Czech Television sells its original production abroad
by Martin Kudláč
- Crime series and children’s programmes produced by the Czech public broadcaster were among the hot exports at MIPTV
Czech Television was among the 4,000 buyers closing deals at the 51st edition of MIPTV in Cannes last month. The Czech public broadcaster had the bulk of its original production on the table, boasting huge variety in terms of themes as well as formats. These titles included the Holocaust drama Colette, based on the novella by Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Arnošt Lustig; Juraj Nvota’s film about state security in a totalitarian country, The Confidant; the three-part crime miniseries The Case of the Exorcist; the film series Czech Century, reflecting on modern Czech history, and Innocent Lies; the crime series Major Case Squad, inspired by real-life cases; and the traditional puppet fairy-tale feature set in a real forest environment, Little Man, which was recently released in theatres.
“The television film The American Letters, based on the life of composer Antonín Dvořák, and the lifestyle programme Herbarium were met with exceptional interest from foreign distributors and broadcasters,” said Hynek Chudárek, business director at Czech Television, adding, “Polish television channels were the ones buying our production the most.” He revealed which titles would be heading to small screens in Poland: the dark “on the road” crime series Cirkus Bukowsky, Major Case Squad, crime series The Lens and Ambulance, along with Colette, bittersweet comedy Pupendo and the popular retro-comedy Cozy Dens, both of the latter penned by Petr Jarchovský and directed by Jan Hřebejk.
The documentary series National Jewels – UNESCO World Heritage, about the Czech landmarks featuring on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, drew in distributors from Russia, Poland, Mexico and television stations from east Asia, while German distributors liked the historical film trilogy Jan Hus, about the titular reformist, and American television channels showed an interest in the documentary Věra 68 (directed by Olga Sommerová), a portrait of Věra Čáslavská, a Czech gymnast who took home a plethora of medals from the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico before rapidly falling from grace later that year after she signed the Two Thousand Words manifesto. Besides crime series and films, other examples of hot property were children’s and family programmes: Czech Television will export the puppet cartoon The Doings of the Hippopotamus Family to Scandinavia, whereas the 13-part docu-serial The Otter Baby, The Little Rover (a series about a fox cub) and Cubbies were acquired by Croatia.
Czech Television did not only sell titles, but also secured new acquisitions for domestic audiences, among which are two seasons of the British period drama Downtown Abbey, the Scandinavian crime series The Bridge, the British costume drama Mr Selfridge and AMC’s award-winning Mad Men. It also secured the next seasons of a number of American series currently on its slate – namely, Homeland, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire.