This Wednesday, the annual Bollywood festival of Indian film gets underway in Prague. Now in its 12th year, the festival offers a selection of classical as well as contemporary movies from India and Pakistan, along with a rich accompanying programme. The subtitle of this year’s event is “Children of Bollywood.” I spoke to Radim Špaček, one of the festival’s organizers, and first asked him about the choice of the main theme:
A new documentary film entitled Life According to Václav Havel is to premiere in Czech cinemas on November 20, a spokeswoman for the project said. The film, directed by Andrea Sedláčková, is co-produced by Czech Television and the Franco-German TV channel ARTE. The movie aims to present the Czech playwright and dissident turned president as an “intellectual rebel and a ladies’ man", the filmmakers said. It also focuses on Havel’s childhood, military service and the beginning of his theatre career.
The Czech Republic is slowly re-establishing itself as a prime destination for international film and TV productions, mainly thanks to an increasingly generous incentives programme. TV and film producers spent some five billion crowns in the Czech Republic last year, the highest amount in nearly a decade.
The new documentary The Old Man and the World explores the life of one of the greatest of Czech travellers, Miroslav Zikmund. The exploits of Zikmund (now almost 96) and his partner Jiří Hanzelka made them big stars in a period beginning in the late 1940s. The film is directed by Petr Horký, a traveller who has himself shot in around 80 countries around the world. Before we discussed the documentary, I asked Horký when his own wanderlust began.
Fresh Film Fest, an annual event focused on young directors and debut works, gets underway in Prague on Wednesday. The festival is showcasing around 100 feature length and short films and takes place at a number of venues in the city, from regular cinemas to an anchored boat on the River Vltava. The 11th edition begins with a screening of Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin at the Světozor cinema.
The Czech movie Fair Play has been placed on a long list of nominees for this year’s European Film Awards. Written and directed by Andrea Sedláčková, Fair Play explores doping in sport in the final decade of the communist era. It is among 50 films from 31 European countries in contention for various prizes; nominations will be announced in November ahead of an awards ceremony in Riga the following month.
A new feature-length documentary about the famous Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund received a pre-premiere screening in his town of Zlín on Monday night. Petr Horký’s film Století Miroslava Zikmunda (Miroslav Zikmund’s Century) will enter cinema distribution on Thursday. Speaking at a sold-out Velké kino cinema, Mr. Zikmund, who is 95, recalled presenting the pair’s first full-length film on the same stage in the 1950s with his travelling partner Jiří Hanzelka, who died in 2003. The two visited more than 80 countries in a Tatra car between 1947 and 1950 and 1959 and 1964 before being barred from travelling or participating in public life after 1968.
Last month Prague’s FAMU placed a very impressive fourth in a Hollywood Reporter list of top international film schools. How has the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, to give it its full title, managed to acquire such a reputation around the world? That’s one of several questions I discussed the other day with the head of FAMU International, teacher and documentary maker Vít Janeček. But I first asked Janeček how the range of subjects in his programme compares to the “regular” Czech-language FAMU.
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