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TELEVISION Czech Republic

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Czech Television adds new series to its original programming

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- A raft of new series and films will tackle Czech history and the country’s presence on the world stage

Czech Television adds new series to its original programming
Vojtěch Kotek and Marie-Luise Stockinger on the set of Maria Theresa

The programming board of Czech Television greenlit 32 live-action projects last year. “They are films, series and miniseries reflecting Czech society, its presence and its past. On one hand, they return to important topics, to principal historical milestones, personalities or events that may be sporadic, but which have a certain symbolic relationship to the present day,” comments Czech Television’s general director, Petr Dvořák. “On the other hand, we are developing topics and genres that are very current.”

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The period project Maria Theresa falls into the first category. Romanian-born Austrian director Robert Dornhelm, who is now working in Hollywood, is directing the two-part film miniseries, principal photography for which is already under way. Along with Czech Television, three other public broadcasters, Austria’s ORF, Slovakia’s RTVS and Hungary’s MTVA, are participating in the project penned by Czech scriptwriter Mirka Zlatníková. The story follows Maria Theresa as she rises to the throne. Another period project, Defenestration, which is being co-produced by ORF and ARTE, is about the 1618 defenestration of Prague and is to be helmed by Czech director Zdeněk Jirásky

The latter category – that of recent Czech history – encompasses the two-part miniseries Dukla 61, based on a mining accident that killed 108 miners in 1961, and a two-part film called Methanol, revolving around the events of 2012 that prompted a temporary prohibition of alcohol which had tragic consequences.

Petr Zelenka, of the recently lauded Lost in Munich [+see also:
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]
, will turn his acclaimed play Dubbing Street, which he wrote and directed for the Dejvické divadlo theatre, into a comedy series following a group of employees that fail to successfully run a promising dubbing studio. Director and producer Viktor Tauš, who was behind the acclaimed crime series Blue Shadows, and Jan Hřebejk, of The Teacher [+see also:
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film focus
interview: Jan Hřebejk
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fame, will share directing duties on a miniseries that rounds off the Detectives from the Holy Trinity crime cycle: the eight-part dark miniseries Lynching will see a young documentarian investigate the violent death of his childhood friend of Roma heritage. The series is the product of Czech Television’s initiative for emerging filmmakers and is currently being developed by experienced scriptwriter Harold Apter, who can boast credits on The Golden Girls, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Walker, Texas Ranger. “We have an ambition to ease the journey to broadcasting for authors and good ideas. For the first time in the history of Czech Television, we have opened a call on the internet for specific programming formats. I believe this will encourage more filmmakers and independent producers to work with Czech Television,” concludes the general director.

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