Kolya (1996) - News Poster

(1996)

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The Czech Republic Taps 'Home Care' as Oscar Submission

The Czech Film and Television Academy (ČFTA) has announced that "Home Care" (Domácí péce) by Slávek Horák as the country's official Oscar submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The film was selected from 39 features including documentaries and animated works.

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"Home Care" is Horák's debut feature. The filmmaker's only other major credit is as 2nd Ad in Jan Sverák's "Kolya," which coincidentally is the country's only film to ever win the Academy Award after the split of Czechoslovakia. "Home Care" screened at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where it won the Best Actress award for Alena Mihulová.

Centered on a devoted home care nurse whose existence revolves around those that rely on her, the film points out that even the strongest of people need to be cared for. This drama, which is said to have comedic undertones, beat other strong contenders such as Jan Prusinovský's "The Snake Brothers," the film that took home the Best Actor award at Karlovy Vary.

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International sales are being handled by production company Tvorba Films. U.S. rights are still available.

The last time the Czech Republic was nominated for the award was back in 2004 with Ondrej Trojan's "Zelary."
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Film Review: ‘Three Brothers’

Film Review: ‘Three Brothers’
Ever wonder what Czech director Jan Sverak has been up to since “Kolya” (1996), the winner of the best foreign-language film Oscar? Although none of the helmer’s recent work has achieved comparable impact, his films continue to rate highly in the domestic market: His latest, the delightful musical romp “Three Brothers,” was 2014’s Czech box office champ. Boasting upbeat music with rhyming lyrics, this humorous, satisfying pic weaves a trio of classic fairy tales into a connecting story about three brothers seeking adventure and life lessons. The result could work some magic as mainstream international fest fare.

Released the same year as the Rob Marshall-helmed adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” “Three Brothers” is also a fairy-tale mash-up that springs from theatrical antecedents: It’s based on a series of mini-operas penned by Zdenek Sverak (the helmer’s father and screenwriter-star of “Kolya”) and composer Jaroslav Uhlir,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Warsaw Film Festival 2014: Interview with Stefan Laudyn about the 10th CentEast Market

The CentEast Market is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. What was the motivation behind its creation in the first place?

Stefan Laudyn: It all started back in 2000 when we organized for the first time the Warsaw Screenings, and presented a selection of the most recent Polish films with English subtitles to a small group of international festival programmers. I realized that the industry needed this and – believed me or not – back then nobody did it. My motivation was and still is to locate the weakest points in the system and to try to fix them with our limited resources.

How has it evolved? Is the motivation still the same?

S.L.: Generally, the weakest point of film industries in Eastern Europe – apart from the scripts, but this is pretty universal – is the connection with the international film industry. There are still a lot of myths and very little hands on experience about how the international industry works. Over the years, I learned that the situation is pretty much the same all over Eastern Europe, and CentEast was born as a response.

Has it fulfilled your expectations so far?

S.L.: We have several success stories, like last year’s Ukrainian work-in-progress “The Tribe”, which was presented at CentEast and then went on to win three prizes at Cannes.

Can you give us some numbers from this year’s edition and perhaps mention some of the deals that have been made? Who has bought what?

S.L.: It’s too early to say – let’s give the participants time to digest the films they have seen.

How does the market stand on the international commercial side of international film?

S.L.: For Eastern European film, the fact of getting a theatrical deal abroad is already considered a major achievement. Big box office figures almost never happen, with noble exceptions like “Kolya” by Jan Sverák in the mid 1990s or recently “Ida” by Pawel Pawlikowski.

Why do you think an industry segment at the Warsaw Film Festival is indispensible for the festival itself, the Polish Film Industry and, on a wider lever, the International Film Industry?

S.L.: We give another reason to busy international professionals to come to Warsaw. After the Warsaw Film Festival reached a critical mass, it started attracting sales agents, producers, buyers, festival programmers, etc. CentEast, launched in 2007, become one of the key meeting points for professionals interested in Eastern European cinema.

Does the CentEast Market feel threatened by the industry initiatives of the New Horizons Film Festival, namely the Polish Days and the New Horizons Studio?

S.L.: New Horizons copied some of our initiatives – and if something is copied, it’s a proof that the original is in demand.

In what does it differ, especially regarding the Polish part of it? Do they complement each other?

S.L.: We select the films we present. Then we don’t just show the films, but we facilitate communication with foreign festivals, and embrace and support the films and works-in-progress presented at CentEast and Warsaw Screenings. The Polish films that are part of any other event in Poland are not eligible to be presented at CentEast and the Warsaw Film Festival. Producers have to choose between us and other events.

Do you think the Polish Film Industry is healthy?

S.L.: It’s definitely healthier than it used to be in the 1990s. The financing system works and quite a lot of money is available.

What is its weakest point? And, the strongest?

S.L.: The weakest point is that we practically have only one single source of film financing in Poland. The strongest points are the Polish cinematographers and the fact that almost 100% of Polish people speak the same language.

What is your perception of Eastern Europe in terms of the film industry? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What place does the CentEast Market hold there?

S.L.: There is no such thing as an Eastern European film industry. Film is a national sport. National industries are based by the national film subsidies – without them, there would be hardly any films made. In most countries you cannot recoup the film’s production cost from the local market revenues. Exceptions to this rule happen only in bigger countries like Russia or Poland.

CestEast, which is in October, along with the Sofia Meetings in March, and events in Tallinn in November, are key events for professionals in the region. CineLink in Sarajevo, another great event, is more about Balkans than Eastern Europe.

How involved is the Polish Film Institute with the CentEast Market?

S.L.: Not much. But we hope for better.

Can you talk about the market’s relationship with China and Russia? Why are they important?

S. L.: Look at the map.

What are your aims and focuses for its future? Where do you see it going in the long and short terms?

S.L.: While we are talking, two of our neighboring countries are in the state of war after Russia invaded Ukraine. We can’t ignore it. We want peace first. We want the Russians to free Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker they captured and arrested. In Warsaw, we have a number of Ukrainian and Russian filmmakers and there is no tension between them.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Toronto: International Films That Have Festgoers Talking

Toronto: International Films That Have Festgoers Talking
Attila Marcel

(France)

International sales: Pathe

With his live-action debut, French animation auteur Sylvain Chomet has transposed the offbeat charm, singular characters and richly layered visual style of his Oscar-nommed hand-drawn toons, “The Triplets of Belleville” and “The Illusionist,” to “Attila Marcel.” A passion project for Chomet — who also penned the screenplay — the musical comedy stars French up-and-comer Guillaume Gouix as a traumatized orphan who gets help from a mysterious woman using herbal medicine and music. Anne Le Ny (“The Intouchables”) and Bernadette Lafont (“Paulette”) play eccentric twin sisters who raise him.

Budgeted at €8 million ($10.7 million), the film is repped by French mini-major Pathe and produced by Claudie Ossard (“Amelie”) at Paris-based Eurowide Film Prod. Pic’s crew includes art director Stephane Cressend (“Now You See Me”) and production designer Carlos Conti (“On the Road”).

It has pre-sold to Australia, Benelux, Brazil, France, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Switzerland.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Karlovy Vary 2010: Jan Sverak's Kooky

Well-established Czech helmer Jan Sverák made a huge splash when he won Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 1996 for Kolya, his latest film, is not only similar title-wise, but it features a title character in the same age demo. His new film entitled Kooky, shares the name of a dusty teddy bear in a state of disrepair. The bear's owner is a six year-old asthmatic named Ondra. When Ondra's mother throws it away and it finds its way at the city dump, Ondra prays that his beloved teddy bear will somehow his way back home, but when the toddler awakes, he begins the journey of venturing into a creature-filled world, set on a quest to bring him back. "Kooky" works as a live action version of Pixar's "Toy Story", and is dipped in motifs from "Alice in Wonderland" the classic novel, not the recent film. Although the portrait doesn't
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Kooky’s Return Trailer: This Time, With Subtitles and English-Language Website

Kooky’s Return Trailer: This Time, With Subtitles and English-Language Website
Not long ago I posted the trailer for Kooky's Return, a beautiful-looking film by Jan Sverák (director of the Best Foreign Film Oscar-winning Kolya) that combines live-action and puppets for a slightly off-beat, very imaginative look at childhood. At the time the trailer featured no subtitles. Just after posting, however, I got in touch with the film's production designer, Jakub Dvorský, and he recently mailed to point out that the trailer is now subtitled. So here's an encore presentation. Watch the trailer and read the info below and you'll see why I'm excited about this film. But I was even more excited to find that Jakub Dvorský had a hand in it. Gamers may know Dvorský by his alter-ego, Amanita Design, through which he has been responsible for several truly wonderful flash games: the two episodes of Samorost and, more recently, Machinarium. (If you're unfamiliar with these, you can play
See full article at Slash Film »

"Violent Blue" Trailer Now Online!

"Violent Blue" Trailer Now Online! The first official trailer for director Gregory Hatanaka's ("Mad Cowgirl", "Until The Night") new bizarre flick, "Violent Blue", is now online! You Tube Link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ERZyDd_mQY The film stars Silvia Suvadova ("Kolja", "Polanski"), Nick Mancuso ("Under Siege", "Rapid Fire", "Death Warrior"), Jesse Hlubik ("May", "I Know Who Killed Me", "The Lost"), Barry O'Rourke ("Viva"), Andrea Harrison ("Born To Be A Star") with special appearances by Shane Ryan ("Warning!!! Pedophile Released"), Luke Y. Thompson ("Wicked Lake"), Kai Lanette ("Amateur Porn Star Killer 2"), Lina So ("Repo Men"), Aneliese Roettger ("Couples Retreat", "Frat Party") and producer Barry Barnholtz ("Public Enemies", "A Christmas Proposal", "B.T.K.", "Cyborg...
See full article at OhMyGore »

Duo team to set up South Africa-based prod'n house

Duo team to set up South Africa-based prod'n house
LONDON -- Oscar-winning producer Eric Abraham has teamed with writer-director Mark Dornford-May to set up a theater and movie production house based in South Africa, the duo said Monday. South Africa-born and British-based producer Abraham, who produced Academy Award winner Kolya, has teamed with South African-based Brit Dornford-May to "produce theater and film projects focused on South African talent for an international audience," the parties said. The banner, which will initially operate under London and New York movie production label Portobello Pictures, has also roped in the advice of South African theatre production legend Mannie Mannim who will act as a consultant to the new venture in Cape Town.

Czech academy smiles on 'Happiness'

Czech academy smiles on 'Happiness'
MOSCOW -- The Czech Film and Television Academy has chosen Bohdan Slama's Something Like Happiness as the country's Oscar entry for best foreign-language film, the Czech Film Center said Tuesday. Slama's film -- which won the San Sebastian film festival's Golden Shell for best film and Silver Shell for Ana Geislerova as best actress -- is the Czech director-screenwriter's third feature film. "A moving story about a fragile relationship between two young people which gradually grows into true love, the cast and atmosphere are reminiscent of Slama's successful debut 'Wild Bees' which brought the filmmaker several awards at international festivals," the Czech Film Center's Jana Cernik said. Nine Czech films have won a place at the Oscars since 1965 with three taking the prize -- The Shop on Main Street (directors Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos, 1965); Closely Watched Trains (Jiri Menzel, 1967); and Kolya (Jan Sverak, 1996).

Cottbus festival to focus on Czech cinema

Cottbus festival to focus on Czech cinema
MOSCOW -- The world's only festival devoted exclusively to eastern European film, Germany's Cottbus Film Festival, will spotlight Czech movie in its next edition in early November, organizers said Thursday. The special focus on Czech cinema, organized in cooperation with the Czech Film Center -- an independent office funded by the national audiovisual producers association and Prague city council -- will showcase productions made since the fall of communism in 1989. "After the 'Velvet Revolution, ' the Czech Republic was the country in eastern Europe with the most emphatic new beginning for the film world as a new generation of directors took over," the festival said in a statement. Directors from what many critics call the "new" New Wave of Czech film, including earlier Cottbus discoveries such as Jan Sverak (director of Oscar winning Kolya), Sasa Gedeon (Return of the Idiot) and Petr Zelenka (Year of the Devil), will be featured.

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