21. August 2010

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Czech film crews are currently in production on Les aventures de Philibert, capitaine puceau a swashbuckler comedy in the grand tradition of the Errol Flynn adventures of the 1930s and '40s. The film is an 80-20 co-production between Mandarin Cinema of France and Okko Productions of the Czech Republic. Marc Jenny of Okko Productions is executive producer on the film. Jenny has been based in the Czech Republic since 1998, working locally on such major productions as Babylon A.D. and La Môme. We caught up with him on the set at Barrandov Studios. Tell us about the film. Our reference is an Errol Flynn movie called The Adventure of Don Juan. What we're doing here is a comedy in the style of the 1940s in America. We're doing it like they did then: the same kind of frames, same kind of sets. We're not doing a lot of real high-tech CGI, for example. We're using paintings as backdrops. Here at Barrandov, we're filming a tower scene on stage and a slave galley on stage, just like an Errol Flynn movie. It's quite fun. What locations have you shot? We started on July 19 here at Barrandov on Stage 4. Then we had two weeks in the forest in Mimoň (in the Liberec region) and at the former Soviet army base there. We shot in Průhonice park (in Prague-West) for six or seven days. Průhonice was great because it’s on the outskirts of Prague and there's a beautiful park with many different locations and forest that you can't normally find in a park. Basically it was possible to do everything there. We wrap in Barrandov on September 6 and then we have three days in Prague-Podolí. You were the first project to register for the Czech Republic's new Film Industry Support Programme. How do you like it? I think the programme is great. If you compare it with systems in New Zealand, California, Ireland or Spain, for example, this system is very transparent. The Czech Republic has put in place a very clear, easy-to-understand system, which is not the case in other countries. And the Czech incentives are good for the Czech economy. Right. This program brings money back to the government. It's not like subsidies, or a non-refundable grant. If you bring business, the Czech Republic will give you a discount. If there's no business, it doesn't cost them anything. What benefit do the Czech incentives offer European productions like Les aventures de Philibert, capitaine puceau? I think it's advantageous for European productions because you can establish much stronger cultural cooperation. If the Czech Republic establishes a long-term relationship with France, Germany or other countries, it can have more much better reputation as being a leader in European film production. At the same time, French producers would have difficulty producing a movie like Philibert or La Môme in France, where the costs are higher, so the relationship helps the French reputation as well. So in that sense, these incentives help European cinema. What other advantages do you find to shooting in the Czech Republic?
I think that for European producers, Prague is the best location. You're never too far away from the home of the production. You can find so many different kinds of locations. There's also a strong technical tradition here: There are countries that may be cheaper on paper but they don't have the technical capability. This is a very high-tech job we're doing. Also, the crews are very flexible. When you travel and you mix crews, you need people to adapt very quickly. Gaumont will release the film to theaters in France on April 6, 2011.