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PRODUCTION Czech Republic / Slovakia / Italy

Czech Cinéfondation winner Zuzana Kirchnerová preparing Italian road movie The Caravan

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- The director is working on her feature debut, about a woman who no longer wants to be just the mother of a disabled child

Czech Cinéfondation winner Zuzana Kirchnerová preparing Italian road movie The Caravan
Director Zuzana Kirchnerová (third from left) and, next to her, Tomáš Bojar with their Czech Film Foundation Scriptwriting Award for The Caravan (© Filmova nadace)

Czech filmmaker Zuzana Kirchnerová, who won the top prize in Cannes’ Cinéfondation in 2009 with Bába, is hard at work preparing her feature-length debut, The Caravan. Kirchnerová previously worked as a director and scriptwriter on various Czech Television documentary series, and co-wrote the script for The Caravan with documentarian Tomáš Bojar (whose latest writing credit includes Over the Hills [+see also:
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, recently unveiled at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival) and Kristina Májová. The Caravan’s script won the annual scriptwriting competition organised by the Czech Film Foundation earlier this month.

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The Caravan is a road movie that will be shot entirely in Italy next summer, and will follow a mother and her intellectually disabled son. Ester has been caring for David for the last 12 years and is worn out from the isolation, the routine and having to do everything herself. A visit to Italy in order to see her friend represents a chance to escape. A minor incident prompts Ester and her son to set out on a road trip in an old caravan, as she no longer wants to be just the mother of a disabled child.

Czech actress Aňa Geislerová (The Noonday Witch [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Jiří Sádek
film profile
]
) will star in the leading role. Preparations for shooting are expected to last until April 2020, with principal photography set to take place between May and September 2020. The post-production is preliminarily scheduled to happen between October 2020 and April 2021, while the producers are eyeing May 2021 for the premiere, as the top prize from Cinéfondation guarantees Kirchnerová a spot at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The theme of The Caravan is wholly personal. My son was born with Down syndrome and gradually developed autism as well,” explains the director, adding: “What is personal about it is the desire to escape and the longing to rebel against the role of the mother of a disabled child. The theme of rebellion is reflected in the choice of genre as well. The road-movie genre is, to me, the best expression of Ester’s aggressive longing to live.” The director notes that even though Ester could be a hero in a heavy social drama, she wants to make a movie that will, “despite the difficult theme, be hopeful, allowing for lightness, sensuality and bitter humour”.

The Caravan is being produced by Czech outfit nutprodukce, and co-produced by its Slovakian sister company nutprodukcia (Jakub Viktorín) and, on the Italian side, by Carlo Cresto-Dina, of Tempesta. The project does not have a sales agent attached yet.

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