Hot Stuff

Producer Radim Procházka on New Film Planet Czechia by Marián Polák

Planet Czechia

“As far as Czech wildlife is concerned, all foreigners are instantly able to grasp the issue, but the situation is much more complex when human protagonists come into play,” said one TV producer during a discussion which also voiced comments by international reviewers on Marián Polák’s Planet Czechia that is scheduled to hit Czech cinemas in autumn. That was when I realised that it was the first time that I focused on something that appealed to a wider range of people. We find ourselves in a situation when we are even able to choose our partners. For a producer of mostly artistic cinematic pieces which hardly ever reach the cinema screen, this new film provides a new, exciting and, at the same time, controversial, experience.

Outside our borders, such films are called wildlife, or blue chip films (in their top quality), representing the most popular documentary genre. No cinematic scientific films are produced in our country or, we dare say, have not been produced till now – our film has a similar aim. However, Les Seasons released in Czech cinemas this spring, with a budget of 33 million dollars, easily managed to beat all blockbusters on the very first weekend. It is clear that such large-scale productions are impossible to compete with and, in fact, we do not intend to do the same.

Why? The French film is basically a fiction. It features trained animals, the forest is illuminated, the scenes follow the sequence of a fictitious story. When an animal reaches the den and grabs at the poor creature that is trying to escape, the camera switches to a counter-view from inside the den, in which we can literally see the dirt behind the animal’s claws in a big close-up. If a human appears on the screen – we see an actor dressed in a costume of an ancient hunter – after all we are watching a long and dramatic story. Most of wildlife films even have a ban on human protagonists. But we are interested in nature inhabited by people. We are shooting real wildlife animals in their natural habitat. Most of all, I am interested in how fast and efficiently some species adapted in areas only recently dominated by humans – mines and quarries, landfills or even in cities. Is this enough to attract viewers who have already seen a lynx’s claw from five centimetres?

Thanks to a lucky coincidence, enlightened environmentalists, the so-called Norwegian Grants and our traditional partners – The State Cinematography Fund and Czech Television – we put together a budget that no other crew has ever been provided for a similar project in our country. We have 200 shooting days, state-of-the-art technology and the most skilled crew: Czech cinematographer who has collaborated on renowned Austrian blue chip films Jiří Petr, specialist in bird’s eye views Antonín Nevrlý and Filip Brázdil or the best Czech underwater cameraman, Hugo Habrman.

   



Our crew is capable of capturing a pygmy owl during hunting and a common crane in mating but our aim was to capture much more. My favourite heroes include swallows that learned how to open a photocell controlled doors of the Suchdol nad Odrou train station. Or the rare species of crested lark, a significant share of whose population choses shopping mall carparks for their habitation. Who would expect such areas to be the abode of rare and strictly protected species?

These are examples of some of the situations that we are now trying to put together to create a story which could perhaps start as follows:

Director (voiceover):

I travelled the whole world with my camera trying to capture all sorts of exotic animals. But it was thanks to this project that I eventually realised that what is happening behind the fence of my own garden is even more unusual than that...

This is the message that I want to get across to the audience. But will they appreciate the search for such “pearls” hidden in landfills, suburbs, peripheries and remote dry spruce groves in the Šumava mountains? Why not rather stick to the genre-specific clichés, meet their expectations? After all, even our scenes of the “genuine” Czech wildlife reveal surprising coincidences and facts...

One seasoned film producer advised us during a pitching session: “Don’t mention the word essay, or at least when speaking with people from TV.” Essay is not sexy enough. And so we are making a movie with the ambition to use genre-specific methods and to defy genre boundaries. We believe that this is the only way of producing a relevant movie... But we rather keep it to ourselves when speaking to potential foreign business representatives and Czech distributors. What we tell them is that we are making a family film about nature. I myself am very curious about how this slight schizophrenia will end up. So far, we have produced a teaser, and the final version for release by the end of the year.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/PlanetaCesko





more articles from a section:  New release

dok.revueJde o to vidět, že svět je spíše děravý než plnýFilmař, hudebník a výtvarník Ondřej Vavrečka popisuje proces vzniku své osobité audiovizuální eseje Osobní život díry, která se letos objevuje v soutěžní sekci Česká radost v rámci on-line ročníku Mezinárodního festivalu dokumentárních filmů v Ji.hlavě. „Jde o to vidět prázdno, chybění, prostory mezi. Zkrátka díry. Protože svět ve skutečnosti je spíš děravý než plný, což ukazuje struktura hmoty,“ objasňuje svůj záměr Vavrečka.
1.20The story of a small provincial townNovice Russian director Dmitrij Bogoljubov tells dok.revue about the circumstances surrounding the origin of his new film Town of Glory, a co-production with Czech production company Hypermarket Film and Czech Television. The film uncovers the mentality of Yelnya, a provincial Russian town that is one of the most depressing in the country and where the legacy of the Great Patriotic War still lingers – something Putin’s establishment has successfully exploited to gain the support of the local citizens. The film was available to stream for a short time in March on the portal DAFilms as a part of the festival One World Online. This fall it will be shown on Czech Television and possibly in cinemas as well.Dmitrij Bogoljubov
1.20Sun of the Living DeadAnna Kryvenko on the loss of compassion in the post-factual age, the battle with the chaos and hostility of the universe, and how to create a documentary essay from archive materials.Anna Kryvenko
1.20FREMWhat is it like to shoot a film in Antarctica? Is it possible to get into the head of artificial intelligence? And what is GAI? All this is described by the documentarist Viera Čákanyová in the text she wrote about her new film FREM in dok.revue.Viera Čákanyová
dok.revueVěčný Jožo aneb Jak jsem potkal hvězduDokumentarista Jan Gogola ml. popisuje okolnosti vzniku svého nového filmu Věčný Jožo aneb Jak jsem potkal hvězdu, situačního portrétu slovenského zpěváka Joža Ráže ze skupiny Elán. Gogola se v otevřených situacích pokouší zjistit, jestli otevřenosti písní Elánu a Rážova hlasu odpovídá jeho otevřenost mentální. Texty Elánu se zároveň stávají kurzivou psaným rámcem tohoto hravého a přitom metafyzického setkání dokumentaristy se slovenským zpěvákem. „Mám za to, že ‚proti‘ může být cestou k ‚pro‘,“ zakončuje příběh svého filmu Gogola.Jan Gogola ml.
dok.revueKdo se se mnou zatočíStudentka Katedry animované tvorby na FAMU Adéla Križovenská přibližuje vznik svého krátkého animovaného dokumentu Kdo se se mnou zatočí, který je součástí celovečerního pásma toho nejlepšího ze současných studentských animovaných filmů s názvem FAMU v kině 01, jenž je od 20. srpna v českých kinech.
dok.revueVěci mohou být i jinakJak se natáčel vnitřní portrét Jaroslava Duška s názvem Zrcadlení tmy?
dok.revueKrajina poslů smrti i taškářůDokumentaristka Květa Přibylová přibližuje práci na svém experimentálním snímku Země havrana z archy, který vybrali organizátoři nyonské přehlídky Visions du Réel do své online mediatéky, jež je pro filmové profesionály přístupná do 2. května na webu festivalu.
dok.revueM E Z E R Y PAMĚTINora Štrbová přibližuje svůj nový animovaný dokument M E Z E R Y (S P A C E S), ve kterém zpracovává osobní zkušenost se ztrátou paměti svého bratra. Snímek do 24. dubna uvádí online letošní ročník festivalu Visions du Réel.
dok.revueStopy Jedličkovy krajinyDokumentarista Petr Záruba přibližuje svůj nový film Jan Jedlička: Stopy krajiny o malíři Janu Jedličkovi. Snímek bude uveden na letošním ročníku festivalu Visions du Réel.

starší články

2.16DOK.REVUE
02. 05. 2016


from current issue:

Situational reviewCaught in the Net should really be on the net if it’s going to change anythingDiscussion about the new film by Vít Klusák a Barbora Chalupová Caught in the NetKamila BoháčkováSituational reviewWill our civilisation negotiate this turn?American documentarian Jeff Gibbs’ activist film Planet of the Humans, which criticises the way we treat renewable energy sources, has evoked numerous controversial reactions. It’s no surprise that the producer is well-known filmmaker Michael Moore, who released the film freely on YouTube on Earth Day, when the worldwide corona virus pandemic was at its peak.Kamila BoháčkováNew releaseFREMWhat is it like to shoot a film in Antarctica? Is it possible to get into the head of artificial intelligence? And what is GAI? All this is described by the documentarist Viera Čákanyová in the text she wrote about her new film FREM in dok.revue.Viera ČákanyováNew releaseSun of the Living DeadAnna Kryvenko on the loss of compassion in the post-factual age, the battle with the chaos and hostility of the universe, and how to create a documentary essay from archive materials.Anna KryvenkoNew releaseThe story of a small provincial townNovice Russian director Dmitrij Bogoljubov tells dok.revue about the circumstances surrounding the origin of his new film Town of Glory, a co-production with Czech production company Hypermarket Film and Czech Television. The film uncovers the mentality of Yelnya, a provincial Russian town that is one of the most depressing in the country and where the legacy of the Great Patriotic War still lingers – something Putin’s establishment has successfully exploited to gain the support of the local citizens. The film was available to stream for a short time in March on the portal DAFilms as a part of the festival One World Online. This fall it will be shown on Czech Television and possibly in cinemas as well.Dmitrij BogoljubovThemeThere’s more than one feminismA reflection on women documentarians inspired by Barbora Baronová’s book Women on WomenMartin ŠrajerTheoryBiopics and the Trembling Ethics of the Real We publish here the essay by one of the most prominent minds in film today, Timothy Corrigan, who presented his essay “Biopics and the Trembling Ethics of the Real” at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival in fall 2019 as a part of his lecture for students in the festival’s educational module Media and Documentary.Tereza Hadravová, Timothy CorriganInterviewWe have to start with ourselves, or nothing will changeAn interview with Macedonian documentarians Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevská, creators of the film Honeyland.Vojtěch KočárníkInterviewNone of the big streaming platforms are buying documentaries now because people are so scared in their personal lives Challenges for the film industry and festivals in the age of the coronavirusRadim ProcházkaIntroductionWhen local is universaldok.revue 1.20Kamila Boháčková