Prague’s biggest movie event, Febiofest, kicks off on Thursday. Now in its 26th year, the festival gives many movies set for local cinema distribution their first screenings but also showcases scores of works that film buffs would otherwise have trouble tracking down. Ahead of Febiofest’s curtain-raiser, I asked its co-programme director Anna Kopecká what this year’s highlights were likely to be.
The film Heart of Stone has taken the Best Film prize at this year’s
edition of the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague.
The winning documentary is about an Afghan refugee in France. The Best
Director award went to Denmark’s Mads Brugger, maker of Cold Case
The festival’s prize for the best Czech film in competition went to The Good Death by Tomáš Krupa, which is about a woman who goes to Switzerland for assisted suicide.
A director who documented the last few years of Václav Havel’s life has
received more than twice the initial amount he sought through a Czech
crowdfunding site to begin work on editing his film.
Petr Jančárek, who worked with the late Czech president from 2009 to 2011, shot some 200 hours of material that will be edited for a feature-length documentary.
He had sought 400,000 crowns in public donations through the crowdfunding site HitHit but received more than 1 million crowns in the first 10 days. Jančárek will continue trying to raise money through crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo, his representative told ČTK.
Entitled “This is Havel, Can You Hear Me?”, the documentary is set to premiere in November 2019, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia and the fall of Communism in Europe.
Jančárek is hoping to get the rights for songs by some of Havel’s favourite musicians, including the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and David Bowie, for a symbolic price.
The week-long East Doc Platform, billed as the largest co-production,
funding and distribution platform tailor-made for Central and East European
documentaries, begins on Saturday in Prague.
This year’s theme, “Eastern Logic”, refers what organisers say is the unique identity and style shared by countries of the former Eastern Bloc. It describes thinking that manifests itself in documentary films from the region, from a technical and thematic aspect.
East Doc Platform is organised by the Institute for Documentary Film and One World film festival.
Behind the scenes, a ‘subsidy war’ is raging in Central Europe among national film commissions, which have been steadily sweetening rebates and incentives to attract lucrative Hollywood and other foreign productions. Czech Film Commissioner Pavlína Žipková says 2018 was a record year in spending and shooting days, with foreign productions – especially TV series – drawn in by top-notch crews, services and “eleven centuries of architecture” for locations.
More than sixty years after its premiere, a unique Czech documentary from Tibet, made in the early 1950s, returns to Czech cinemas on Tuesday. Called Cesta vede do Tibetu or the Road leads to Tibet, the film had won several awards before being banned by the Communist authorities. Today it brings a unique testimony of places that have long been destroyed by the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
British actor and comedian Norman Lovett, whose head represented the ship
AI system ‘Holly’ in the television series Red Dwarf, has been
announced as one of the guests at the upcoming Future Gate sci-fi film
festival in Prague. The sixth version of the annual festival will run from
the end of February to mid-March and Lovett is set to introduce a special
Red Dwarf marathon, which will start on March 2.
Red Dwarf is one of the most popular comedy series in the Czech Republic and its latest seasons were recently aired on Czech Television to a dedicated fan base.
In 2017 director Marie Dvořáková followed the likes of Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis and her compatriot Jan Svěrák in winning the Student Academy Award for her film Who’s Who in Mycology. When we spoke in New York, the filmmaker told me the short had a long gestation – and that she was currently working on not one but three new projects. But I first asked Marie Dvořáková what had drawn her to film in the first place.
Foreign filmmakers and TV crews spent nearly 5 billion crowns last year in the Czech Republic, a jump of nearly two billion crowns compared to 2017. With the state having paid out some 800 million crowns through an incentives scheme, the return on investment is solid. But competition is fierce – and heating up.
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