Czech State Cinematography Fund supports a fresh round of features in development
by Martin Kudláč
- The fund has supported the development of projects by established filmmakers, young talents and debuting directors
The Czech State Cinematography Fund has recently supported the development of 15 out of 27 submitted projects, distributing a total of 7,710,000 Czech crowns (€285,297). The fund’s board stated its intention to back projects with international potential and noted a long-term absence of dramaturgy. The board requires a dramaturgical explanation as one of the mandatory annexes in any request for support, and while it pointed out that many applicants approach this explanation as a kind of assessment, it stressed that an effectively conveyed dramaturgical explanation contributes to the analysis of a project’s state and its future development potential.
Among the supported projects is the next feature by Andrea Sedláčková, who had a successful run with her sports drama Fair Play [+see also:
film profile]. Sedláčková will stick to a historic topic once again in Borrowed Lives, following the story of a double agent, originally a driver for the Ministry of the Interior, who then accepts an offer from the CIA to collaborate in 1968. The board noted that the authors rely more on the characters than on a historical reconstruction to produce dramatic effect in this spy thriller. The script is based on a book by František Doskočil and Pavel Žáček, which maps out Doskočil’s tenure working for the CIA while pretending to serve Czechoslovakia’s state security. Meanwhile, Robert Sedláček received support to develop the story of his project Jan Palach, focusing on the eponymous individual in the wake of the success of Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile]; Sedláček’s film investigates the events following the infamous self-immolation that entered the history books, and will also hinge on the circumstances leading to Palach’s act of martyrdom, mostly examining the path he took from being an ordinary young man to a national symbol and hero.
The fund has also supported emerging talents who debuted last year. The director of the unconventional mystery-comedy Schmitke [+see also:
film profile], Štěpán Altrichter, received backing to develop his ambitious sophomore feature, Runner, a majority Czech and German co-production expected to have a budget in excess of 90 million Czech crowns (€3.3 million). The board noted an “exceptional genre fusion, a very modern film style, a dynamic plot and an unexpected denouement” as the project’s main assets. Runner’s preliminary timeline has scheduled a premiere for 2018. The sophomore feature by Jan Těšitel, Heatstroke, is also envisioned as being an international co-production involving Austria, Germany, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. The director is currently rewriting an initial script for a film called Sirocco, penned by British screenwriter David Bloom, in order to transpose the psychological thriller about the decline of moral values into the Czech environment.
The fund did not omit first outings in the recent round of support, as it agreed to back The Death of King Kandaul, written and to be directed by Martina Kratochvílová. Set in the 1960s, the script is based on the short story of the same name by Martin Kratochvíl, which, besides the main plotline, also revolves around literary mystification. The producing, writing and directing debut Maroko, described as a “comic drama”, follows the titular protagonist on his journey from an orphanage to real life, and is thus a social drama verging on a coming-of-age tale. The story, written by Hana Ozoráková and inspired by her own experiences, is set to be directed by TV director Tereza Kopáčová.
The batch of supported projects also includes Ondrej Trojan’s rockabilly film Bourák, Zdeněk Jiráský's Kryštof (based on real events from the period of communist repression in the 1950s) and Petr Marek’s bitter comedy Civil Forum. The board made a point of confirming domestic producers’ persistent penchant for historical topics as well as the biographical film genre.