HBO Europe finishes ambitious Czech miniseries Wasteland
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech branch of HBO Europe is making a brand-new addition to its portfolio of original domestic production
The Czech branch of HBO Europe has finished another original production, the miniseries Wasteland. Described as “a dramatic story about a rural community stricken by a series of mysterious and shocking events as it finds itself on the brink of extinction owing to social pressure”, it was penned by Štěpán Hulík, the writer of Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile], another successful local HBO production made as a television miniseries and subsequently turned into a feature-length film and re-released in theatres (read the news). For Wasteland, HBO Europe is continuing its collaboration with production outfits nutprodukce and Etamp, which it began on Burning Bush.
The miniseries consists of eight episodes, while two people will share the directing duties: award-winning commercial director Ivan Zachariáš and filmmaker Alice Nellis. “Zachariáš has a completely unique sense of atmosphere and a singular visual style. Those are the exact qualities we believe Wasteland needs,” producer Tomáš Hrubý, of nutprodukce, tells Cineuropa, adding, “Nellis is a very experienced director who understands the story and knows how to direct actors. We found her to be a natural tandem partner for Ivan.” Production began in September last year and wrapped this May; the shoot took place on location, mostly in the Czech Republic and on the Czech-Polish border.
“Considering our history of domestic production, our ambition was to differ in terms of visual style, storytelling, and non-episodic and continual narration, and last but not least, our big ambition was to have realism and unpretentious acting,” Hrubý reveals as he explains why Wasteland should be able to stand out from the rest of the domestic television productions. He also reacts to Cineuropa’s question comparing Burning Bush to Wasteland: “Wasteland is our second-biggest project after Burning Bush, and unlike Burning Bush, it is not based on any true event. Wasteland was in development for much longer and took shape in the writers’ room, and it has taken almost three years to finalise. We were able to build the writers’ room thanks to the generous development support from HBO and the dramaturgical collaboration with producer Steve Matthews, of HBO Europe,” concludes the producer.