What’s cooking in Czech cinema
by Martin Kudláč
- A selection of ten upcoming Czech projects have been presented at Finále Plzeň
During the industry days at the domestic showcase of Czech cinema that is Finále Plzeň (26 April – 2 May), a special slot is traditionally reserved for the presentation of upcoming projects at various stages of production.
Austrian director Franz Novotny is loosely adapting the Jan Němec short story The Italian Connection, based on his real-life experience of smuggling film reels of the 21 August 1968 Soviet invasion into Austria, in the Czech-Austrian co-production Deckname Holec. Němec shot The Ferrari Dino Girl based on the experience in 2009, though Novotny has opted for a spy drama starring Kryštof Hádek, Vica Kerekes and Johannes Zeiler. Deckname Holec is tentatively scheduled for release at the beginning of 2016.
The next project is also a Czech-Austrian co-production. Die Gruppe is producing a stylised, old-fashioned road movie called Menandros & Thaïs [+see also:
film profile], adapting the novel of the same name, directed by its author, Ondřej Cikán, and Antonín Šilar. The final cut of the film co-produced by Prague’s FAMU and the Czech company nutprodukce was finished in January. The Hungarian-Czech-German project Zero, directed by Hungarian filmmaker Gyula Nemes, the story of a man fighting to save his bees (see the news), is also at the post-production stage and is expected to be released this year. Czech director Aurel Klimt’s feature debut, the stop-motion puppet/animated film Laika, revolving around the most famous Russian dog and his extra-terrestrial adventure, is currently in production. The satire on the superiority of humankind blends real-life events, sci-fi/fantasy and musical elements. The film is produced by Czech company Studio Zvon, and co-produced by Universal Production Partners and Studio Bystrouška, with backing from the MEDIA Programme and the State Cinematography Fund.
The organisers also presented a selection of fresh projects in development: a drama about 1975 Czechoslovakia, Agnes and Andrej by Tomasz Wiński; Adam Sedlák’s Domestic; Dan Wlodarczyk’s social drama about illegal mining, Green Horse Rustlers; Ondřej Provazník’s tragic Death in Russia, a film that will be shot on 16 mm and will have just one copy, so once it is damaged, it will be gone forever; and screenwriter and director Taťána Rubášová’s homage to black-and-white photography, the biographical drama My Sudek, scheduled for 2018. Finally, veteran filmmaker Juraj Herz is preparing the psychological thriller Forever Yours, and legendary Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko already has two projects in development: the fairy tale Seven-legged Lucas and the historical drama The Forgotten Epic.