15. April 2017

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This extensive complex of interconnected Baroque buildings located in the very heart of Brno is a completely authentic preserved site whose primary advantage for filmmakers is the adaptability of its spaces. These unique spaces can be used in a variety of ways – in addition to a Baroque prison, the space has the potential to transform in front of the cameras into a nobleman’s residence, hospital, concentration camp, military base, police station, museum, or a government office. “The prison is the property of the City of Brno, which means we can work quickly with filmmakers to get the necessary permits,” explains Ivana Košulicová of the newly founded Brno Film Office, established by the city in February as part of its Tourist Information Centre.
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We can work quickly with filmmakers to get the necessary permits

Ivana Košulicová, Brno Film Office

“The building is now used only partially for cultural events. Once a month, tours are offered to the public. As the planned renovation is so complex, a window of opportunity has opened for filmmakers to take advantage of these authentic, original, untouched spaces before signs, installations, or other “disruptive” elements go up,” says Košuličová about the current situation. “At present, the most frequently used space is the 181.5 m2 chapel featuring 8.5 m high ceilings and social realist painting in place of the altar. Also often used is the “robotárna” or sweatshop: a renovated space measuring 107 m2 with white vaulted ceilings and wooden floors,” adds Košuličová. Overall, the complex measures nearly 8,000 m2.The prison’s original layout consists of a four-winged building with a central section in which a chapel is located. The complex has three inner courtyards.

The complex has served many functions throughout its long history. From 1778 to 1786, it served as the municipal orphanage, and was then returned to its originally intended function as a prison until 1956. In 1957, the buildings were handed over to the State Regional Archive in Brno, which used it as a storage facility; part of the complex was used by the military administration and part by Public Security, which later became the Czech Police. The complex became infamous as a place of terror during the Nazi and Communist regimes. At the time, the prison was also the site of political prisoner executions – the gallows stood in the “Women’s Courtyard”. At first capital punishments meted out by the Extraordinary People’s Court were carried out on traitors and collaborators, and after 1948, anti-Communist fighters were executed here as well. The last execution took place here in 1952. In 2016, the complex was partially stabilized and declared a cultural monument. A thorough renovation is planned along with the establishment of a creative center (more at kreativnibrno.cz). For more information about filming opportunities, please contact Ivana Košuličová, Brno Film Office: +420 773 771 556, kosulicova@ticbrno.cz

Photo: Brno Film Office, photographed by: Marek Rakovský