Klaus reportedly objected to the bill on the grounds that other branches in the arts - whether the Czech music business, fine arts, literature, or theatre - benefited from no such legislation. Mr Klaus said that there was no reason why those in the film business should have such a privilege over those in comparable fields.
In Business News: police are investigating the disappearance of over 22 million dollars from the Czech Consolidation Agency; Czechs are borrowing at record levels; the prime minister wants Russia to supply cheaper natural gas for power stations; the supermarket chain Delvita is denying reports it plans to pull out of the Czech Republic; and the rights to many classic Czech films are bought by a private investor.