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OSCARS 2020

Czech set decorator Nora Sopková gets an Oscar nomination

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- The Czech artist may just bring home the coveted statuette from the US film industry’s biggest awards gala

Czech set decorator Nora Sopková gets an Oscar nomination
Director Taika Waititi gives actor Roman Griffin Davis directions while filming Jojo Rabbit on location in the Czech Republic (© Kimberley French/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

The World War II Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit [+see also:
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film profile
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by New Zealand-born writer-director Taika Waititi, who himself portrays Adolf Hitler, the imaginary friend of the ten-year-old protagonist, is on course to possibly win an Academy Award. The film’s journey thus far has been paved with nominations and wins during the ongoing awards season. For instance, Jojo Rabbit has netted a Writers Guild Award, a BAFTA (for Best Screenplay), a Hollywood Film Award (for Best Production Designer) and a gong from the Online Association of Female Film Critics, among others. Out of a total of 128 nominations, the film has netted 28 statuettes so far.

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The period “anti-hate satire” was shot completely in the Czech Republic from 28 May-22 July 2018, totalling 40 filming days followed by five additional shooting days in February 2019. A crew of 160 Czech film professionals worked on Waititi’s comedy, alongside Kevan Van Thompson as executive producer and Václav Mottl as production manager from Czech production company Czech Anglo Productions, which coordinated the shoot for US studio Fox.

The main shooting locations were Barrandov Studio, Žatec, Úštěk, Kytín, Dolní Beřkovice, Hořín and Lenešice, plus Prague – in Petschek Palace, for example. Czech Anglo Productions has experience handling international shoots, as the company previously worked on The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017), Unlocked [+see also:
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(2017) and the series The Musketeers (2014–2016).

The production spent €7.5 million of the total budget of €12.7 million on Czech products and services eligible for the cash rebate within the Czech incentive scheme, which totalled €1.34 million. “We chose the Czech Republic for its locations, especially the historical towns, the quality of the crews and studios, and the overall high level of services that you need for international crews and actors. But the incentives they provided also played a crucial role for us,” confirmed producer Carthew Neal.

The glitz and glamour of the US awards may even trickle down to Czech professionals, as Czech artist Nora Sopková has been nominated for her set-decorating work on the film, alongside Ra Vincent (Thor: Ragnarok, The Hobbit trilogy, Alice Through the Looking Glass) in the category of Best Production Design. In addition to the US award nomination, Sopková was also nominated on British turf for the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design.

“Nora Sopková was a standout person for me. She had a really beautiful way of describing mood, colour and furnishings with a bit more of a theatrical approach,” said Ra Vincent in a conversation with SDSA (watch the full conversation here). Besides Jojo Rabbit, the Czech artist has also worked as a set decorator on The Catcher Was a Spy, A Royal Affair [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mikkel Boe Følsgaard
interview: Nikolaj Arcel
film profile
]
, Marguerite [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Xavier Giannoli
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]
, Personal Shopper [+see also:
film review
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interview: Artemio Benki
interview: Olivier Assayas
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]
, The Quake [+see also:
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, and domestic projects such as Toman [+see also:
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, The Red Captain [+see also:
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film profile
]
and Wilson City [+see also:
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film profile
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. She is currently working on the second season of the American neo-noir fantasy TV series Carnival Row, from which she will travel to the Oscars ceremony, and Shadowplay, a character-driven thriller set in Berlin in 1946, starring Taylor Kitsch and Michael C Hall.

“In addition to the economic contribution of foreign productions to the Czech economy, another benefit of the film incentives is the fact that we are filming movies and serials here that achieve global success – and so promote not only the Czech film industry, but also the country itself. Thanks to these successes, they know and talk about us and Czech filmmakers abroad, which draws the attention of other producers,” says Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the Czech Film Fund.

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