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PRODUCTION Czech Republic

New Czech project under way and due to shoot in Manhattan and Prague


- Young filmmaker Asmara Beraki is preparing her ambitious feature debut

New Czech project under way and due to shoot in Manhattan and Prague
A photo taken during the shoot for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman in the Czech Republic

A graduate of Prague’s FAMU academy, Asmara Beraki, who studied under the guidance of Czech New Wave directors Věra Chytilová and Jan Němec, is preparing her debut feature-length fiction film. Already boasting several awards for the short films Little Pickpocket and Anywhere Else, Beraki penned a script called The Narcissists, the working title for her debut. The project is currently at the pre-production stage, with a teaser reel having been shot for fundraising purposes (it is available to watch here).

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The film’s title is now A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman, and in the director’s own words, it revolves around “a relationship based on fear”. Beraki was complimented on the script by American director Oliver Stone, who, after reading an early treatment, characterised it as a movie in the “Hitchcockian mode”. The official synopsis is as follows: “Samantha is fed up with her top-secret high-tech job, her lazy boyfriend and the urban jungle of Manhattan. She secretly writes poems at work, so when she meets a charming European artist named Anton at a poetry event downtown, she follows him on a romantic adventure to Prague. The idyll, however, turns into a nightmare…”

The socially conscious psychological drama begins in New York City; a shoot is already scheduled to take place in Manhattan, though principal photography will happen in the Czech Republic. The expected 35 shooting days are scheduled to commence in the second half of 2016, with the rough cut expected to be ready around February 2017. The project’s estimated budget is €1.85 million, and Rose Caton and Grégoire Colin will step into the shoes of the lead characters, backed up by the Czech Republic’s very own Kryštof Hádek (who recently starred in The Snake Brothers [+see also:
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“Cinema Belongs To Us is the sole producer, and we are seeking both further private investment, as the project has commercial potential, and an international distributor,” Beraki told Cineuropa. Beraki is the founder of Cinema Belongs To Us, which is based in Prague and produces web content, spots and features. It will “open a US-based office in 2016 to offer film consultation and services for American productions interested in shooting their films in Europe. The company will also establish a partner non-profit foundation to develop film education in vulnerable communities around the world,” the founder revealed. The producers are currently applying for a US grant, since A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman will be made entirely in the English language.

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