Producer Rick McCallum is nothing less than a legend in the film business, known for his many years with Lucasfilm and his work on enormous projects like The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the Star Wars prequels. After retiring from Lucasfilm several years ago, McCallum relocated to Prague where he founded Film United. In our interview he discusses Czech talent and the benefits of shooting in the Czech Republic, and tells the story of a chance meeting he had in the 1990s with President Václav Havel.
After nearly ten years of bringing the best of Czech live performance to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the Czech Centre in London worked to create a wider program bringing a whole season of exhibitions and live art to two cities in Scotland. I spoke to the director of the Czech Centre in London Tereza Porybná about the events being staged within the Czech Season in Scotland.
Final preparations are underway for this year’s edition of the weeklong Prague Pride festival of LGBT culture, which starts on Monday. Over 100 events are planned for one the seventh edition of one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the region. This year the organisers of Prague Pride say they will place a special emphasis on the human rights of LGBT people in repressive Eastern states such as Chechnya and Armenia. Spokesperson Bohdana Rambousková told me more.
Marta Kubišová is most famous for the heartrending Modlitba pro Martu (A Prayer for Marta), which became a symbol of opposition to the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia that began in 1968. But there is far more to her oeuvre. Prior to being banned for two decades, Kubišová – one of country’s top pop stars – recorded a great deal of music that reflected the spirit of the age, featuring groovy organ, fuzz guitar, cool brass, even sitar, all topped off with her belting soul voice.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Prague attracted numerous international or Hollywood productions, from the ambitious TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles to the first Mission Impossible. There was Hellboy, directed by Guillermo del Toro, and Casino Royale, the first outing by Daniel Craig as the new James Bond, shot partly in Prague and in Karlovy Vary. However, things began to go south and the boom turned into a whimper.
Since becoming director of the Czech National Gallery three years ago this month, Jiří Fajt has secured exhibitions by major international artists and helped make its numerous buildings in the capital more accessible to the public. Our tour of “his Prague” begins at the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia on the edge of the Old Town. It houses the National Gallery’s impressive medieval collection and was headed by the Prague-born Fajt himself in the late 1990s.
The annual international music festival Colours of Ostrava, one of the biggest events of its kind in Central Europe, kicks off in the North Moravian city on Wednesday night. Among the biggest highlights of this year’s edition is the US rock band Imagine Dragons or the nine Grammy awards winner Norah Jones.
The Czechoslovak music scene in the 1960s, 70s and 80s was swept by world-famous hits, which were taken over by local musicians, such as Karel Gott or Helena Vondráčková. In many cases, the audiences didn’t even know they were listening to cover versions, not being acquainted with what was going on Beyond the Iron Curtain. Here is a selection of some of the best-known Czech covers of world hits, such as those by the Beatles, Abba and Lou Reed.