The Made in Prague On/Off Festival presents for its 24th edition a hybrid film festival showcasing diverse cinematic talent while bringing to the UK audience a mixture of fiction and documentary films both on line and in venues.
1 – 30 November 2020, Czech Centre London/Vimeo on Demand, Riverside Studios London
Opening with the UK premiere of Havel, a brand new biopic about the charismatic playwright turned president, and also featuring Agnieszka Holland’s Charlatan, fresh from the Berlinale, each film portrays one great Czech who has helped to shape Czech society and culture. From world renowned surrealist filmmaker and master animator Jan Svankmajer to virtually unknown herbalist Jan Mikolasek, who cured millions, and from the internationally celebrated photographer of David Bowie and the Chernobyl disaster, Antonin Kratochvil, to Slovak music legend Miro Zbirka, treasured by Czech and Slovak audiences, this is an invitation to a multifaceted gallery of inspirational if flawed human beings. Just get yourself a drink, some popcorn and get comfortable.
A vibrant festival programme presents seven premieres of fiction, documentary and animated films, each accompanied by an interview with the director making them accessible on VOD to audiences across the UK. From a big period picture to a poignant comedy, the festival showcases a collage of Czech society and culture built up from individual personal stories exploring personal failings which contrast with public accolades, the sustaining of moral integrity in the context of 20th century authoritarian regimes, and the difficulties of communication and reaching agreements.
The festival opens on the 1st November with the UK premiere of Havel (2020), a brand new biopic, in which director Slavek Horak focuses on Havel’s personal life, in particular his relationship with his wife Olga while exploring his metamorphosis from internationally celebrated but persecuted playwright in 1968 to banned and jailed human rights defender and finally to president of Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Teaming up with the Kinoteka! Polish Film festival Made in Prague presents the UK premiere of Charlatan, the Czech entry for the 2020 Oscars directed by Polish film director Agnieszka Holland. This inspired study of the brilliant, self-taught Czech healer Jan Mikolasek who cured millions with herbal medicine and whose unorthodox life and methods were threatened by both the Nazis and Communist authorities premiered at the Berlinale earlier this year.
A whole range of authentic portraits is delivered by Jiri Havelka´s debut, Owners. Hailed as ‘the comedy of the decade‘ by Czech critics and audiences alike, this poignant comedy is set in a residents’ association meeting, where twelve homeowners must agree on building management. As the meeting progresses their characters, ranging between idealists, profiteers and manipulators, are revealed to hilarious but chilling effect. With a nod to Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men, this is a perceptive portrayal of contemporary Czech society.
With galleries and music venues closed down or operating on a much smaller scale, it is often the medium of film which helps us to stay in touch. In Meky director Simon Safranek follows Miro Zbirka, who has been at the top of the Czech charts for 40 years, to create a dynamic close-up portrait of a popular singer. Photographer Michael Kratochvil explores the art of photography and asks his estranged father difficult questions in Andrea Sedlackova’s My Father Antonin Kratochvil, which tells the dramatic story of Czech born Antonín Kratochvíl, a four-time World Press Photo winner. On the other hand Athanor – The Alchymical Furnace by directors Jan Danhel and Adam Olha offers a playful, poetic and candid insight into Jan Švankmajer´s artistic practice and his production company Athanor, where this grand master of puppetry and animation conjures his sharp and merciless exploration of human nature.
Czech animation is represented by Alexandra Májová’s and Kateřina Karhánková’s delightful Hungry Bear Tales. This is 45 minutes of the merry adventures of two cuddly and constantly hungry bears for very young children (3 - 8) and their parents who can also take part in an online art workshop and create their own Picnic with Bears.
Championing Czech art and cinema the Made in Prague Festival will also be promoting The Painter and the Thief and The Painted Bird. The documentary The Painter and the Thief featuring Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova explores an unconventional, fascinating relationship between artist and muse, and will be released by Dogwoof on 30 October. The Painted Bird by Vaclav Marhoul is a monumental black and white depiction of the horror of war and a 2019 Venice International Film Festival contestant. The blu-ray with a feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary will be released on 16 November 2020 by Eureka.
Made in Prague 2020 On/OFF Guests:
Directors: Slavek Horak, Andrea Sedlackova, Simon Safranek, Jan Danhel, Adam Olha, Jiri Havelka, Katerina Karhankova & Alexandra Hetmerova
Other guests: Miroslav Zbirka (musician), photographers Antonin Kratochvil & Michael Kratochvil
**BOOKING NOW OPEN!***
The Made in Prague Festival returns from 1 – 30 November 2020 for its 24th edition as the Made in Prague 2020 On/OFF Festival offering seven UK premieres streamed on our secure streaming platform https://vimeo.com/czechcentrelondon (available to the UK audience only).
Explore the full programme for film times, synopses, trailers, Q+As and special events.
Films on VOD will premiere at specific dates and times and will remain available to watch for three days. One single film ticket covers a single household and multiple users, allowing you and your partner, family or housemates to enjoy the whole Festival together.
Made in Prague Film Festival is part of the month long MADE IN PRAGUE 2020 ON/OFF FESTIVAL of Czech films, visual arts, music and debates on and off line organised by the Czech Centre London.
Press enquiries for screening links, images and interview requests
Veronika Blues, [email protected], tel 07599 706 858
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CzechCentreLnd #MadeInPrague