Barletta Productions: A Powerhouse in the Making

04 May 2023

Film Industry

Barletta Productions: A Powerhouse in the Making

Film Industry

Barletta Productions: A Powerhouse in the Making


While the company is among the youngest in the country, Barletta Productions has managed to establish itself as a strong, versatile, and thriving local brand in an ever-changing industry. Its meteoric rise, fueled by business savvy and a crew of in-house talents, has led to strategic partnerships outside the Czech Republic. Now in its second decade and at the height of its strength, the company has an appetite for further international development.

Article by Martin Kudláč for CZECH FILM / Summer 2023

A prodigy cometh

At just 16 years old, a high school dropout decided to make a film. He began producing it at 17 and took the helm as its director. Embracing a DIY spirit and defying filmmaking conventions, the film was completed by his 18th birthday, making him the youngest European director ever. This might sound like a quirky anecdote destined for a Forbes 30 Under 30 list, but it's actually the remarkable career-launching story of Czech producer-director Matěj Chlupáček, who now heads the Prague-based production powerhouse Barletta Productions. Skipping the traditional steps of film school and short films, Chlupáček wrapped up his feature-length debut, the psychological drama Touchless, in 2013, marking the beginning of Barletta's fruitful journey. He was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 in 2016.

What may have initially seemed like an audacious display of youthful idealism quickly transformed into a meteoric rise to prominence. Barletta Productions now dominates the big screen, small screens, and emerging media, showing no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of high-quality audiovisual content amidst an increasingly fast-paced and mercurial industry.

Velocity unleashed

Following the success of Touchless, Barletta Productions, led by Chlupáček, continued to collaborate with young, emerging filmmakers on feature films. In 2014, the company premiered Hany, a single-shot, coming-of-age drama written and directed by rising talent Michal Samir. The film garnered international acclaim, winning the Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Georgia, the German Independence Award at Oldenburg, Germany, and Best Cinematography at the Czech Film Critics Awards 2014.

Barletta then supported another up-and-coming filmmaker, Jiří Sádek, who helmed The Noonday Witch, a modern daylight horror penned by Samir and based on a poem by 19th-century Czech poet Karel Jaromír Erben. The Noonday Witch was co-produced with HBO Europe, launching a partnership that lasted until HBO's recent withdrawal from the Central European market. Chlupáček was hired to direct episodes of the local version of HBO's franchise In Treatment (2019) and later collaborated on HBO Max's first local unscripted show, Czech It Out (2022), a docuseries exploring Czech food, culture, and places.


Simultaneously pursuing cinematic works, Barletta Productions has been prolific in producing high-end commercials and online content for domestic and global brands. As a forward-thinking company, Barletta is always exploring new technologies and audiovisual expression.

Big and small screen renaissance

Barletta Productions entered a golden age in 2017 when esteemed casting director Maja Hamplová joined the company as its second producer. Chlupáček and Hamplová have since led the majority of projects together, with their creative partnership kicking off on the television series Professor T. (2018), a Czech adaptation of the Belgian crime drama series centered around an eccentric university professor who solves crimes. The company continued its foray into television with the high-paced crime drama Rats (2020), set in the Czech drug underworld, and produced in collaboration with renowned Czech director-producer Viktor Tauš. Chlupáček and Tauš shared directing duties on the acclaimed TV series for the national Czech public broadcaster, ultimately winning the prestigious Czech Lion award.

In 2022, Barletta Productions unveiled two series: the crime drama Behind the Curtain for Czech Television and the biopic miniseries Iveta, about modern Czech pop icon Iveta Bartošová, for a local streamer. The company also delivered a crime thriller drama, Shadowplay (2022), directed by prolific local filmmaker Peter Bebjak;  the film was produced in collaboration with Hangar Films and the director's Slovak-based production company D.N.A., which shares Barletta's taste for arthouse-driven genre fare.

Unlike other local production companies, Barletta Productions employs a crew of 30-40 in-house talents, enabling dynamic ventures across various formats and ensuring consistent, high-quality output. Chlupáček and Hamplová have formed the Barletta Family brand, which unites several companies under a collective umbrella, including Barletta Productions for film and advertising projects, Hamplová's casting agency Casting by Maja, and a media agency led by Chlupáček and Czech entrepreneur Tomáš Hodboď, who also run the creative tabletop studio Iscream along with Hamplová and cinematographer Martin Douba.

Serving the king of streaming

Barletta Productions' leadership exhibits an entrepreneurial and business-savvy mindset, enabling the company to expand its efforts. Despite HBO's withdrawal from the local market, which the producers credit for their early career boost, the company has adapted to producing content for other VOD services. Previous works remain available on SkyShowtime, and the company is closely monitoring the development of Discovery+ on the Czech market. Their go-to streaming service is currently Voyo, run by the domestic commercial channel TV Nova. Barletta acknowledges Voyo's growing role on the local market, seizing the opportunity for domestic dominance by producing a wide range of content at a staggering pace to cater to an increasingly diverse audience and genre spectrum. Chlupáček dubs Voyo the current king of streaming in the Czech Republic. Barletta's partnership with Voyo began with the miniseries Iveta, and due to popular demand, the streamer has already commissioned second and third seasons of the show.

Entering the new age

Amidst the production workload, Chlupáček recently directed his sophomore feature, We Have Never Been Modern, a 1930s crime drama examining gender roles against the genre backdrop of a peculiar case involving a deceased intersex newborn. Barletta's in-house talent Miro Šifra, one of the Czech Republic's busiest screenwriters and a rising star in the industry, penned the script. While the film is a co-production between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Chlupáček and Hamplová hired top-tier talent to add extra charm to their latest creation. The film was graded in Los Angeles at Company 3 and Pictureshop by La La Land and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse grader Natasha Leonnet, and Grammy-winning British composer Simon Goff (Joker, Chernobyl) crafted the film's music in Berlin. Acclaimed sales agent LevelK has already boarded the film, preparing for international sales.

Another of Chlupáček's projects, Living Large – a puppet feature film by Czech animator and illustrator Kristina Dufková (Fimfarum - Third Time Lucky 3D) – has already sold to 10 territories, in addition to the markets of the producing countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and France. Handled by French company Goodfellas (formerly Wild Bunch), the film is based on the children's book of the same name by French author Mikaël Ollivier. In this story, an overweight teenage protagonist dreams of opening a restaurant and experiences his first love. Director Dufková compares her film, visually and narratively, to Adam Elliot's Mary and Max (2009) and to the award-reaping animated film My Life as a Zucchini (2016) by Claude Barras.


A glance at Barletta's big-screen and small-screen roster reveals the company's affinity for genre fare. The CEO expresses their intention to connect genre with an arthouse approach while embracing entertainment. "We want to combine visually strong, aesthetic works with topics that create discussions in society," says the producer, describing the company's signature brand of films.

No limits

Despite ever-changing market conditions and rapid technological advancements, Barletta Productions remains steadfast in its commitment to creating compelling content that resonates with audiences. It currently has no less than 15 projects underway. Hamplová, in addition to her producing and casting duties, is completing the feature-length documentary Is There Any Place For Me, Please?, directed by photojournalist Jarmila Štuková. The film follows the life of Martina Půtová after an acid attack, documenting her life-altering injuries, loss of eyesight, and subsequent dedication to helping others through various social initiatives. Another documentary in post-production is Karlos, a cinematic profile of leading Czech MMA fighter Karlos Vémola, co-directed by Michal Samir and Šimon Šafránek (King Skate, Meky).


In addition to seasons two and three of Iveta, Barletta will be delivering the docuseries You Know Me So Little to streamer Voyo. Currently in post-production, the series serves as a companion piece to Voyo's series depicting the life and career of the protagonist, pop singer Iveta Bartošová. Voyo has also commissioned another series helmed by Michal Samir, I Love You Forever, Dad, based on the true story of Jaroslav Berger's pursuit of justice for his son, who was killed at the age of 18.

However, the company isn't restricted to delivering content to only one streamer. In pre-production is the miniseries The Daughter of the Nation – a daring romantic comedy, as Chlupáček describes it – about Zdena Havlíčková, who became a tragic figure of nationalistic-ideological manipulation by politicians in the late 19th century. This project marks Barletta's first work for the French premium television channel Canal+.

Additionally, the company has forged a creative partnership with German public-service television broadcaster ZDF. In collaboration with Czech Television and Network Movie, Barletta is producing and shooting a period comic mystery miniseries, We’re on It, Comrades! Inspired by the true story of an actual institute for paranormal events that existed in 1980s Czechoslovakia, Chlupáček and Hamplová take on producing duties, with Chlupáček also directing with Michal Samir. The series is penned by Miro Šifra, Lucie Vaňková, and Marie Stará.

Despite Barletta Productions' versatility, one sector remains untapped – film servicing. However, the company is already in negotiations for a project involving the retelling of a Czech story by Spanish and American filmmakers. Chlupáček reveals that film servicing is among the branches they'd like to expand into in the near future.

Related films

Is There Any Place For Me, Please?

Acid attacks around the world have been rising rapidly over the last 10 years. But Martina is only the second case of a woman in the Czech Republic who has survived a brutal acid attack as an act of revenge by an ex-boyfriend.…





Living Large

Ben is 12, he is from a divorced family and even though he is a talented chef-in-the-making, his physique leaves much to be desired. So far, the fact that he is fat didn’t bother him much. However, with the summer and school back…





The Noonday Witch

A story of Eliška and her daughter, starting a new life in a remote house with the ‘father away on business’, as the mother claims. After the lie is disclosed, their relationship begins to wither. At that time, the mythical…


Jiří Sádek





Related people

Matěj Chlupáček

Director, Producer, Film Contact
Czech Republic

Czech Film Center
division of the Czech Film Fund promoting Czech cinema worldwide



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