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The 1st festival of Czech films in Paris

The 1st festival of Czech films – CZECH-IN pour le cinéma tchèque – will be held in the Paris cinema L’Entrepôt from June 3 – 9, 2009. It is the very first showcase of Czech films made after 1989. The event is organized by Czech Film Center, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, and the Czech Centre in Paris, and its partners are L’Entrepôt cinema and LVT, a French subtitling company. The festival takes place at the close of the Czech Republic’s EU presidency.

The objective of the event is to show audiences in the French metropolis leading films from contemporary Czech cinema – a cross-section of Czech film made since the Velvet Revolution. Another aim is to create a tradition for the festival and to expand its run to other regions of France in the coming years. Czech Film Center also wants to encourage cooperation between film professionals from both countries and to offer more new Czech films for French distribution.

A total of ten titles will be screened at the festival – nine feature films and one feature-length documentary: Kolya /1996, Jan Svěrák/; Return of the Idiot /1999, Saša Gedeon/; Some Secrets /2002, Alice Nellis/; Jan Werich’s Fimfárum /2002; Vlasta Pospíšilová and Aurel Klimt /; Zelary /2003, Ondřej Trojan/; Lunacy /2005, Jan Švankmajer/; Something Like Happiness / 2005, Bohdan Sláma/; Wrong Side Up /2005, Petr Zelenka/,; Who’s Afraid of the Wolf /2008, Marie Procházková/; and Citizen Havel /2008, Pavel Koutecký and Miroslav Janek/.

Markéta Šantrochová from Czech Film Center told us how the movies to be screened in Paris were selected and what the hardest part about organizing the festival was:
The selection process was quite difficult because choosing just seven to ten films to represent the relatively rich cinema produced here in last twenty years is tough. The aim was to present films that have been successful abroad (e.g., Kolya and Zelary) and/or movies by directors who are indicative of new Czech cinema (e.g., Sláma, Zelenka, Nellis, Gideon). We are also showing the documentary Citizen Havel, which will close the festival, and two works for family audiences (Jan Werich's Fimfárum and Who's Afraid of the Wolf).
The hardest part about organizing the showcase was in the preparation itself because it is extremely difficult to find a suitable venue and appropriate partners who will help organize and promote the festival inside the country. Furthermore, we had to have the copies subtitled since there are few films with French subtitles. This is another objective of Czech Film Center – to support diverse language versions of Czech films at similar events and thus expand the options for screening locations and share the films with more audiences.

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