Ondřej Hudeček shoots "COVID western" Little Thief
- The rising Czech filmmaker behind the acclaimed short Peacock offers a cinematic fusion of crime, social drama and satirical western in an ironic tilt at classic Hollywood narratives
Another promising Czech talent is now working on his feature-length fiction debut. Ondřej Hudeček had a successful run on the international film festival circuit with his student short film Peacock, a career breakthrough that netted him a Special Jury Award for Best Direction at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. Hudeček has been working on a large-scale ambitious project ever since, a feature-length spin-off and a sequel to his successful short film Peacock, titled Age of Grandeur (formerly known as Bohemian Rhapsody and introduced as such at the Czech Film Springboard 2016 – read the industry report). However, his fiction feature debut (he already has an award-winning feature documentary under his belt, namely The Nagano Tapes: Rewound, Replayed & Reviewed) will be a small-town heist comedy Little Thief.
The film follows Lupyn, a former prison inmate turned leader of a band of petty thieves, played by Matyáš Řezníček (Borders of Love [+see also:
interview: Tomasz Wiński
film profile]). In a twist moulded by the global COVID-19 pandemic, their typically criminal antics metamorphose into unlikely rescue operations aimed at preventing local businesses from sinking into bankruptcy. He starts staging thefts as insurance frauds to help local businesses stay afloat. Hudeček, renowned for his formalistic finesse, worked on the script with Jan Smutný, promising black humour, absurd plot shifts, and oddball characters.
The director's vision for Little Thief embraces a cinematic language reminiscent of titles such as Ocean’s Eleven and Logan Lucky, but with an ironic tilt on traditional Hollywood storytelling. The film will be a fusion of crime, social drama and heist with a touch of western tropes which it will slightly parody, echoing the Coen brothers' works Fargo and Blood Simple. It is dubbed a "covid Western," and the Czech Film Fund board acknowledges that adapting the genre to a domestic context holds significant audience appeal.
The second phase of shooting is currently ongoing, with production slated to wrap in October 2023. Hudeček is serving as the director of photography and will also be handling editing duties. Post-production activities are forecasted to span until August 2024. Little Thief is expected to start its festival run in 2025. The cast includes Václav Neužil (Zátopek [+see also:
interview: David Ondříček
film profile]), Lukáš Příkazký, Filip Kaňkovský (Seven Ravens [+see also:
film profile]), Petr Borovec (LOVEhunt), Ján Jackuliak (We Have Never Been Modern [+see also:
interview: Matěj Chlupáček and Miro Ši…
film profile]) and Denisa Barešová (Victim [+see also:
interview: Michal Blaško
Little Thief is produced by Czech outfit nutprodukce and co-produced by its Slovakian sister company nutprodukcia and Czech Television. The Czech Film Fund, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Creative Europe MEDIA, Eurimages and South Moravian Film Fund have supported the project. Bontonfilm will handle the local theatrical release, while the sales agent is in negotiations.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.