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PRODUCTION Czech Republic

Jakubisko says he is on track for Bathory

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Juraj Jakubisko says he has been finalizing preparations of what essentially will be one of the most expensive Czech and Slovak productions ever. The Slovak director claims he is in the latter stages of pre-production for his latest film Bathory, a working title for a “romantic thriller” about the life of the notorious countess Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th century Central Europe aristocrat who also went down in history as one of the greatest murderesses of all time.

Jakubisko, who also wrote the script, says that shooting will take place in no less than three countries – namely Hungary, Austria and Slovakia – while Romania is also being considered. The number of locations combined with it being a period drama, are making the film an expensive project, with a budget of approximately 10 million euro. The 66-year-old director admits that such budget is “unheard of in Czech or Slovakian cinema” and he therefore had to seek an international co-production. His own company, the Czech-based Jakubisko Film will share the producer’s credits with Lunar Films and Film and Music Entertainment (both UK) and Mythberg Films (Hungary).

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The project, says Jakubisko, is “not the story of a killer but one of a defenseless widow in cruel middle age Europe”. Principal photography, which will be directed by the other Slovak Jan Duris, is expected to start at the earliest in October this year but no cast has been announced yet. The film should be released before or just after Christmas 2006.

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