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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s Film Foundation spotlights the best unrealised domestic scripts

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- All three winning screenplays in the main category already have producers attached

The Czech Republic’s Film Foundation spotlights the best unrealised domestic scripts
The winners of the Czech Film Foundation's 2020 scriptwriting competition (© Czech Film Foundation)

The Czech Republic’s Film Foundation is an initiative that aims to support preparation for screenwriting in the field of domestic fiction filmmaking. The institution spotlights domestic projects through its annual scriptwriting competition, which is now celebrating 15 years of existence. During this period, the Film Foundation has supported 100 projects by 105 scriptwriters with the total sum of €412,214, while 13 projects have successfully been produced and released. An array of previous winners have recently been finished, including Marek Epstein’s script for the Agnieszka Holland-directed biopic Charlatan [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Agnieszka Holland
film profile
]
, which was unveiled at this year’s Berlinale; Petr Václav’s epic period biopic Il Boemo (see the news); Pavel Göbl’s tragicomedy Silent Companion (see the news), which will be released on 1 October; the period drama Kryštof by Zdeněk Jirásky (see the news); and Petr Zelenka’s dramedy Droneman [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(see the news), which was released prior to the shutdown of cinemas in early February.

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The winning class of 2020 consists mostly of projects by scriptwriters from the younger generation. The foundation supported four unrealised feature-length fiction scripts, including through the handing out of an award in the “Star of Tomorrow” category. Among this year’s laureates is author Jan Němec, whose 2014 biographical novel A History of Light is being adapted for the big screen, with his scriptwriting debut, Bicycles (Kola). The road movie follows two boys fleeing from a children’s home in Russia through Eastern and Central Europe – on bicycles. The jury called the powerful and clearly written script “an indirect metaphor for the ruthless cycle of life emerging from a problematic social background”.

Film editor and director Evženie Brabcová and experienced writer, director and producer Benjamin Tuček (whose most recently released project was Trash on Mars [+see also:
trailer
interview: Benjamin Tuček
film profile
]
– see the news) received an award for their team effort Wilderness (Divočina), Brabcová’s scriptwriting debut. “The scriptwriters portrayed characters that are lost during the search for meaning in their lives – or at least for peace – persuasively, as well as the atmosphere of impending catastrophe, even though each of them sees it differently,” noted the jury. The story sees a female protagonist fleeing from an abusive husband with her two little daughters, finding refuge in her childhood cottage, where her father, who suffers from pathological fears about the end of the world, lives.

Writer-director Michal Hogenauer, who debuted last year with A Certain Kind of Silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michal Hogenauer
film profile
]
, won the last award in the main category with the script for Last One Out Turn Off the Lights (Poslední zhasne). “The script ties in with the message of the Czechoslovak New Wave films, those which inventively employed parables as a means of critical social reflection,” stated the jury about Hogenauer’s chamber drama centring on a neighbourhood conflict on the borderlands, inspired by the works of Franz Kafka.

Finally, the “Star of Tomorrow” Award, intended for scriptwriters under 33 years old without a realised script, went to the director of documentary shorts Albert Hospodářský, who is also readying a feature-length fiction film. His script for Brutal Heat (Brutální vedro) tells a contemporary generational story following a young, male protagonist who has a series of unexpected encounters. “The loop of coincidences is connected to a firm statement about the correlation that surrounds us,” said the jury.

The three winning projects in the main category already have producers attached.

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