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FUNDING Czech Republic

The Czech Film Fund supports projects by first-time directors

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- A contemporary chamber satire, a tragic love story and a teenage sports drama have received the fund’s backing

The Czech Film Fund supports projects by first-time directors
The Pack by Tomáš Polenský

In its latest round of production funding for feature debuts, the Czech Film Fund has distributed 10 million Czech crowns (€386,000) among the three best-prepared projects already backed by established domestic production outfits.

Among the supported newcomers is actor and theatre director Jiří Havelka, who is making the move to cinema with a minimalistic, bitter and satirical comedy called Due Diligence (S péčí řádného hospodáře), which has already been successfully performed as a stage play. Produced by CinemArt, the film is described as a communal theatrum mundi that unfolds during a housing association meeting. The experts lauded the quality of the script, and award-winning Slovakian cinematographer Martin Žiaran is poised to lens the chamber comedy, which addresses contemporary maladies in society, such as “intolerance, individualism and the inability to think about the common good”, according to one expert.

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Meanwhile, Jan Foukal is shifting from documentary filmmaking to the world of fiction. He is taking on directing duties on the tragic love story Martian Ships (Marťanské lodě), produced by Film Kolektiv. The script is based on the book of the same name by musician Martin Kyšperský, which maps out his relationship with a psychologist who committed suicide. The story, revolving around the generation of thirty-somethings, is set against the backdrop of the second-largest Czech city, Brno, and intends to encapsulate its genius loci. Norwegian production company Storm Films is acting as a minority co-producer.

Finally, the teenage sports drama The Pack (Smečka), directed by Tomáš Polenský, rounds off the list of supported projects. While working on his feature-length fiction debut, Polenský is also finishing a documentary about the psychology of soldiers in action, Instrument of War, and has a psychological drama called Too Close in the works as well. The story of The Pack revolves around bullying and violence in a hockey team. Julietta Sichel of 8Heads Productions is producing on the Czech side, with co-production duties handled by Slovakia and Latvia. The director co-wrote the script with screenwriter Irena Kocí, and one of the experts stated that script doctor Steven Goldsmith contributed to the international comprehensibility of the screenplay.

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