11. May 2018

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We are at Podolský nábřeží waterfront, where some two hundred extras in period costumes welcome the famous explorer Roald Amundsen, returning from one of his adventurous expeditions - this is a scene in the upcoming Norwegian-Swedish-Czech co-production Amundsen. According to the Norwegian producer Espen Horn, this very location by the Vltava River was one of the decisive reasons for doing most of the shooting in the Czech Republic. "We had a choice of several locations, for example in Hungary or Lithuania, basically under very similar conditions, but we chose Prague. And we are very happy. The filming here was amazing. The Czech filmmakers were absolutely unrivalled. What’s more, we could not find a place like the Prague waterfront, which we’re shooting as a stand-in for part of Oslo, anywhere so exactly matching our conception," Motion Blur Films producer Espen Horn said of their experience filming in the Czech Republic.

The film Amundsen, about the greatest polar explorer of all time, Roald Amundsen (Pål Sverre Hagen), is helmed by Espen Sandberg. The Norwegian director received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his film Kon-Tiki, and his recent projects include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the series Marco Polo. “Without the great support of the international crew, it would not have been possible to shoot such a big project. The visual part of this film is very important and is mainly in the hands of Norwegian cameraman Påla Ulvika Roksetha, Icelandic architect Karel Júliusson and Czech costume designer Michaela Horáčková Hořejší,” film director Espen Sandberg said. According to the PR manager of the project, Gabriela Vágner, we can trace the Czech footprint in other creative professions as well, such as the art director Martin Kurel. A number of set pieces and other decorations for the film – an airship, Amundsen’s airplane and parts of various ships – were created in the Czech Republic by local talent. And these decorations also were used for filming abroad. The winter scenes for the film, quite logically, were filmed in Iceland and Norway.

In the Czech Republic, the film was shot from 4 April to 7 May 2018. In addition to the Podolský nábřeží waterfront, the crew also filmed in Rudolfinum, Žofín and a studio in Třeboradice. The Czech co-producers of the film are Pavel Berčík and Silvie Michajlova from the Film Kolektiv group. The shoot has been a great experience for both the entire crew and the creative professionals who have worked on the film. “To be a full-fledged part of the Espen Sandberg film, thanks to the Czech Film Fund subsidy, is a great filmmaking school for the entire Czech film industry, and the experience we gain here can help us bring Czech films to an international level,” Pavel Berčík said. The Amundsen project received a minority co-production grant plus cash rebate from the Czech Film Fund. “Minority co-productions an important segment of support – they make sense. In combination with incentives, Czech co-producers can also become full-fledged partners in European co-productions, which combine grand themes, high artistic demands and at the same time worldwide viewing potential,” explained Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the Czech Film Fund. The importance of shooting foreign productions in the Czech Republic is also confirmed by Pavlína Žipková, head of the Czech Film Commission, which since last year has been part of the fund: “Every year, foreign film and television productions spend hundreds of filming and prep days in our country. The Amundsen film project filmed here for 22 days and more than 85% of the over 100-member crew were Czechs. It is great that a foreign production employs local film professionals to such an extent.” “We are very pleased with this cooperation. The Czech Republic is known worldwide among film professionals as a place with qualified filmmakers, but we also are using their artistic professionals on this project. You could say that Amundsen combines the best of all three co-production countries. And we are delighted that the Czech Film Fund believes in the potential of the project as strongly as we do,” said Norwegian producer Espen Horn.