16. July 2018

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Jackie Chan on the banks of the Elbe River in Hradec Králové. This is not something that locals can see every day. What’s more, he was not in the role of an action hero but as the director of a romantic drama set in the 1930s. Surrounded by a Czech-Chinese crew, and actors and extras in period costumes, he filmed scenes from The Diary, which is set in the pre-war period. In the lead role of Fan, Jackie Chan has cast his 26-year-old son, Jaycee Chan, who already has over 20 film roles to his credit. The Chinese production had 12 shooting days in the Czech Republic at locations in Prague, Pilsen, Mladá Boleslav and Hradec Králové. Most of the filming took place earlier in Shanghai. "In Prague we shot on Charles Bridge and in Malá Strana, and in Pilsen at the airport, where we shot scenes with historic planes. In Mladá Boleslav, the local theatre was used, and on the last day we moved to Hradec Králové, where the creators liked the Elbe riverbank and the view from the White Tower," said Martin Staněk, whose company Stabiz secured the shoot in the Czech Republic.

The production also turned to the East Bohemia Film Office for assistance before the filming. "We helped connect the filmmakers with the city department of transportation, and with the regional museum. It's great to have a star like Jackie Chan in Hradec Králové, even if it was only for one day of shooting," said Jana Chmatilová, who represents the Hradec Králové Region within the East Bohemia Film Office – the contact point for filmmakers for the Pardubice and Hradec Králové regions. The 150-member crew working under Jackie Chan wrapped the Czech stage of the shoot on July 11th. "Jackie was very pleased with the filming in the Czech Republic. In a speech after the wrap, he thanked the whole team, noting his appreciation for the professionalism of the entire Czech crew, and promised to return soon with another project," Staněk said. "This time we had a majority of Czechs on the shoot, which for a Chinese production is quite unusual. It is common for even a hundred people to be flown over from China, but in this case, there were only twenty. For example, the entire camera crew was comprised of locals, including the DOP Klaus Fuxjäger, the person working closest with Jackie Chan," Staněk added. Fuxjäger, although a native of Austria, is a fully domesticated Czech filmmaker after 25 years of working here, on international productions such as Van Helsing, xXx, A Knight's Tale, Last Holiday and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as well as on domestic movies such as I Served the King of England, 2Bobule and Blue Tiger. "It's great that local filmmakers are increasingly in key positions of international film crews. This is one of the many positive effects of the incentives through which the Czech Film Fund supports the development of the local film industry," said Pavlína Žipková of the Czech Film Commission, which operates now for a second year under the umbrella of the national film fund.