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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Slovakia

HBO readies its first-ever Slovak series, The Winner

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- The six-episode dramedy, directed by Jan Hřebejk, will follow a former prime minister after he returns to a normal life and poke fun at patriarchy and politics

HBO readies its first-ever Slovak series, The Winner
Actors Ady Hajdu (left) and Milan Ondrík (right) on the set of The Winner

Filming has begun on a new HBO dramedy series with the working title The Winner, hailed as the first-ever Slovak project to be made for the premium television network. The six-episode series was written by the Slovak scriptwriting duo of Zuzana Dzurindová and Peter Nagy, who worked on several domestic series including The Websters (read the news) and Peter Bebjak’s post-apocalyptic web series The Spot. The series will follow Slovak prime minister Viktor Hudák as he ends his political career and returns to normal life. He soon finds out he does not wield power in his private life the way he was used to as the head of the government. Scriptwriter Zuzana Dzurindová is the daughter of former Slovak prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda. “She has first-hand experience of what it means to live in a family with a professionally exposed father. And she is not afraid to write about it,” said HBO Max producer Tereza Polachová. According to HBO Max producer Johnathan Young, the series pokes fun at patriarchy and politics.

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Czech director Jan Hřebejk (of the black Slovak-language comedy The Teacher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan Hřebejk
film profile
]
) is tapped to direct the series. Hřebejk had already helmed the Czech romantic comedy series Head over Heels for HBO while directing a host of crime series for Czech Television. “Comedy is based on the accuracy of situations and dialogues. I can already see that the scenes, with their credibility and construction, are becoming a reliable springboard for actors,” noted the director. The cast is predominantly Slovak, with Slovak actor Ady Hajdu (A Prominent Patient [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Toman [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Milan Ondrík (Let There Be Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marko Škop
interview: Milan Ondrík
film profile
]
) along with Czech actress Ivana Chýlková (Backstage). Prague-based company Etamp Film Production, which has made several series for HBO Europe including the acclaimed The Burning Bush, Wasteland and Head Over Heels, is producing The Winner which will be shot in Slovakia. 

The new platform HBO Max will replace the current service HBO Go in 2022 (read the news) in the Czech and Slovak territory. In addition to The Winner as the first Slovak series from Max Original production for the streaming service, the unscripted docu-series Czech It Out! (by the Czech director Matěj Chlupáček whose company Barletta Productions produces the project) will be HBO Max’s first unscripted documentary series shot in Europe.

The Winner is produced by Tereza Polachová and exec produced by Johnathan Young and Steve Matthews of HBO Max and Jan Bílek of Etamp Film Production.

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