15 September 2023
In in the latest two calls for production support, a total of 16 projects were supported: nine minority co-productions of which five feature films, two documentaries and two animated films, as well as seven Czech documentaries.
In the minority co-productions call, the Council allocated a total support of EUR 682,000. The most frequent co-producing country was Slovakia, but many applications were also received from other parts of Europe and the world: from the Baltic states (Estonia, Lithuania), the Balkans, and Southern Europe (Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Greece, Italy, and Spain), Poland, Hungary, France, Luxembourg and Scandinavian countries (Norway, Iceland), and even from non-European countries including Canada, Israel, and Taiwan. In the evaluation process, the Council took into account the degree to which the objectives of the call were met and found that a number of the projects submitted fell short of this. For the first time, this call benefited from the analytical support of a group of experts, most of whose views and recommendations were shared by the Council.
8Heads Productions submitted the project Home (Domov). The Council was particularly impressed by the well-crafted script by Israeli debut writer-director Or Sinai, whose short film Anna won the Cinefondation Award at Cannes in 2016. A socially progressive drama deals with several current issues, such as working abroad to support one's family and the struggle between the patriarchal world and the desires of modern women, including a sensitive treatment of their sexual needs. The Council decided to support the project with EUR 112,000.
NOCHI FILM's Promise I'll Be Fine is a micro-budget project set in a remote part of central Slovakia, telling the story of a 14-year-old boy, Eňo, who lives there with his grandmother. The author's aim is to reflect on the influence of the environment in which a child grows up on the formation of his or her personality. Eňo's story is an intimate exploration of the life of a young man living in the socially marginalized conditions of a Slovak village. The production team consists of young Czech and Slovak film professionals and is based on a natural Slovak-Czech co-production relationships. The Council unanimously agreed to support this promising debut with the full amount requested, EUR 96,000.
The Hypermarket Film production company has presented the feature-length documentary project Shaman (Šaman) by director Beata Bubenec, inspired by the pilgrimage of the Siberian shaman Alexander Gabyshev from Yakutia to Moscow in order to free the world from the "demon Putin". Through this bizarre story, we are introduced to the current situation in Russia, which is returning to the methods of the Soviet Union. The Council decided to support the project with the reduced amount of EUR 60,000.
The project of Silk Films, the North Macedonia-Czechia-Croatia-Bulgaria co-production Exchanges (Výměny) by writer-director Gjorce Stavreski is submitted for the second time. The Council appreciates the author's previous work, as well as the original story, especially in the light of other projects. They also appreciate the quirky micro-stories that add interest to the main plot. However, some reservations about the script remain, and the Council has decided to support this project with a slightly reduced amount of EUR 112,000.
FILM KOLEKTIV is the Czech co-producer of the Norwegian film Team Havnaa, a sports drama with a criminal plot. It tells the true story of two brothers, one of whom tries to succeed in professional boxing, and the other is his indispensable support – until he feels useless and goes on a crime streak. The film is directed by Brad Breien, best known in the Czech Republic for his debut feature, The Art of Negative Thinking. This is the second application of the project, and this time the Council appreciated a qualitative shift in the form of a new, more elaborate version of the script and decided to support the project with EUR 120,000
All the Things We Missed by director and designer Marta Prokopová, a co-production of the Slovak company Artichoke and the Czech MAUR film, is the story of a young woman and her dog. When a pandemic traps them in a small apartment, it's the best time of his life. The project has already unsuccessfully applied for support in the majority animation call. This time, the Council appreciated the literary preparation, the readability of the theme, the sensitive narration, and the work with atmosphere, as well as the focus not only on the festival audience, and supported the project with EUR 24,000.
The resubmitted project The China Sea (Čínské more) is a Lithuania-Poland-Taiwan-Czech Republic co-production by Jurgis Matulevicius, with Bionaut as the Czech co-producing company. A multi-layered story opens an interesting topic of the search for inner balance and the struggle with one's own emotions. The Council appreciated the shift in the script and the overall atmosphere of the story, as well as the new female character but decided to support the project with a reduced amount of EUR 120,000 – reflecting the lower level of involvement of Czech filmmakers in the project.
The Ice That Still Support Us, an Estonia-Czech Republic -Lithuania feature-length documentary film, co-produced by Studio Beep, is an original project by Estonian screenwriter and director Arko Okko. It is an observational, slightly experimental, metaphorical, meditative film. The project is internationally intelligible, very local in its place of origin and observation, but interesting in that way. The Council also appreciates the creative involvement of the Czech co-producer (sound studio) in the narration of the film and decided to support it with EUR 18,000.
Evolution Films co-produces the Slovenian-French-Czech animated short Tourists about a couple whose hobby is marking hiking trails and who get lost during one hike. Through this comedic drama situation, their characters, with all their flaws and prejudices, are revealed. The Council positively evaluated the visual design of the film, the distinctive and sophisticated artistic expression, the work with stylisation and abbreviation, so typical of an animated short film. The Council decided to support the project at a reduced level, with EUR 20,000.
In the call for the production support of documentary films, the Council was deciding about 26 projects. Portraits of interesting personalities from the field of culture, politics, and sport were predominant, other projects focused on social issues and political and historical questions. The Council perceived that this time, due to their formal aesthetics and thematic targeting, many projects were primarily more suitable for television screens than cinemas. Finally, seven projects received the grant, and the full allocation of the call was distributed.
Frame Films presented Martin Páv's film Glowing which explores a cultural phenomenon occurring in many parts of the world today: skin bleaching. The multi-layered, internationally understandable project with the potential for successful distribution abroad has been supported in development. The Council found the project demonstration to be very visually impressive, showing that the creators will convey meaning through images, avoiding explanatory commentary. Despite the planned shooting in three foreign countries, the project has a relatively low budget. The Council decided to support it with the full requested amount of EUR 72,000.
Playtopia by Bára Jíchová Tyson is the story of a filmmaker and mother who explores how different children from various backgrounds perceive the world and the future. Through play, the children recreate present and future worlds, holding up a mirror to the values we pass on to them and offering a glimpse of a new way of being – the digital world. This CINEPOINT project's development has been supported by the Czech Film Fund and the Creative Europe MEDIA program under its previous title Love and Capitalism. The Council appreciated not only the playful and innovative visual approach of the project, but also its universal topics, the very high quality of the production plan and the readiness of the project for production. The Council therefore decided to support the project with the full amount requested, EUR 80,000.
The Negativ production company presents its new project Bára B. by the internationally acclaimed documentarist Helena Třeštíková (René - the Prisoner of Freedom, Anny), this time using her successful method of time-lapse filming on a well-known personality of Czech show business. Over the course of 35 years, Třeštíková explores the personality of the singer Bára Basiková. However, the documentary is not a glamouring portrait, but a frank and sensitive confession of a contradictory woman who tells about her relationships with men, her aspirations, her search for a place in her family and in her demanding profession. The Council supported the project with EUR 68,000.
Helium Film's project Virtual Girlfriend (Virtuální přítelkyně) aims to capture and explore the phenomenon of OnlyFans, an internet content subscription service used primarily by sex workers who produce pornography. The extent and easy availability of erotic content on social media is a major issue today, impacting both those who provide and those who buy. The authors intend to follow the selected protagonists over time for at least one year and have invited experts from the fields of sociology, psychotherapy, or mental health to collaborate. This is an interesting and socially important topic, and the author Barbora Chalupová has been focusing on Internet and the related issues for a long time. The Council decided to support the project with EUR 60,000.
The production company Pandistan has submitted a project for the feature-length documentary Musica o muerte: Destined to Freedom, the directorial debut of photographer Helena Jakrlová, focusing on contemporary Cuba, which producer Veronika Janatková took over from CINEPOINT. Based on the story of Gorki, frontman of the popular punk band Porno para Ricardo, the film offers a glimpse into the reality of contemporary Cuba and a testimony to the true face of a regime that outwardly presents itself as democratic. This is a very interesting and important subject, and the combination with a music documentary opens the door to a wider audience. The Council decided to support the project with a slightly reduced amount of EUR 68,000.
Gamma Pictures presents the project We Children of the Karlov Community (My děti z komunity Karlov) by directors Jindřich and Eliška Andrš repeatedly. The core of the film, which deals with drug addiction and its treatment, is the observation of a therapeutic community and the specific therapeutic methods used. The Council recognized a significant change in the narrative structure, with the focus on individual characters and the framing of the theme of drug addiction and its treatment. The project is very well staffed and has a high social benefitiality. The Council decided to support the project, albeit at a reduced level, with EUR 60,000.
The time-lapse documentary by Martin Trabalík What about Little Peter? (Co s Péťou?), produced by Gnomon Production, tells the story of a father of two teenage children, a demanding autistic son and his younger sister, whom he raises alone after the death of his wife. At the same time, the film depicts the situation in the system of respite care for people with autism in the Czech Republic. The primarily social theme is treated from a creative point of view from a wider perspective that will allow this documentary to find its way into cinemas and alternative distribution. The international dimension of the project is added by its participation in the Ex Oriente film workshop. The Council has decided to support the project with EUR 48,000.