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.
Reading has friends in some very high places here in the Czech Republic. Last week, former president Vaclav Havel and a group of other famous names besides got together to encourage parents to read to their children for at least twenty minutes a day. To support the cause, Mr. Havel and friends chose their own favourite children's book, and read from it, to an audience of young Czechs, up way past their bed time.
Representatives of Czech communities from all over the world are gathering in Prague this week for a new festival celebrating Czech culture outside the Czech Republic. The first annual folklore festival for krajane, or Czechs living abroad, has the support of members of the Senate, where the festival had its inaugural ceremony on Monday. The highlights of the festival include an exhibit of traditional handicrafts, projections of documentary films concerning Czech culture outside the Czech Republic, as well as presentations of traditional folk singing
The Irish independent film Once has been a surprise success in the United States this year. Shot in just two and a half weeks for USD 160,000, it has taken in over 10 million at the box office since making a big splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Once tells the story of an Irish busker who gradually starts to fall for a struggling Czech immigrant as they begin writing music together. We spoke to the movie's stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova ahead of the recent Czech premiere.
Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, a group of celebrities met to read their favourite fairytales to children who had gathered to listen. On Tuesday night, former President Vaclav Havel was joined by musicians, sportspeople, and filmmakers at an event called 'From My Favourite Children's Book...' The evening included readings from well-known Czech children's classics, as well as songs, and stories written by Mr. Havel himself. This mix of music and fairytale seemed to go down a treat
The second annual KomiksFEST, which claims to be one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Central Europe, is currently in full swing here in Prague. Cinemas, theatres and galleries all over the Czech capital are running posters, comics and cartoon exhibitions, while there are also film and theatre performances inspired by comics. R.F. spoke with the programme director and one of the founders of the festival, Tomas Matejicek, and started by asking what led him to establish the festival in the first place.
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolin is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutna Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolin and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.
Zapomenute obrazy Praha 19. stoleti ( Forgotten Pictures, 19th Century Prague) is the name of an exhibition currently running at the Museum of the City of Prague. Of the 180 paintings on show, almost half have never been exhibited before, while a number are by unknown artists. What's more, many of the works on display document parts of the Czech capital which today no longer exist. Zdenek Mika is the curator of the exhibition - he told us all about it.