Victim looks set to be a solid debut by Michal Blaško
by Martin Kudláč
- After his award-winning graduate short film, the rising Slovakian talent is readying an arthouse drama
Emerging Slovakian filmmaker Michal Blaško got off to a good start early on in his career. In 2017, his graduate short film Atlantis, 2003 premiered at the Cinéfondation in Cannes. Besides reaping awards on the festival circuit, it won the Magnesia Prize at the 25th Czech Lions ceremony for Best Student Film, and television channel ARTE bought the short for its schedules. Now, he is returning to the French Riviera with his feature debut, Victim, set to be presented at the Cinéfondation Atelier – and he is only the second Slovakian filmmaker ever to be in this position (see the news).
Victim, loosely based on real-life events, follows Irina, an immigrant living in the Czech Republic. After her son ends up in hospital, he tells Irina and the police that a group of Roma carried out the attack. As other people increasingly show solidarity for Irina, her son’s account of how events unfolded starts to fall apart. According to the filmmakers, the story captures the current social climate and demonstrates the power of prejudice. “With its sensitive observation and analysis of the controversial topic of the polarisation of society, this project should open up a discussion about where hateful moods and prejudices can lead society,” Slovakian producer Jakub Viktorín, of nutprodukcia, told Cineuropa.
Scriptwriter Jakub Medvecký is one half of the writing team on Victim. Medvecký also wrote By a Sharp Knife, another feature debut with socio-political implications, and also loosely inspired by a real-life event, for emerging domestic director Teodor Kuhn. The other scriptwriter is Tomáš Hrubý, the producer and co-founder of nutprodukce, nutprodukcia’s Czech sister company, which is co-producing on the Czech side. Hrubý, who is also producing the highly ambitious project Bohemian Rhapsody by Ondřej Hudeček, was creatively involved in his previous projects Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile] and Wasteland. “We tried a direct collaboration on the script with Tomáš, and it worked out. Tomáš and Jakub, in coordination with Michal, are really pushing the script forward,” Viktorín told Cineuropa.
Pre-production is scheduled to last until mid-October 2019, while principal photography will take place from the second half of October until mid-December. The Slovakian producer expects the film to be ready by March 2020, for a spring release.
Victim is being produced by nutprodukcia (Slovakia) and nutprodukce (Czech Republic), and co-produced by ESSE Production House (Ukraine). The project is being supported by Creative Europe MEDIA, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the Czech Film Fund. As the project has clear international potential, the producer is still looking for other co-production partners. So far, the film does not have a sales agent attached.
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