Czech Television greenlights 406 new projects
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech public broadcaster has massively inflated its slate of original productions
Each year, Czech Television (CT) receives over 1,000 propositions, 483 of which were submitted to the programming board for final evaluation this year, which decided to greenlight a total of 406 projects. This selection is made up of 160 documentary films and series, 28 children's programmes, 86 programmes aimed at theatre, music and ballet, and 33 fiction projects, amongst others.
Five directors will be tackling four mini-series covering four genres: Tomáš Bařina will direct the six-episode crime-thriller The Rabies, a series originally intended to be a horror about a rabies outbreak coinciding with a double murder. The retro crime mini-series The World Under Head will see its protagonist wake up in the 1980s, where he unknowingly meets his parents months before he is supposed to be born. Marek Najbrt and Radim Špaček will direct this bizarre, funny and chilling adaptation of the BBC’s Life on Mars. Jiří Střach, director of the series The Labyrinth, the investigation of a series of murders based on one of Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, as well as the television mystery mini-series Lost Gate, will be at the helm of The Blood of Demon, a three-part mystery-thriller that follows on from Lost Gate. Slovakian director Peter Bebjak, known for The Cleaner [+see also:
interview: Martin Žiaran
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile], will direct the three-part psychological drama The Justice, which follows a detective investigating a crime committed by the daughter of a prominent judge. Jan Prušinovský, the critically acclaimed director of The Snake Brothers [+see also:
interview: Jan Prušinovský
film profile], will be taking on Most. This “cheeky project” – as creative producer Michal Reitler calls it – tries to use humour as a way of discussing painful issues.
Period drama series The First Republic was also renewed for a second season. This family saga looks at important milestones in Czechoslovak history through the eyes of an upper-class family. “In the second season, we want to maintain the best aspects of the first one – the rich web of relationships, the thrill of crime and investigation, and references to historic milestones in pre-war Czechoslovakia in the plot. Our goal is to do this while also creating a significant visual experience in each episode,” explained Jan Maxa, director of development and programme formats at CT, and The First Republic’s creative producer.
The Czech public broadcaster also has a lengthy line-up for its documentary section, with new series such as The Stories of 20th Century, which shines the spotlight on missed or unreported phenomena from the period known as “normalisation”. “The filmmakers use a method and technique developed by American documentarian Errol Morris, a first for a Czech documentary,” the creative producer of The Stories of 20th Century, Petr Kubica, commented. The six-part series Expelled After Charta features personalities behind the Charter 77 civic initiative, who were expelled from their homeland after signing the document. “This series will focus on the extraordinary fates of those who demonstrated great civil bravery,” claimed Alena Mullerová, the series’ creative producer. Another forgotten event and personality will be tackled in The Story of Third Human Torch, focusing on the unknown hero Evžen Plocek, the third person to burn himself alive in a sign of protest against Czechoslovak occupation. There are also a number of upcoming documentaries that will focus on contemporary topics, such as 140 bpm, a doc about 1990s counterculture or, more precisely, about the techno subculture, and Children Online, which discusses the youngest generation of internet users, the so-called “digital natives”, for example.
CT press officer Alžbeta Plívová confirmed that the majority of the projects that have been greenlit are currently in development or at an early phase of production, and thus wouldn't be broadcast this year.