Touring festival bringing Czech films to 13 UK cities


The 11th Czech Film Festival begins in London on Thursday with a screening of Grandhotel by David Ondricek and a Q+A session with the director. But this year viewers around the UK will have the chance to enjoy movies from this part of the world, as the showcase Made in Prague: New Czech Cinema visits 13 cities in England and Scotland. As final preparations were being made for the touring festival, I spoke to organiser Renata Clark of the Czech Centre in London.

"What we wanted to do was to have an opportunity to reach out to the other regions of the UK. We traditionally organise a festival of Czech cinema every year in London. We sometimes do touring packages, but this time we happen to be collaborating with Picturehouses UK, and thanks to this collaboration we managed to approach venues in Scotland, in the central and southern England as well. Overall we have 13 venues."

I know you have six films in your selection - how did you choose those pictures?

"We wanted to present as wide a variety of films as possible, and in that way to demonstrate the vibrancy of Czech cinema. So we are showing drama, we are showing comedy, we are showing feature animation as well as a documentary. Obviously we selected films which are of outstanding quality."

Of course there are more Czech living in the UK than would have been the case, say, five years ago. Do you expect audiences to be made up of Czechs or British people?

"The festival and the touring season is mainly aimed at British audiences. That's the majority of our audience - I would say maybe 80 percent. Nevertheless, there is obviously a Czech community now in the UK and we do hope they will come and see those films as well. But I assume that will be a minority, compared with the UK audiences."

Have there been, do you know, similar touring film festivals organised by Czech Centres elsewhere?

"Definitely the Czech Centre London has previously organised touring seasons in the UK, though none of them was as big as this one. Also the Czech Film Centre in Prague started to organise a touring season in Austria and Germany. And as far as I am aware the Czech Centre in New York regularly organises a Czech film season which also tours other cities in the United States."