Working copy of "Bathory" stolen by production manager in inside job
It's being billed as the most expensive film ever made in Central Europe, so reports that a working copy was stolen from an editing room caused something of a stir. The working version of Juraj Jakubisko's new film Bathory - about the legendary 16th century "blood countess" Elizabeth Bathory - has now been recovered, and the case will now go to court.
Juraj Jakubisko, Slovakia's best known film director, is just putting the finishing touches to a new two-hour English-language version of the famous story, in which he seeks to portray Elizabeth Bathory in a more sympathetic light. The lead role is played by British actress Anna Friel, and includes a number of well-known Czech actors.
The film was in post-production at Prague's Barrandov studios, when Jakubisko's wife Deana, who acts as producer on his films, received a call from someone claiming to be a middleman for someone who had stolen the working copy of the film. The person was threatening to circulate the film illegally unless he received half a million crowns.
Deana Jakubiskova called the police. Together she and the corruption and financial crime squad set up a meeting with the so-called middleman, who arrived as planned to pick up for the cash. He was arrested, as was the second man. The working copy was safely returned, but as Deana Jakubiskova explained to me, it turned out to be an inside job:
The case will now go to court. The working copy was clearly marked and protected and would have been useless to any potential counterfeiter. However Deana Jakubiskova says the case is a worrying development, and warns other film companies to exercise extreme caution. Bathory will premiere in Slovakia and the Czech Republic this autumn.