Jana Černík from the Czech Film Chamber on the state of Czech cinema

All this week, moviegoers and directors are flocking to the West Bohemian town of Plzeň for one of the biggest film festivals in the country – Finále Plzeň. The festival is dedicated to Czech films, and will feature special screenings, concerts and talks with directors such as Jiří Menzel. One of the guests at the festival’s opening was Jana Černík from the Czech Film Chamber. She talked to Radio Prague’s Philippe Boudoux about the year that Czech film had had:

“Well actually this year a great number of people went to see Czech films in Czech cinemas. There were 4.5 million viewers who came to see Czech films, and the market share that Czech films enjoyed was also quite a success. Czech films made up around 35 percent of the market, which put the Czech Republic second behind France in Europe, when it comes to the market share that domestic films enjoy.”

That’s a very good result, congratulations. How can you explain this success?

“Well, I think there is a tradition of Czechs going to see Czech films. There has always been a good percentage of Czech films on the Czech market, and Czechs like to go and see these films. This is for several reasons – I think they like to go and see stories in which they can really understand the humour, and stories which are shot in recognizable locations. This is something that ensures that most of the comedies which are shot in the Czech Republic make their way into the top 10 at the box office.”

Two movies have been particularly successful, Empties by Jan Svěrak and I Served the King of England by Jiří Menzel – who has already won an Oscar in the past. Will they go on general distribution all over the world or not?

“It is not automatic, unfortunately, but in these cases, you are basically right, because Jiří Menzel is well known, and the film is based upon a book by Bohumil Hrabal. So, that has helped a lot, and this film was pushed very well, and so the film was a success basically in almost all European countries. With Empties – it was also a success, although not such a big one. Though in Germany, it had almost 100,000 admissions, which is for such a big country, quite a big success.”