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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Czech Republic / France

Canal+ shoots first Czech miniseries, Daughter of the Nation

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- The show, directed by Cristina Grosan and Matěj Chlupáček, blends Czech history and modern storytelling in a tale of the clash between personal desires and societal expectations

Canal+ shoots first Czech miniseries, Daughter of the Nation
Antonie Formanová (right) and Martina Jindrová in Daughter of the Nation (© Canal+)

French streaming platform Canal+ expanded its streaming activities and VoD library to include the Slovak and Czech territories last April. Ladislav Řeháček, vice-president of Canal+ Luxembourg for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, commented on the expansion into these two territories, stating: “Aligned with the Canal+ Group's strategy in other markets, our goal is to establish ourselves as a significant provider of original content, with a focus on sports broadcasts, films and series. The introduction of our streaming service is a pivotal element in this strategy. Additionally, this expansion is a noteworthy development for the brand, as Canal+ content is now accessible through our own Canal+ app, independent of the user's choice of a television service provider.”

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The first series produced under the Canal+ Original brand will be Daughter of the Nation, for which the shoot has just commenced in Prague. The story focuses on Zdeňka Havlíčková, the daughter of pioneering Czech journalist Karel Havlíček Borovský. Following her father's death, Czech revivalists aim to shape her into a symbol of Czech culture. Defiantly independent, Zdeňka's romance with a Polish officer in the Austrian army alters her public image from adored child to traitor.

The series navigates her dilemma between following her heart and conforming to societal expectations by marrying into a reputable Czech family. Borovský, recognised as the founder of Czech journalism, satire and literary criticism, and his daughter Havlíčková are important 19th-century figures in the Czech cultural narrative. Havlíčková, referred to as the “daughter of the nation” as a result of her being the daughter of a national icon, embodies a significant symbol of Czech national pride and identity.

Daughter of the Nation offers an unconventional yet highly entertaining take on a story from Czech history, inspired by popular foreign concepts. We are delighted to offer domestic viewers this genre and this modern format, which has been missing from the Czech selection of titles. The series promises a truly unique experience filled with humour, passion and unexpected twists,” says Lada Dobrkovská from the local team, who oversees domestic production for Canal+ in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Antonie Formanová (Borders of Love [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Tomasz Wiński
film profile
]
) stars as the lead character, Zdeňka Havlíčková, with the roles of Czech revivalists played by Jiří Langmajer (Bet on Friendship), Jan Vlasák (Restore Point [+see also:
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interview: Robert Hloz
film profile
]
), Vladimír Javorský (A Sensitive Person [+see also:
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interview: Tomáš Klein
film profile
]
), Leoš Noha (The Greedy Tiffany [+see also:
trailer
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]
) and Robert Mikluš (Snake Gas [+see also:
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film profile
]
). The miniseries is being helmed by two up-and-coming filmmakers, Cristina Grosan (Ordinary Failures [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristina Grosan
film profile
]
) and Matěj Chlupáček (We Have Never Been Modern [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Matěj Chlupáček and Miro Ši…
film profile
]
). Chlupáček also serves as a producer for Barletta Production, which is set to release the ambitious miniseries We're on It, Comrades! (see the news) on Czech Television in early 2024.

“Our series aims to be different – human, contemporary, alive. Zdeňka was primarily a teenager like any other, struggling with the interference of a group of ageing men in her life, trying to dictate whom she could or could not love,” says Grosan. “We want to definitively remove the patina of a ‘symbol betrayed by the nation’ from her, and show the greats of her era as the lively and entertaining characters they were. Canal+'s own production involvement allows us to keep up with global serial production trends, and to approach the historical theme in a contemporary and humorous manner,” adds Chlupáček. Scriptwriter Miro Šifra, who was behind We Have Never Been Modern and the Czech miniseries Rats, which has been sold internationally, takes on the role of showrunner, while Lucie Vaňková (A Sensitive Person) penned the script. The miniseries will be available in two formats: six 30-minute episodes and three one-hour films.

Daughter of the Nation is being produced by Canal+, Barletta Production and Czech Television. The series premiere is planned for autumn 2024 via Canal+'s linear broadcast and streaming platform.

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