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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Czech Republic / Switzerland

First-ever Czech-Swiss co-production Lost in Paradise shoots in Prague

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- Fiona Ziegler’s absurd comedy-road movie revolves around the clash between two worlds and “the grotesque charm of the bourgeoisie”

First-ever Czech-Swiss co-production Lost in Paradise shoots in Prague
Actor Dominique Jann on the set of Lost in Paradise

Czech-based Swiss filmmaker Fiona Ziegler, a FAMU graduate, is presently shooting her debut feature, Lost in Paradise, which is expected to wrap on 8 August. Ziegler’s absurd comedy-road movie is the first-ever Czech-Swiss co-produced project, and is being shot in Prague and Bern. The story is described as revolving around the clash between two worlds, and the movie stars Swiss actor Dominique Jann as the protagonist, Evžen, and Czech actress Hana Vagnerová as his love interest.

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Evžen traded Switzerland for Prague, a city his father left in 1968, to live an independent, bohemian life running a music club called Venuše (Venus). His situation changes suddenly when a fire breaks out in the venue and he has to pay for the damage within a week to avoid eviction. In order to continue living in Prague, he decides to return to his homeland to find a solution involving his domineering father. The producers sum up the story like this: “An unexpected trip back to his homeland of Switzerland confronts him with a smuggled crocodile called Karlchen, David Hasselhoff, his father’s continuous delusion and the grotesque charm of the bourgeoisie.”

“It’s a big challenge for me to be working on a first feature-length film in two languages, two countries and two cultures. My intention, and the meaning of this film, is to create a bridge between these two nations. They have been historically connected since the moment Switzerland became home to thousands of emigrants from Czechoslovakia after the August occupation [the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968],” says the director, adding that the picture is partially autobiographical. Besides the Swiss-Czech cast, Swiss editor-director Christof Schertenleib, who has been a long-term collaborator on Ulrich Seidl’s projects since Loss Is to Be Expected (1992), is working on the movie along with DoP Yvon Teysslerova.

Lost in Paradise is being produced by Czech outfit Cinémotif Films and Swiss company Cognito Films, and is being co-produced by FAMU. The Czech Film Fund, Prague Film Fund, Pro Cinema Berne and Zürcher Filmstiftung have supported the project. Lost in Paradise was presented at the Crossroads Co-Production Forum, and participated in the MFI Script2Film workshop and the MIDPOINT Norway Script Development Workshop. The release is scheduled for autumn 2020.

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