31. August 2005

Alternativní text obrázku
Several international projects that were filmed largely in the Czech Republic are among the films to be listed in the official program of this year’s Venice Film Festival. And so the Czech Republic will also make its own, albeit indirect, mark on the silver screens of Venice’s festival cinemas. First mention goes to the latest work by director Terry Gilliam, The Brothers Grimm, which has been selected for the main competition section of the festival in Venice. The film, starring Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, and Peter Stormare, was shot entirely in the Czech Republic, with 103 shooting days over twenty weeks, including almost three weeks on location. Filming took place on the four biggest stages and the entire back lot of Barrandov Studios and was finished in late November 2003. Production services were provided by the Czech company Reforma Films. Terry Gilliam was thoroughly satisfied with his experience shooting in the Czech Republic: “We built the sets for the forest, and they don’t use metal scaffolding poles, they use telephone poles, the back of that set looked as interesting as the forest itself. The materials you’re using seem to make a big difference for the techniques you use. These guys were so good at putting together old buildings; they know it and they feel it. […] For doing things that are very rustic it’s a perfect place.” The famous director also raved about Czech locations: “Prague is a fantastic city - it's a fairytale place. There are so many incredible locations around Prague. All these wonderful places greatly enhanced the look of the film.”

The film Everything is Illuminated has also been selected for competition and is set to appear in the festival’s Horizons section. Shot in the Czech Republic a year ago, it was directed by American director Liv Schreiber and features Elijah Wood in the leading role. Production services were provided by the Czech company Stillking Films. The 10-week shoot took place mostly in the countryside around Prague and wrapped up in August 2004. Based on a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated is a part-comic, part-tragic tale of a young Jewish-American man who goes to Ukraine in a Trabant automobile to search for the woman who helped save his grandfather during World War II. Along for the ride are two guides: an old man who uses a seeing-eye dog to help him drive, and the man's grandson, who has a small grasp of English and a love of American pop culture. Although the filmmakers had initially scouted Ukraine, they ultimately decided to film in and around Prague. Says Schreiber, “Ukraine was beautiful and a wonderful place to shoot, but there just weren’t the back up resources. I was lucky enough to have shot a film in Prague as an actor and had become great friends with Matthew Stillman who runs Stillking, one of Prague’s best production companies. I sent him the script and he was convinced we could shoot it there. He invited us to Prague and when I saw the locations I realized they were not only a perfect match for the Ukrainian countryside, but they were also really beautiful.” One of the film’s producers, Marc Turtletaub, said the producers looked around Eastern Europe and found that Prague has the finest production services they could find. Other places they explored included Romania. “I have friends that actually made a movie in Romania - they made Cold Mountain there and saved a lot of money,” Turtletaub said. “But I think the service level here is extraordinary […] it’s the quality of the people here. [...] We find a great work ethic.”

Set to appear in the Out of Competition section is director John Irvin’s The Fine Art of Love - Mine Haha. This Italian-Czech-British co-production featuring Jaqueline Bisset was shot largely in the Czech Republic. Czech involvement in the film came from Balzer International Films. The story is based on Mine-Haha or Physical Education of Young Girls by German author Frank Wedekind (Spring Awakening, Lulu) and it takes place in Thuringia, Germany in the early 20th century. The principal photography took place in the Czech Republic; among the main locations were the monastery Teplá, the town of Marienbad, and Sychrov Castle.

Another work filmed in the Czech Republic in 2005 will have its international premiere in Toronto, in the Canadian festival’s Midnight Madness section: the US studio horror film Hostel (Sony Screen Gems) by director Eli Roth. International Production Company was in charge of production for the Czech side. Hostel had major set builds, was shot in over fifty locations (with one week in Český Krumlov), and had two crews filming over a seven-week period. With the exception of the makeup effects, the entire crew was hired locally in the Czech Republic. The film’s director, Eli Roth, and his close friend Quentin Tarantino feel the picture looks like five times the amount that was spent, and Sony Screen Gems is amazed by the production value. The film’s venerable editor, George Folsey Jr., said it was one of the best productions he has experienced in his forty-year career.