The city of Plzen is renowned for its world famous beer, Pilsner Urquell. But the Czech city also has a cultural side. In a matter of days, film directors, actors and critics will flock to the city for its annual film festival - Finale Plzen. The festival has a long history dating back to 1968, when it was banned by the Communist regime. But it's been running steadily since 1989 and is in its 18th season. Kate Barrette met up with festival organizers at their headquarters in Plzen.
Animated film is a very important part of Czech cinema. Names like Jiri Trnka, Hermina Tyrlova or Bretislav Pojar are very well known to every animated film fan. Friends of Bretislav Pojar's work can now enjoy a new film. As Czech animated film is well known even in Japan, Japanese film producers asked him to make a film based on a story written by the Japanese writer Yeto Sato.
'Roman pro zeny' translates as 'A novel for women', but is actually confusingly a film released this Thursday. Its name derives from the best-selling book upon which the film is based. In both - the story of a young journalist Laura, her translator mother Jana and her Julia Roberts look-alike best friend, Ingrid - are told. Radio Prague saw it fit to send along a woman who likes novels to interview the film's director, Filip Renc. Rosie Johnston started by asking him how it was to make the film:
Even though the most famous film festival in the Czech Republic takes place in Karlovy Vary, Prague film fans also have their own chance for an annual taste of the best of world cinema - Febiofest. The Prague part of the festival ended last Friday, but the event now continues in other Czech towns and will later move on to Slovakia.
If you live in the Czech Republic you might recall the popular film festival Febiofest which in recent years has taken place every January. This year it didn't happen, but that is not because the festival has disappeared, it's just that it has been moved to a new date - starting on March 31. The shift is not the only thing that has changed.
"Horem padem" or "Up and Down" in English - has won the Czech Lion award for the best Czech film of 2004. The film, directed by Jan Hrebejk and produced by Ondrej Trojan, won a total of four prizes at Saturday's award ceremony in Prague; for best Czech film, best director, best script and best actress in a leading role.
Sir Nicholas Winton has come to be known as Britain's Oskar Schindler. In the weeks after the Nazis occupied the Czech Lands in March 1939, he quietly arranged for the safe passage of more than 650 Jewish children to Britain. Today children learn about his story, and, as Kate Barrette now reports, are even adding a chapter of their own.
After a bitter struggle for rights, lasting over a decade, one of Bohumil Hrabal's best loved novels 'I served the King of England' is to be turned into a film. The palaver surrounding the rights put the project on hold for more than ten years, and embroiled the famous Czech directors Karel Kachyna, Jan Sverak and Jan Hrebejk. Jiri Menzel, who won an Oscar for his dramatization of the Hrabal novel 'Closely Observed Trains', has finally been selected to direct the film. Rosie Johnston has more on the story:
Lights, camera, action! The 55th Berlinale, Berlin's International Film Festival, is underway this week. It's running until Saturday, and is based at the ultra-modern, brightly lit Potzdamer Platz. Besides screening films, the festival also provides opportunities for people in the film industry to come together and exchange ideas. And on Monday night, several important screenwriters working in the Czech Republic, did just that. Kate Barrette has more.
The great Czech actor and comedian Jan Werich was born 100 years ago this past Sunday. Together with his life-long friend and long-time acting partner Jiri Voskovec (also known as George Voskovec) - who was just a few months younger - he made the so-called "Liberated Theatre" of the 1920's and 1930's famous — it remains an icon of pre-war Czechoslovakia culture. Voskovec and Werich were pioneers of avant-garde theatre, but also gifted comedians, singers and writers.