A new drama about Auschwitz is being filmed in Slovakia
by Martin Kudlac
- Slovakian director Peter Bebjak gears up for The Report, his most ambitious film project yet, while Michael Douglas has been consulted on its potential distribution in the US
The Slovakian director of the country’s highest-grossing domestic film ever, The Line [+see also:
interview: Andrey Yermak
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile], Peter Bebjak, turned out to be a jack of all genres. 2018 marks his busiest year so far, with the film and television master continuing his work on episodic formats (the TV series Behind the Glass being the latest), finishing his first fairy tale Christmas Wish for the small screen, and the mystery mini-series The Rift, which will be released in cinemas before being aired on television. And all of this while developing the black comedy Emil and preparing the historic crime thriller under the working title Actor for Czech Television. To top it all off, in November, he started shooting his most ambitious project yet, the historical biopic The Report, which he has been working on since The Cleaner [+see also:
interview: Martin Žiaran
interview: Peter Bebjak
The film’s principal photography has been divided into two phases, the first one wrapped on 19 December, while the second is scheduled for February 2019. “The decision [to shoot in two phases] is based on the intention to capture the weather and atmosphere of the film as authentically as possible,” explains the producer Rastislav Šesták of the Slovak production company D.N.A. to Cineuropa. The story is inspired by What Dante Did Not See, a book written by Alfred Wetzler, his testimony after escaping Auschwitz extermination camp with Rudolf Vrba in 1944. The report (“Vrba-Wetzler report”) eventually reached W. Churchill and F. Roosevelt and led to the saving of several thousands of Hungarian Jews. Bebjak is shooting the film on location in a replica of the camp built for the purposes in Slovakia (the parts in which the protagonists resided and moved around), while several scenes will be also shot in the Czech Republic.
The Report is Bebjak’s most expensive project to date, with a budget of €3,2 million. “This is his most demanding project yet,” Šesták explains to Cineuropa. “We have a big set with lots of extras and an international cast. The film aims to be a larger European co-production.” The Slovakian actor Noel Czuczor returns as one of the two central protagonists after his leading role in Bebjak’s thriller, The Cleaner. He is joined by an international cast from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Luxembourg, starring the likes of Jacek Beller and Kamil Nozynski from the HBO series Blinded by the Lights and Aleksander Mincer, known for his performances in Italian films. Šesták expects to have the film cut by summer 2019 with post-production lasting until the end of 2019.
The producer and director approached the producer and actor Michael Douglas to consult him on the possibility to distribute the film in the US.
The Report is being produced by D.N.A. (Slovakia) and co-produced by Evolution Films (Czech Republic), Agresywna Banda (Poland) and ostlicht filmproduktion (Germany). Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Radio and Television Slovakia financed the project as did Czech Television. Negotiations with potential sales agents are currently underway.
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