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EAST DOC PLATFORM 2021

REPORT: Czech Docs… Coming Soon@East Doc Platform 2021

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- We take a closer look at the five upcoming Czech documentary projects that were presented during the Czech Docs… Coming Soon industry event within the East Doc Platform programme

REPORT: Czech Docs… Coming Soon@East Doc Platform 2021

Five upcoming Czech documentary projects were presented during the Czech Docs… Coming Soon industry event within the East Doc Platform programme. The event was organised in cooperation with the Czech Audiovisual Producers’ Association for an audience of film-festival representatives, sales agents and distributors. Here, we take a closer look at the aforementioned projects.

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Pavla Klimešová and Martina Štrunc during the pitch for The Law of Love

The Law of Love - Barbora Chalupová
The producers from outfit Silk Films, Pavla Klimešová and Martina Štrunc, introduced the first solo feature-length directorial outing by emerging filmmaker Barbora Chalupová, The Law of Love. Chalupová was a co-director of the domestic 2020 box-office hit Caught in the Net [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(see the news). The producers described the film as a time-lapse tragicomedy about the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Czech Republic. “If the law is accepted, the Czech Republic will become the first Eastern European country to allow same-sex marriage. This is why we believe we are not only making a film about society-wide changes, but also about geopolitical matters,” explained Štrunc. Chalupová followed the leader of the We Are Fair initiative, the film’s protagonist, Czeslaw Walek, in his professional and private life as he ran a campaign for LGBT+ rights. A crowdfunding campaign (click here) is currently ongoing in order to support the film and has managed to pass the first milestone of €19,106 (half a million Czech crowns). The finances collected will be used to cover visual and sound post-production, 4K resolution implementation and the DCP. Two more milestones remain to be unlocked. Chalupová is still shooting material for the movie, which she has been working on for the last three years, and that was the reason why she did not participate in the presentation. The film should be ready for release by summer 2021, and the producers confirmed that the world premiere is still open to negotiation. The distributor for the theatrical release in the Czech Republic and Slovakia has been secured, although Klimešová and Štrunc are looking for distributors in other territories, especially the North American and Eastern European regions. The Law of Love does not yet have a sales agent attached.

Watch the teaser below:

All Men Become Brothers - Robert Kirchhoff
Jiří Konečný, the Czech co-producer of the recent Golden Bear-winning film by Radu Jude, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Jude
film profile
]
, presented the latest documentary by award-winning Slovak director Robert Kirchhoff, All Men Become Brothers. Konečný characterised the film as “a free portrait and a free interpretation of Alexander Dubček”. Dubček was a Slovak politician who served as the First Secretary of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and tried to reform the communist government during the Prague Spring. Konečný revealed that the team’s ambition is to summarise Dubček’s life while also interpreting his ideas in the present day. The outbreak of the pandemic disrupted work on the film, and ten shooting days remain to be carried out. The film should be completed in November 2021, and is due to be ready for release in late 2021 or early 2022. All Men Become Brothers is a co-production between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and Konečný noted that they are still looking for partners, co-financiers, distributors and a sales agent.

Read more about the film here.

Kateřina Hager during the pitch for A Marriage

A Marriage - Kateřina Hager and Asad Faruqi
Czech documentary filmmaker and producer Kateřina Hager confirmed that her latest project, A Marriage, which she is co-directing with Emmy Award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker Asad Faruqi, is completed. The documentary follows wheelchair-bound Czech woman Zdenka and her Pakistani husband Tabish, whose marriage has been mostly virtual, as Tabish’s visa to enter the Czech Republic has been rejected multiple times. The main reason is the authorities’ suspicion of “a fake marriage” and their wish to protect the Czech Republic from an economic migrant. Hager noted that it is a unique love story that has the potential to speak to a global audience. They started working on the project in 2017, when the issue of immigration to Europe was a hot topic and xenophobia was growing, although Hager said that the story still remains very timely. A Marriage is being produced by Hager for Bohemian Productions and Alena Müllerová for Czech Television, and co-produced by Circus Lion Pictures. The theatrical distributor for the Czech Republic is the Association of Czech Film Clubs. The film has been supported by Creative Europe - MEDIA and the Czech Film Fund.

Watch the teaser below:

The Intensive Life Unit - Adéla Komrzý
Director Adéla Komrzý and producer Pavla Janečková Kubečková, of nutprodukce, presented the observational documentary The Intensive Life Unit, about pioneering Czech doctors working in hospital-based palliative care. The project was introduced at East Doc Forum 2020, and Kubečková confirmed that they have already wrapped the shoot, completed editing during the dok.incubator workshop and are now at the late post-production stage. The film will be finished within a month. Director Komrzý conducted thorough research into the communication between doctors, patients and their families, during which she met two doctors who were establishing the first palliative care team in the Czech Republic. “I understood that these doctors were the right people, who cared about patients’ decisions and who could see patients as complex human beings, which was very important for me and for the decision to make this film,” noted Komrzý. “They raised the basic question of what it means for a patient to live a good life, and the doctors’ mission is to guide patients through a difficult process of decision-making in the age of advanced technologies, which throws up a lot of ethical dilemmas. The doctors are shifting the paradigm for thinking about end-of-life care in the hospital system,” she adds. Kubečková explained that the film’s structure implicitly follows the psychological mechanism of acceptance, and despite tackling a difficult topic, The Intensive Life Unit carries “a huge deal of hope and positivity”. They are looking for festivals, sales agents, and television pre-sales and sales. The Intensive Life Unit is being co-produced by FAMU, Czech Television and UPP, and is supported by the Czech Film Fund.

Find out more about the film here.

Radim Procházka and Jan Hošek during the pitch for Wild Prague

Wild PragueJan Hošek
Director Jan Hošek introduced his latest project, Wild Prague, a wildlife documentary set in the country’s capital. The director will be uncovering how animals and plants adapt to life in an urban environment, stating that “paradoxically, today’s cities are islands of wildlife”. Hošek was the co-writer of the film script for Making an Ancient Forest (2015), about the Austrian Kalkalpen National Park, which received several awards at film festivals, plus a nomination for American television’s Emmy Award. Radim Procházka is producing for his Kuli Film outfit, which concentrates on arthouse documentary, fiction and animation projects. Wild Prague is still in production. The film’s principal photography consists of 400 shooting days, which will wrap by the end of June, followed by post-production. The release is preliminarily planned for March 2022. Procházka said he is currently looking for sales agents, festivals and television pre-purchases. In addition to Procházka’s Kuli Film, Wild Prague is being produced by Robert Kirchhoff, of Slovak company Atelier.doc, Rita Schlamberger for Science Vision Film Productions GmbH (Austria), and Czech Television. Aerofilms will handle the theatrical release in the Czech Republic.

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