Charlatan is on the Oscars shortlist

10 February 2021

Czech Film

Charlatan is on the Oscars shortlist

Czech Film

Charlatan is on the Oscars shortlist


Charlatan, Agnieszka Holland's first Czech feature film, is on the list of 15 titles shortlisted for the Oscar nomination in the International Feature Film category, announced by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The five nominations will be known on 15 March, with the awards ceremony scheduled for April 25.

After its world premiere at Berlinale Special Gala a year ago, the film has been selected for prestigious Telluride Film Festival and attracted also attention of buyers worlwide, including United States, where Strand Releasing will distribute the film. 

Despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic, the film became also one of the box office hits in the Czech cinemas attracting more that 250 000 cinema goers and picked up fourteen nominations for Czech Lion Awards, which will be handed out in March. Just a few days ago, Charlatan was also awarded two Czech Film Critics' Awards for Best Director (Agnieszka Holland) and for Best Actor (Ivan Trojan). 

Who is behind the film

Charlatan is a Czech-Irish-Polish-Slovak co-production with main producers being Šárka Cimbalová and Kevan Van Thompson from Prague-based Marlene Film Production. The co-producers are Film and Music Entertainment (IE), Madants (PL), Furia Film (SK), Czech Television (CZ), Barrandov Studio (CZ), Radio and Television Slovakia (SK), CertiCon (CZ) and Magiclab (CZ).

The film was supported by the Czech Film Fund in both development and production stages (with EUR 522 745), and in the film incentives programme. It also received the support from Polish Film Institute, Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Prague Film Fund.

International sales are handled by Films Boutique.

Film inspired by real events

Charlatan is inspired by the true story of herbalist Jan Mikolášek, who dedicated his life to caring for the sick, despite the immense obstacles he faced in his private and public life. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Mikolášek wins fame and fortune using unorthodox treatment methods to cure a wide range of diseases. Already a local institution in Czechoslovakia before World War II, the healer gains in reputation and wealth whether during the Nazi occupation or under the Communist rule. One after the other, every regime will want to use his skills and in return give him protection. But how high shall be the costs to maintain this status as the tide turns?

About the director

During her celebrated career, Agnieszka Holland was nominated for the Academy Award three times in the past: Angry Harvest (Best Foreign Film, in 1986), Europa Europa (Best Adapted Screenplay, in 1992) and In Darkness (Best Foreign Film, in 2012). Charlatan is her first majority Czech feature film, although she has directed the well-received limited series Burning Bush for the Czech branch of HBO in 2013, also inspired by real events of self-immolation of Jan Palach in 1968. Agnieszka Holland is a graduate of Prague's FAMU, where she lived for five years and speaks fluently Czech.

Czech Republic at the Oscars

Charlatan was send to the Oscars race by Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA). Last year, CFTA selected Václav Marhoul's black and white drama The Painted Bird as Czech Oscar candidate, and the film also made it to the shortlist of ten international feature films selected by the Academy, but didn't receive the nomination in the end. The complete shortlist can be found at

Three Czech (and Czechoslovak) feature films were awarded in the International Feature Film (formerly known as Best Foreign Film) category in the past: Kolya (Jan Svěrák, 1997), Closely Watched Trains (Jiří Menzel, 1968) and The Shop on the Main Street (Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos, 1966). The last feature film which received the nomination was Zelary (Ondřej Trojan, 2004).

Czech Film Center


Contact us