The government has decided to support Czech filmmaking by increasing this
year’s budget at the Culture Ministry by 100 million crowns. Culture
Minister Vaclav Jehlicka asked for the subsidy because a new film law
securing funding for Czech film productions has not yet been approved. The
State Fund for Support and Development of Czech Cinematography has regular
financial sources only from the sale of film copyrights. It also receives
one crown from each cinema ticket.
Last week, President Vaclav Klaus signed a so-called digital amendment, which will secure income from advertisements shown on Czech public television. The subsidies will be available from the beginning of 2008 until analogue broadcasting is switched off. It is expected to happen in October 2010 at the earliest. Altogether the subsidies should amount to at least 425 million crowns (24 million US dollars).
The original US television series, Star Trek, was in re-runs for years before it was revived in the cinemas, and years more before the series inspired successful spin-offs like Star Trek: The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine. But all inceptions continue to be popular among fans even today. In the Czech Republic, members of one fan club, Kontinuum.cz, decided to take their fascination a step further, to “boldly go” where none here had gone before: they shot their very own amateur film based in the Star Trek universe.
Cash-strapped Czech filmmakers have found a new source of income for at least the next three years. Last Thursday, President Klaus signed a so-called digital amendment, which will secure income from advertisements shown on Czech public television. The subsidies will be available until analogue broadcasting is switched off, which is going to happen in October 2010. Altogether they should amount to at least 425 million crowns (24 million US dollars). I spoke to Tomas Baldynsky from the State Fund for Support and Development of Cinematography and
Two film producers have received suspended sentences from a court in Prague for attempting to blackmail producer Deana Jakubiskova-Horvathova by taking a copy of the film Bathory, directed by her husband Juraj Jakubisko. Jan Milic and Karel Lupomesky demanded half a million crowns from the couple for the return of the film after stealing it from an editing suite at Prague’s Barrandov studios. The Jakubiskos, who are Slovak, are now planning to file a civil suit for damages against the blackmailers.
The emotional story of Marcela, a woman whose marriage and divorce, as well as loss of her daughter were captured on film, won the award for best European documentary at the Sevilla Film Festival on Saturday. Originally a part a series “Studies in Marriage”, the film follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Marcela through long-term observance technique – a style typical for director Helena Trestikova. Talking to Radio Prague, Ms Trestikova said that the film’s success in Sevilla had come as a pleasant surprise.
Petr Zelenka has long been recognised as one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation, whose quirky films including a mockumentary about a famous Czech folk singer have been well received by both critics and wider audiences. This summer, the director completed filming on The Karamazovs, a film - as the title makes explicit - which takes inspiration from Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Zelenka is now in post-production, but already the film is being viewed with great anticipation, a story which
US Ambassador Richard Graber presented the National Film Archives director on Friday with unique footage shot by American soldiers in western Bohemia right after the end of the war. The footage, which had not been seen in the country before, will be identified, analyzed, and publicly screened in the very places where they were filmed.
It would be hard to meet a Czech whose childhood was not touched (perhaps unconsciously) by the art of Jiri Trnka, a painter, puppeteer, illustrator and above all, the founding father of Czech animated film. His poetic drawings brought immortality to books that would otherwise be long forgotten. And his animated films bestowed dozens of puppets and drawings with life.
The 11th Czech Film Festival begins in London on Thursday with a screening of Grandhotel by David Ondricek and a Q+A session with the director. But this year viewers around the UK will have the chance to enjoy movies from this part of the world, as the showcase Made in Prague: New Czech Cinema visits 13 cities in England and Scotland. As final preparations were being made for the touring festival, I spoke to organiser Renata Clark of the Czech Centre in London.
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