12 September 2023
Members of the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) selected Brothers as the Czech entry for the Oscars. A fast-paced drama, directed by Tomáš Mašín, tells a real story about two brothers, who wanted to leave communist Czechoslovakia and join US Army in West Berlin in 1953. What ensued was one of the largest manhunts in modern history. The film will represent the Czech Republic as the official submission for the 96th Academy Awards in the category Best International Feature Film. The Czech Film Fund supported the film with altogether EUR 632 000.
In October 1953, five friends decide to leave communist Czechoslovakia and get to West Berlin. They manage to cross the guarded border but are soon detected in East German territory. Unknowingly, they initiate the largest armed manoeuvre since WW2; twenty thousand German Police and Soviet Army members are mobilised, all because of five teenage boys. After an extensive hunt, two members of the group are caught and, after extradition to Czechoslovakia, executed. In the following week, with no shelter, food, or rest, the remaining three, the Mašín brothers and their injured friend Milan Paumer, finally make it to West Berlin. They save themselves but the regime will have its vengeance on their families.
Tomáš Mašín (1965) graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. His first feature film 3 Seasons in Hell was nominated for 11 Czech Lion national awards, of which it won three. The film was included in the main competition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2010. He is also one of the most highly regarded domestic directors of commercials, for which he has received numerous awards, and he has worked on several TV projects such as Professor T. or The Defender. Tomáš has completed his second feature film Wilson City in 2015 and his follow-up feature, Exhale, starring Jana Plodková, just entered Czech cinemas. He spent more than 8 years working on Brothers, the film inspired by the story of his distant relatives.
Brothers is a coproduction between Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. Petr Bílek and his production outfit FilmBrigade is the main producer of the film, coproduced by Czech Television, Zuzana Mistríková from PubRes in Slovakia and Benny Dreschsel from ROHFILM Productions in Germany. World sales and festivals are handled by The Yellow Affair. The Czech Film Fund supported the film with altogether EUR 632 000 and the film also received the support from Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Eurimages.
The film was selected by the members of the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) out of 12 submissions. The selection process took place between 1 and 10 September, 2023. The shortlist of 15 films in the Best International Feature Film category will be announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) on 21 December, 2023. The awards ceremony will take place on 10 March, 2024 in Los Angeles.
In 2022, Czech republic sent to the Oscar race Il Boemo by Petr Václav. So far only two Czechoslovak and one Czech film have managed to get the award for the Best International Feature Film: The Shop on Main Street by Ján Kádár and Elmar Klos in 1966, Closely Watched Trains by Jiří Menzel in 1968 and Kolya by Jan Svěrák in 1997. Six more films received the nomination: The Loves of a Blonde (in 1967) and The Firemen’s Ball (in 1969) by Miloš Forman, My Sweet Little Village by Jiří Menzel (in 1987), The Elementary School by Jan Svěrák (in 1992), Divided We Fall by Jan Hřebejk (in 2001) and Želary by Ondřej Trojan (in 2004).
Short animated documentary Rising Above by Natálie Durchánková, produced at Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, is one of the seven finalists in the Documentary category of the Student Oscars. The Academy will announce the winners in Los Angeles on 24 October, 2023.
Based on events told by a survivor that almost lost her life in a violent sexually motivated assault, the film reveals her harrowing experience and the subsequent emotional toll it takes on her. We follow her journey of healing and self-discovery as she finds a way to move forward highlighting the resilience and courage of all survivors.
In 2019, Daria Kashcheeva was awarded the Student Oscar for her short animated film Daughter about the complicated relationship between daughter and father. Daria Kashcheeva was the third Czech director honored with this prize, after Jan Svěrák (Oil Gobblers, 1989) and Marie Dvořáková (Who’s Who in Mycology, 2017). Several Czech and Czechoslovak authors were nominated for the student Oscar in the past: Miloš Zábranský (Horečka všedního dne, 1982), Aurel Klimt (Bloodthirsty Hugo, 1997), Václav Švankmajer (Test, 2000) and Ondřej Hudeček (Peacock, 2016).