Producer on the Move 2010 – Czech Republic
by Theodore Schwinke
Pavel Berčík is one of three young producers of Evolution Films, the company behind the award-winning documentary Baluty, the Ghetto. He also produced Kristina Dufková's animated short A Tear Is Needed, winner of Best Animated Film at AniFest 2009. A graduate of FAMU, he is a member of the ACE producers’ association and the European Producers Network.
Cineuropa: How did you become a film producer?
Pavel Berčík: I used to do amateur theatre. I loved the moment after the play, when I felt that we had given our audience some emotions and great feelings — the same feelings I get when I see a good play or a great film. I knew I couldn't be an artist, an actor, a writer, etc., but I knew I wanted to organize and influence the creative process that results in great film.
Tell us about Yuma, which you are currently co-producing with Piotr Mularuk.
I have known Piotr Mularuk for several years. We have always been watching each other’s projects. In 2007 we were preparing Pavel Štingl's documentary Baluty, the Baluty Ghetto, which was shot in Lodz. Piotr brought the production decent money from the Polish Film Institute, which really helped finish the film, so our participation in Yuma is kind of reciprocity.
But of course, I like the project a lot: It takes place on the Polish-German border just after the fall of the Iron Curtain. It is about the rise and fall of a 20-year-old boy, a gangster against his will, who steals in Germany and then comes back to Poland and hands out all this stuff which nobody knew before under communism. It will be an “arthouse gangster film”. I like that it shows the '90s in a realistic and critical light, unlike most Czech films about this period.
What other projects are you working on?
My biggest and most important project at the moment is To the Sea, which will be directed by Karin Babinská. It's a chamber drama about a man who goes on holiday with his daughters from two separate marriages. Petra Soukupová's script, which she adapted from her own book, won a 2007 award from the RWE & Barrandov Studios Foundation. I'm also developing two family films — animation Tales from Gingerland and the live-action Monsters and Detectives — and I'm working on a few documentaries. One will be about beer. – Oour aim is to portray Czech society from the perspective of the pint glass.
How would you describe the current state of Czech cinematography?
Czech cinematography has a big problem, because it is losing the trust of Czech audiences. Only commercially-oriented films of disputable quality can be certain of box-office success, while films with arthouse potential are appreciated only by the critics. These films have another problem – with a few exceptions, they are not appreciated internationally either. I think all Czech producers are looking for the cure to this.
What are you expecting from your participation in the Producers on the Move initiative?
All my current projects have a bigger scale, so it would be very nice to find potential foreign partners for them and start promoting them. We are also very open to working as minority co-producers or service providers to foreign projects shooting in Czech Republic. The Czech film fund has started supporting minority co-productions, and hopefully Brussels will soon approve our 20% incentive, so the Czech Republic is becoming a hot place to shoot.
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