18. December 2019

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Autumn has an unmistakable charm, as we were reminded during a visit to Vysočina in early November. But while nature is readying for a long winter’s sleep, filmmakers are as busy as ever. And so we welcomed an invitation from Michaela Králová of the Vysočina Film Office to explore film-friendly locations in the region bordering Bohemia and Moravia.

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The first stop was the Úsobí chateau, about halfway between Prague and Brno, and located near the motorway. Its owner, Mr. Polák, is an enterprising man. Together with his three sons, he is resorting the 18th century Baroque chateau to its full glory. He has also been buying historical paintings and other decorations from the era at bazaars to authentically outfit the chateau, which is adjacent to both French and English style parks. The former attic has rooms ready to accommodate smaller film crews on site, as was the case when the chateau served as a backdrop to an Australian horror.

We went to see a nearby racetrack, which this year hosted the 54th year of the Golden Horseshoe – the finals in versatility and sledding. The tribunes already remember something, which is exactly what filmmakers are looking for.

We continued on to Hrad Kámen, where we were especially intrigued by the garden that gives the stone castle its name (see the photo gallery), and also to an exhibition of historical motorcycles, some of which can be borrowed for filming.

After lunch in Kamenice nad Lipou at the town’s brewery, we took a tour of its premises. The project to reconstruct the brewery – its stainless steel and copper equipment still shining like new – was a finalist for the Grand Prix of Architects and won the National Architectural Award.

As planned, we visited the Žirovnice chateau in the dark and the tour was magical. Apart from its unique courtyard in the shape of an equilateral triangle, we admired, among other things, its 15th century Gothic murals.

Location tour participants ended the first day at Resort Svatá Kateřina (the St. Catherine Resort), which acts as a balm for the soul. After all, it was built on the site of a former spa, on a secluded hill, from which emerge three springs (one of them is the “St. Catherine spring”). The wellness complex includes an architectural gem, the Ayurvedic Pavilion, which was recently named Building of the Year 2019.

The next day, after a tour of a Druid stone circle in the style of Stonehenge, we continued on to Jihlava to the Heulos chateau. The Old Germanic style stone building from 1941 was originally a youth hostel and later housed the prestigious boarding school of Adolf Hitler. Now it’s a training center for the Police Presidium of the Czech Republic, with accommodation facilities. And yes, it is film friendly.

After a short stop in the tolerance church from the late 18th century, within the open-air museum Zichpil in Humpolec, we set out for a walk to see two of the more than a hundred former Lipnice granite quarries, now used mainly for recreation but also for filming.

Not sure which building style would suit the chateau in your movie? Come to Světlá nad Sázavou. This chateau has Renaissance, Baroque, Empire and even Neo-Renaissance wings, so you will definitely find one that suits you. Thanks to the immense efforts of the owner, Helena Degerme, the chateau has come back to life after the Secondary Vocational School of Agriculture was placed there.

The last film-friendly location we toured was the 18th century glassworks in Tasice. In the 1990s it was given the name Huť Jakub after the main hero of the TV series Sons and Daughters of Jakub the Glassmaker, which was filmed there in 1985. It currently serves as a glass museum, while the glassworks are still occasionally used.

What does Vysočina Film Office head Michaela Králová have to add? “I’m always pleased to have a chance to show filmmakers treasures of Vysočina that not everyone knows about. I’m also always happed to find an interesting place to shoot. The offer of our office has grown nicely with this latest location tour, and I believe that new film projects will be coming soon.”

Michaela Králová of the Vysočina Film Office is ready to answer your questions and provide advice about shooting in the region: info@filmvysocina.cz, +420 731 597 613.