13 December 2023
A total of ten films were selected for support by the Czech Film Fund's Council in the call for Czech minority co-productions. Among them are films by internationally acclaimed directors as well as debuts by the young up-and-coming generation. The total budget of EUR 800,000 was divided among five live-action films (one of them a short), four documentaries, and one animation. In addition to traditional co-production partners such as Slovakia and Poland, the fund supported projects by filmmakers from Iceland, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Africa.
"In the feature film category, dramas with various contemporary topics were traditionally the most represented genre. Among the submissions were historical dramas, a social drama about seamstresses during the Covid pandemic, a dystopia, a coming-of-age mystery drama, or a children's film with animation elements. We are pleased to see the increasing quality of some of the projects, including a good script, a quality cast, and an excellent production concept," said Marta Švecová, Vice Chair of the Council.
The family road movie with fantasy elements Sea Light (Mořské světlo), a Poland-Czech Republic co-production by award-winning director Olga Chajdas, is co-produced by the Czech moloko film. The film's protagonist convinces her grandfather to run away, and instead of going from an old people's home to a psychiatric clinic, they embark on a journey to the sea and adventure. For her previous film Imago, which was also co-produced by moloko film, the director won the FIPRESCI Award in the Proxima section at this year's Karlovy Vary IFF. The Council supported the project with EUR 120,000.
Made in EU, directed by Stefan Komandarev, a Bulgary-Germany-Czech Republic co-production, is a social drama from the Covid period. A seamstress Iva and her colleagues work under inhuman conditions in a local workshop owned by a foreigner. After Iva collapses at work and tests positive for Covid, she is accused of spreading the disease and becomes the object of hostility and lynching along with her family. The Fund supported the film with EUR 120,000. The Czech co-producer is Negativ.
Anorgasmia is a co-production of Iceland, Canada, and the Czech Republic. The feature drama, directed by Jon Einarsson Gustafsson, tells the story of an accidental meeting of two 30-year-olds, British photographer, Sam, who lives a carefree life, and a French woman, Naomi, who, surprised by an unexpected engagement proposal, disappears to Iceland to get some time to think. Both are forced to stay on the island as an eruption of the local volcano disrupts air travel. They get the crazy idea to walk to the volcano and during the trip they reveal their darkest secrets. The Czech Film Fund supported the film with EUR 100,000. BFILM.cz is the Czech co-producer.
Malice, the feature debut of director Lungyin Lim, was supported with EUR 84,000. A Taiwan-Malaysia-Czech Republic-Indonesia co-production, Malice tells the story of a fisherman and his son who, trying to change the fate of their family, set out on their last spearfishing boat in search of the nearly extinct giant swordfish. In their hunt, they face the cruelty of nature, the bonds of the past and the warmth of home. Lonely Production is the Czech co-producer of this first-ever collaboration between Czech and Taiwanese filmmakers.
Marathon is a Slovakia-Czech Republic-Hungary feature documentary by award-winning director, writer, and producer Peter Kerekes, with Hypermarket Film as Czech co-producer. A Hungarian, a Jew, and a Slovak meet in Paris... This is not the beginning of an anecdote, but the beginning of the story of the Košice Marathon. Three officers of the Košice Sports Commission attended a marathon during the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. They were so impressed by the discipline and excellent organization of the event that they decided to organize their own marathon at home. The first marathon in Košice started on October 28, 1924, the anniversary of the young Czechoslovak Republic. In two hours and seven minutes (the current record time of the Košice Marathon), the film tells the story of one hundred years of a race closely linked to the history of Czechoslovakia and Central Europe. The Czech Film Fund supported the film with EUR 60,000. In 2021 Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival, Peter Kerekes won the award for best screenplay for his film 107 Mothers, which was also supported by the Czech Film Fund in the call for minority co-productions. The film has also been nominated for the European Film Awards.
The animated film Born Happy by Edmunds Jansons, co-produced by Latvia, Poland, and the Czech Republic, is set in the Amazon rainforest in the 1950s. Two children, left alone in a camp in the middle of the jungle, decide to embark on a dangerous journey to Devil's Hill. On the way there, they free several animals locked in cages and from then on, they are pursued by poachers. Hausboot Production is the Czech co-producer. The project was supported with EUR 152,000.
The documentary No Man's Zones (Zóny nikoho), directed by Lucie Kašová, Viera Čákanyová, and Barbora Sliepková, is a genre-rich look at three of the largest and most dangerous toxic waste dumps in Slovakia. The film exposes the long-term inaction of authorities and governments, the powerlessness of activists, and the passivity of people who are used to live in contaminated environments. All three directors have made several award-winning documentaries: Viera Čakányová, for example, directed FREM, Notes from the Eremocene, or White on White, Barbora Sliepková directed Lines and Lucie Kašová The Sailor. The Slovakia-Czech Republic co-production was supported by the Fund´s Council with EUR 40,000. The Czech co-producer is Cinémotif Films.
The Poland-Czech Republic co-production documentary Forest was supported with EUR 56,000. The Czech co-producer is Lonely Production. Director Lidia Duda follows a family of university students who buy an old house in eastern Poland on the edge of the Białowieża Forest. Three children are born there, and they live an idyllic life close to nature. Everything changes with the refugee crisis and the war in Ukraine. The family begins to help migrants trying to cross the guarded border. Big politics knocks on the family's door and they, including the children, have to deal with it.
Lucie Kašová is the director of another supported feature documentary, World of Walls, which is set against the backdrop of extreme social differences in South Africa. The rich live in strictly guarded luxury "estates", while the rest survive with limited resources. The director explores this world through the eyes of two girls from different social groups, Lorraine and Megan, and the mother of the former, Precious, who works as a domestic helper in Megan's family. The Slovakia-Czech Republic-The Netherlands-South Africa co-production was supported by the Fund with EUR 48,000. The Czech co-producer is CLAW AV.
The last supported film is the short film Visiting Heaven Gate by Nghiem Quynh Trang. The Vietnam-Czech Republic co-production tells the story of a daughter who travels from Czechia to Vietnam to visit her mother. Together they take a journey to Heaven's Gate. The original poetic film was supported by with EUR 20,000. The Czech co-producer is AZN kru.
In the third Eurimages project evaluation session of 2023, two Czech features and one minority co-production were among the 29 supported films. The highest amount of EUR 240,000 was granted to Year of the Widow, directed by Veronika Lišková and produced by Kristýna Michálek Květová and Tomáš Michálek and their Cinémotif Films. The project focusing on the life of recently widowed middle-aged woman was also selected to take part in the Works in Progress showcase in Les Arcs. The second Czech project to win the support of EUR 100,000 is a documentary feature Love Exposed by Filip Remunda, a double portrait of an unconventional father and world-famous erotic photographer Vlastimil Kula and his daughter, film editor Blanka. The film is produced by Remunda's own Hypermarket Film. And last but not least, George Ovashvili's new project, The Moon Is A Father of Mine, co-produced on the Czech side by Axman Production and supported in 2021 by the Czech Film Fund in the minority co-production call, received from the Eurimages Fund EUR 118,000.
09 December 2022