New projects simmering in the Czech Republic
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech State Cinematography Fund is supporting more feature debuts, scripts and minority co-productions
More Czech projects have received support from the State Cinematography Fund at various stages of development. The fund has recently approved support for literary adaptations, minority co-productions and the development of feature debuts. The board picked four first feature-length outings ripe for development: Iranian-born, Prague-based filmmaker Kaveh Daneshmand’s From Whale, praised for its minimalistic and metaphorical presentation of plot points; For Granny by Jana Micenková, who tackles an autobiographical theme revolving around her dying granny and the bond between them; the project Jumpers, based on a true story about a successful athlete who starts a new career in porn after sustaining an injury, with the story arc centred on the relationship between her and her sister; and Lost in Paradise, Swiss FAMU student Fiona G Ziegler’s feature debut, which reveals the “grotesque misery of an overwhelmed society” after the protagonist returns home to Switzerland from Prague.
The board has already supported the next project by emerging talent Štěpán Altrichter (Schmitke [+see also:
film profile]), the mystical and dystopian Runner, while the young filmmaker was also successful in the call for literary adaptations: the irony-laden romantic comedy About Love tackles modern-day thirty-somethings’ immature relationships. René Levinsky also received support to prepare the first version of the script for his project Blind Journey, a realistic comedy about a voyage undertaken by visually impaired people, to be directed by Erika Hníková, who was behind the award-winning documentary Matchmaking Mayor, and produced by Jiří Konečný. In The Year of Widow, Veronika Lišková handles the taboo topic of the loss of a partner, resulting in huge emotional, economic and social pressure, with the board acknowledging its paradocumentary-like directness. Another successful candidate was an adaptation of the book Ja, Malkáč by Ľubo Dobrovoda, acclaimed for its humorous portrayal of the story of a Czech-Slovak family observed through the eyes of a five-year-old.
The fund also supported minority Czech co-production projects, including the upcoming film by Slovakian filmmaker Juraj Lehotský, Nina (read the news); the feature debut by Romanian filmmaker Adina Pintilie, Touch Me Not (read the news); Russian filmmaker Igor Voloshin’s next project, the psychological drama Basement; the Croatian adventure/family film My Granddad Fell Down from Mars, slated to be directed by Dražen Žarković and Marina Andree Škop, and aimed at children between the ages of eight and 12, with broad distribution appeal; The Cars We Drove into Capitalism by Bulgarian documentarians Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov, examining the symbols of the Socialist automotive industry; and the feature documentary FUGA by Prague-based French screenwriter, director and producer Artemio Benki, following an Argentinian pianist who attempts to get back to a normal life after spending a considerable period of time in a psychiatric hospital.