The Czech Film Fund gives a financial boost to projects by emerging filmmakers
by Martin Kudlá?
- Rising talents have received funding for the development of their first feature-length projects, which range from family films to punk road movies
The Czech Film Fund has supported 16 feature-length fiction projects (from among 30 submissions from 27 production companies) with development grants, allocating a total of 9 million Czech crowns (€349,000) to them, following its latest call. The fund stated that domestic filmmakers are mostly interested in current topics that span a wide array of genres, ranging from family films to punk road movies, and even including a vampire film for children and sci-fi works.
The largest grant of €27,000 went to three projects. LUMINAR Film is developing The End of the World, which is set in 1968. Written by Ivan Arsenjev and with Ivan Zachariá?, of The Sleepers and Wasteland fame (see the news), attached to direct, the story follows Igor, the son of Russian aristocrats, and his nine-year-old grandson. The traumas of the 20th century are reflected in the grandfather’s fate, and the movie also depicts to what extent a human life can be shaped by historical events. Meanwhile, actor-turned-filmmaker Ji?í Mádl is continuing down his path as a writer-director and is bracing for his third feature-length project, Waves, set to be produced by Dawson Films, the story of which revolves around a young radio technician in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Helium Film is preparing the feature debut by FAMU student ?imon Holy, the autobiographical drama Thinking David (formerly titled Coming Out), which zeroes in on the life of the LGBT community in the Czech Republic.
Other supported titles include Fork Ridge, the first feature-length fiction offering by rising filmmaking talent Ond?ej Hude?ek, who won a Special Jury Prize for Directing with his short film Peacock at the Sundance Film Festival. Hude?ek made a documentary with Jon Weinbach, The Nagano Tapes: Rewound, Replayed & Reviewed, for which he won a Czech Lion (see the news), while his first fiction offering had been slated to be the ambitious project Bohemian Rhapsody (see the report). The detective drama Fork Ridge, which secured €23,529 and is being produced by nutprodukce, addresses the topics of crime and punishment as well as parenthood, and is set on the American continent. It will be developed in North America. Besides Hude?ek, the fund supported the development of a feature debut by another FAMU student, Piaoyue Xie, The Ugly Mandarin, set to be produced by Analog Vision. The story revolves around the romance between a Chinese girl called Yiou and a Slovak girl called Greta, and life within the LGBTQ+ community. The movie received €19,608.
Films with child protagonists and aimed at child audiences featured prominently among the supported projects. Lucie Bok?teflová will be joining forces once again with Tomá? Pavlí?ek, after their collaboration on Bear With Us [+see also:
interview: Tomá? Pavlí?ek
film profile], on the children’s comedy-action film Don’t Drink Our Blood!, produced by Masterfilm and bolstered with €23,529 in funding. DARQ Studio CZ also received a grant of €23,529 to develop the road movie Bicycles, following two boys as they escape from a children’s home in Russia in order to travel to Karlovy Vary to meet the father of one of the boys. Czech actor Jan Buda? is also preparing to sit in the director’s chair for his feature debut, The Mama’s Boy Prince, described as “a fairy tale with a philosophical message”, in which he will portray the title character after also writing the script (the project has been in development since 2019, and in the meantime, Buda? has published the story in a book of the same name). €9,804 were earmarked for the project.
Rising talent Beata Parkanová, who debuted with Moments [+see also:
interview: Beata Parkanová
interview: Beata Parkanová
film profile] in 2018, has been very prolific recently. Besides her other project, Scream as a Beautiful Song (the production of which was supported by the Czech Film Fund in spring 2018) and another feature-length fiction film, The Word, currently in development, she received development funding of €15,686 for her latest work, Column on D1 Highway, produced by Up&Up Production. The story will home in on several characters as they are stuck in a traffic jam on a highway between Prague and Brno on New Year’s Eve.
It’s not only rising domestic talents who have received backing: the Czech Film Fund has also supported several projects by established filmmakers. The seasoned creative tandem consisting of Petr Jarchovsky and Jan H?ebejk is working on the romantic comedy Little Daughter, centring on an ageing taxi driver accused of raping a young girl, and being produced by Actress Film. The Czech Film Fund supported the development of the movie to the tune of €23,529, noting that the project has the potential to become “a quality audience-friendly comedy”. In Film Praha is also producing a biopic drama, Tiso, by Slovakian writer-director Mariana ?engel Sol?anská, about a controversial figure in Slovak history, Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest and president who collaborated with Nazi Germany and was later executed for treason. It got €23,529 from the fund. Zdeněk Jirásky, who recently finished the period drama Kry?tof (see the news) and who is down to direct the Czech-Romanian-Slovenian family drama I Don’t Like You Anymore, is also set to helm Rooster Knights, a morality tale for a young audience, staged by 8Heads Productions. It secured €21,569.
The other projects that have been granted support are Dustland by ?tepán FOK Vodrá?ka (produced by Bionaut – €23,529), A Sensitive Person by Tomá? Klein (Masterfilm – €23,529), Grilling by Jaroslav Fuit (Cineart TV Prague – €19,608) and My Heart Beats to the Rhythm of the Swing by Ond?ej Havelka (Daniel Severa Production – €19,608).
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