The Jihlava festival, which came to a close on Tuesday, is the biggest event of the year in Czech documentary film. In this report, we speak to some of the most interesting guests at the 2014 edition, including Godfrey Reggio, maker of the ground-breaking 1980s film Koyaanisqatsi, main prize winner Martin Dušek and young Czech-Vietnamese filmmaker Dužan Duong.
The television film Osmy (Wisdom Teeth or Eights), produced by Czech Television, has won the Prix Europa 2014 award for best TV drama. The film, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1980, follows the main character’s personal as well as political misfortunes. The jury said it was hilarious, and created black but warm-hearted absurd humour. The film is to premiere on Czech TV in December.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is among those set to receive Czech state decoration on October 28, the country’s Independence Day, the daily Mladá fronta dnes reported. Mr Fico will be decorated for his contribution to friendship between the Czech and Slovak nations, the paper said, adding that Mr Zeman and Mr Fico are personal friends. The president’s office has not released the list of people set to receive the state honours on Tuesday but according to media reports, the president will among others decorate Sir Nicholas Winton who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Holocaust, and filmmaker Robert Sedláček who made a documentary about Mr Zeman before he became president.
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.
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