Six new Czech projects get production support
by Martin Kudláč
- The country’s State Cinematography Fund is supporting six feature-length projects
The Czech State Cinematography Fund received 25 applications for production support after its last call, and after considering all the criteria, it has decided to support the production of six feature films. The board judged the best project to be Barefoot on Stalks, set to be directed by Jan Svěrák, who won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-language Film and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-language Film in 1996 for Kolya, written by and starring his father, Zdeněk Svěrák. Barefoot on Stalks is inspired by the book of memoirs of the same name, written by Zdeněk Svěrák, which was originally conceived as a film script. Jan Svěrák was initially supposed to adapt Kevin Maher’s novel The Fields as an English-language project, firstly as a film and then as a series; however, his father’s childhood at the end of World War II will be the topic of his next project, with the first clapperboard set to slam this August.
Support was also granted to the next project by Zdeněk Jirásky, Shadowland, which was already supported by the Fund at the development stage. The film will focus on the population of a small village, and the coexistence of Czechs and Germans on the border during the war and post-war period. The largest sum (17 million CZK, or approximately €629,000) was granted to an adaptation of a classic novel by Jaroslav Hašek, The Good Soldier Švejk. The most widely translated Czech novel has been adapted for film and television several times, even as early as 1926, and Bohdan Sláma now has the task of directing the modern rendition of the satirical novel. Sláma’s regular, Pavel Liška, has been cast in the leading role as “a little man caught in a vast bureaucratic machine” during World War I.
Creative duo Petr Jarchovský and Jan Hřebejk are working on The Garden Store film trilogy, the first part of which, The Deserter, has earned some of the Fund’s support. The Garden Store, produced by Fog ‘n’ Desire Films, is intended to serve as a prequel to their much-celebrated film Cosy Dens, and is slated as a dramedy chronicling the life of a Czech family over three decades after World War II (the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s). The last two supported projects are Quartet and The Painted Bird. The former is the sophomore feature by actor and theatre director Miroslav Krobot, a chamber piece set in a city, about four anti-heroes dealing with the question of their own role in society. Director and producer Václav Marhoul will adapt the controversial 1965 novel by Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird – this received the second-largest amount of support (15 million CZK, or approximately €555,000).
The Czech State Cinematography Fund board revealed that among the 25 projects were a rising number of period dramas with big budgets (besides the already supported projects, there was also an adaptation of Philip Roth’s novella The Prague Orgy, Petr Václav’s Il Boemo (read the news) and the biography drama Zátopek). In addition to period dramas, films for children, contemporary dramas, comedies, and even a fantasy movie (Legendary) and a sci-fi film (Mars – read the news) were seeking state support.