Czech screenwriter-director Petr Jákl’s English-language biopic of the
15th-century Bohemian leader Jan Žižka has finished shooting after less
than three months on set.
With a reported budget of 275 million crowns, Jákl’s biopic of General Žižka, an innovative military strategist who led the Czech Hussites to victory in a series of confrontations in religious wars, is set to be the most expensive domestic film ever shot.
American actor Ben Foster will portray Žižka in the film, which has the working title “Medieval”, opposite British veteran actor Michael Caine. Foster is perhaps best known from the X-men franchise and the indie film “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”.
The Czech Film Fund will spend CZK 64 million on supporting eight upcoming feature films. The largest amount, some CZK 14.5 million, will help fund an upcoming biographical film about Václav Havel. According to the fund’s director Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the films cover a wide range of genres including historical pictures, those covering present day issues and a film for children.
The State Fund for Cinematography has agreed to subsidize eight Czech films
to the tune of 64 million crowns. The highest single subsidy was granted to
a biographical film on the life of Václav Havel produced by Slávek
The film will cover Havel’s life from 1968 to 1989 when the dissident writer was elected president of Czechoslovakia. The project received a subsidy of 14.5 million crowns.
Czech director Helena Třeštíková is the main guest of honour at
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the largest
documentary film festival in the world, which got underway on Wednesday.
The IDFA, which runs until November 25, is featuring a retrospective of Třeštíková’s work along with 10 feature films that influenced her career, including works by the late Věra Chytilová and Miloš Forman, icons of the Czechoslovak New Wave.
Among the other Czech works screening at the festival is director Jan Gebert’s documentary about Slovak paramilitary groups called “When the War Comes”, which won the Silver Eye prize for best feature length documentary at Jihlava this year.
Novelist and screenwriter Martina Forman settled in the United States in the 1990s after meeting her husband, the great film director Miloš Forman. When we spoke at her apartment overlooking Central Park, the conversation took in her life between New York and Connecticut, her twin sons’ connection to all things Czech, and her husband, who passed away in April at the age of 86. But I first asked Martina Forman about her early days in America.
Enclosed World by Karel Žalud has won the award for best Czech film at the
22nd edition of the Jihlava documentary festival. The four-hour work is
compiled from a Czech Television series of the same title that explores the
lives of prisoners and their families.
The Belgian film Vacancy by Alexandra Longuet took Jihlava’s prize for best foreign documentary. French New Wave veteran Jean-Luc Goddard, who also directed Jihlava’s trailer this year, received an award for contribution to world cinema.
The Czech film tradition dates to the very beginnings of the medium itself, and the country’s film archive is among the world’s oldest. Yet the Czech Republic had no national museum dedicated to the art form. Five years ago, three film students set out to rectify that. Building on pop-up exhibitions, their NaFilM project now has a permanent home – though still undergoing reconstruction. NaFilM cofounder Terezie Křížkovská talks about how their dream to establish an innovative, hands-on, interactive National Film Museum became a reality.
Little over a week before the centenary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia, a freshly released film brings the state’s founder to the big screen. Talks with T.G. Masaryk reconstructs a single conversation between the “father of the nation” and writer Karel Čapek, another symbol of the First Republic era.
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