27 April 2023
The total amount requested by applicants in the spring combined call for animated film development and production support almost tripled the allocated amount of EUR 1.292,000. What is encouraging, however, is the number of well-prepared projects submitted, giving a relevant idea of the technological, stylistic, post-production and distribution goals of individual works. The highest grant was awarded to Jiří Bárta's combined feature film Golem.
The spectrum of genres and styles shows that the current state of domestic animation is in line with European or world standards, promising further development and creative perspectives with a global impact. The Council did not allocate the full amount of the call; the remaining funds will be carried over to the autumn, increasing the potential opportunity to support a feature-length project in addition to short films.
Vladimír Lhoták's production company Hauseboot has applied for support of two projects: the first one – submitted for production support – is the long-prepared feature film Golem, a new version of the Golem story by respected director Jiří Barta (The Pied Piper) and screenwriter Edgar Dutka. This surrealistic drama, which combines animation with live action, deals with the timeless yet highly topical themes of manipulation and populism. The story is set in communist Prague of 1950s. A banal coincidence sends a math student Adam on a quest to find the famous Prague Golem and bring it back to life. The project has been brought to a very sophisticated and original form, and the Council decided to support it with the full amount requested, EUR 600,000.
The second Hauseboot production, Timeless – applying for development support – is the project of Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeníček (Even Mice Belong in Heaven), which has already received the Czech Film Fund's support for the development of
the first version of the script. Timeless presents a mysterious world where the usual rules of time do not apply. Between recent events and centuries away, souls wander, unable to find peace. They are trapped in the key moments of their past lives like stuck records, condemned to relive the same things over and over again. In the context of children's films, this is a highly original project with an interesting genre mix of horror, comedy, fantasy, detective story and adventure that simultaneously appeals to the viewer and delves into deeper themes such as coming to terms with the past. The Council appreciated the project's readiness for production, the confirmed participation of Czech television, and the planned international co-production and decided to support it with EUR 80,000.
The production company Negativ has submitted a project for the development of the feature-length animated film Night Tram by one of its regular directors, the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Michaela Pavlátová (My Sunny Maad). The author follows up her very successful animated short Tram, by making its protagonist – the tram driver – the heroine of her new project. It is already clear that a beautiful and moving story about aging and coping with it is in the pipeline. The Fund's Council is convinced that an exceptional work of art is being created and decided to support the project with EUR 56,000.
Martin Živocký's (The Case) original and autobiographically inspired project Paints was supported for full development in 2019.
The story premise of a world in which every person has one of six colors that expresses his or her nature, and a protagonist in whom two colors are fighting, was retained. However, the plot focused more on the humans' tendency to create constructs about the world and themselves and to hold on to them at all costs. This very distinctive, intelligent, cross-genre project, produced by the Krutart production company, was supported with EUR 100,000.
The Filmofon production company submitted the project Kill, Kokesh, Kill! by screenwriter Jeremy Willis and director and producer Jan Míka for the second time. The Council already previously appreciated the distinctive way in which the project follows the tradition of Karel Zeman as well as the unusual humor that accompanies it. This time a significant progress was made on the production side of the project. The support was granted at a reduced level of EUR 80,000 due to the higher proportion of the requested support in the total project budget.
Producer Karolína Davidová´s (13ka production company) ambition is to develop a unique film that will appeal to a wider audience than just festival audiences with its theme and imagery set in a solid narrative framework. The director, screenwriter, and designer of the new project Splinter (Tříska), Bára Halířová, has already proven her qualities in her previous film, Hide N Seek. The theme of trying to find a room to rent, the target audience will certainly identify with, is treated with the lightness and humor typical of the author, reflecting her personal experience. The development of the project was supported with EUR 20,000.
MAUR film presents its original and interesting project by director and artist Bára Valecká Fears (Strachy) which impressed the Council with its elaborate visual design, using combined techniques, and employment of documentary educational commentary. Compared to the previous submission, the Council noted a positive shift in the dramatic storyline of Jana Šrámková's (Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light) script, appreciated the expected positive benefits for both parents and children viewers and decided to support its development with EUR 20,000
The animated short I Died in Irpin is another project submitted for production support by the prestigious MAUR film. The project by writer, director and artist Anastasia Falileva reconstructs a true story of survival through a personal and subjective lens, where
the magical power of animation takes a fragile and sober narrative to new levels and meanings. The Council considers the project to be artistically slightly punk and art brut in a good sense, mixing the mundane with great history in a shocking compression, and artistically combining charcoal drawings and real footage with collage, evoking the fragmentary nature of memory. The project was supported with EUR 60,000.
Animated story for ages 4-7 by Kateřina Karhánková To the Pole! produced by Bionaut is a Christmas special suitable for both cinema and television, following the successful 26-part animated series Hungry Bear Tales. The project has a clear authorial and artistic concept, works properly with its target audience, and sensitively and playfully addresses important issues for the child viewer – the need to help, not to be afraid to ask for help or advice, and most importantly, the willingness to give it. The production strategy is well thought out and appropriate to the project, and the co-production with Ireland means that the English version of the film will automatically be produced. The project was supported with EUR 160,000.
The resubmitted project Happy Epi, also produced by Bionaut, written, directed, and designed by Noemi Valentíny, will take the form of an anidoc. Happy Epi is based on the story of a girl who, despite suffering from epileptic seizures, makes her first independent trip abroad only with two friends and a backpack on her back. At the same time, the story moves to a more general level, reflecting on the need of disabled people to live a "normal" life and integrate into a "healthy" society. This universally understandable message has a chance to appeal to a specific audience, especially teenagers, not only in the Czech Republic but also abroad. The Council decided to support the project with a slightly reduced amount of EUR 14,000.
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe! is an animated short film for children and adults produced by CINEPOINT and inspired by Greek mythology, ancient frescoes and ceramics. Its story is told metaphorically, with humor and a friendly view of the world. The main character is Yiós, the son of Helios, who wears a very bright crown on his head. When his friends, who are blinded by his crown, throw him to the ground, he meets a blind boy, his new friend. Writer and director Andrea Szelesová playfully uses the film's central point to suggest how to work with otherness or exceptionality. The project was supported with EUR 14,000.