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CREATORS


Pavel Abrahám – director and producer

Pavel Abrahám graduated from Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. In 2008 he accomplished his Diploma Thesis in the Studio of Intermedia Art under Jiří David’s supervision. Currently, he attends a postgraduate programme in the Supermedia Studio under Fedrico Díaz’s supervision. During his studies he completed a scholarship in the Studio of Video at École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris (2005–2006) and in the Centre of Audiovisual Studies at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (2006–2007).

In 2004 he made a thirty-minute film Hlavní hvězdou jsou piva. He worked on it together with screenwriter Tomáš Bojar, and he produced it himself. A year later, he finished a short film Pře/klad which was awarded Film Reflection Prize at Fresh Film Fest 2005 in Karlovy Vary. In 2006 – during the scholarship in France – he made a short footage film Le Songe. In partnership with Tomáš Bojar, they made their debut with a feature film Česká RAPublika, which premiered the Czech cinemas in November 2008.  

The film Česká RAPublika was distributed to the Czech and Slovak cinemas, and it was screened at several international film festivals. The film won the “Zlatý Ledňáček” Award for best documentary at the 22nd Finále Plzeň Film Festival in 2009. In addition, it was nominated for “Český Lev” Award in Critics Award category for the best documentary of 2008, and for “Pavel Koutecký” Award in 2009. Filter magazine chose it as the best Czech film of 2008.


Tomáš Bojar – screenwriter and producer

Tomáš Bojar graduated from Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University in Prague (Department of Political Science and International Relations) and from Faculty of Law at Charles University. He spent one year on a scholarship at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. He worked as a book and magazine editor, and published essays and book and music reviews in several Czech periodicals (Tvar, Nový Prostor, etc.). In 2005 he created the concept of the exhibition of communist propaganda posters Moc obrazů, obrazy moci, and he also edited the accompanying catalogue to it. In 2008 he edited a collection of essays Otisky komunismu.

As a screenwriter, he works in tandem with Pavel Abrahám (films Hlavní hvězdou jsou piva, Česká RAPublika). In partnership with Ivan Vojnár they created a screenplay for the  film Cinematerapie (2010) and they currently work together on two new feature films.


Kristina Šedivá – production manager

Kristina Šedivá has studied Theory of Culture at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague. She has extensive experience in the festival, film and advertising production.

Between 2001 and 2009 she worked as a producer of the International Film Festival Karlovy Vary. She also worked as a production manager of the International Documentary Film Festival at Jihlava (2005). Annually, she provides production of “Festivalové Vteřiny” at the Student Films festival “Fresh Film Fest” in Karlovy Vary. At the SG Production company, she is – as a producer – in charge of organizing social events, conferences and company presentations.

Since 2006 she works as a freelance producer. She collaborates with many renowned production companies, including Bistrofilms, Adwood, and Dawson. She participates in the organization of production of both domestic and international commercials, music videos and festival anthems. She often works with foreign production companies on projects executed in the Czech Republic.

In 2007 and 2008 she was a member of the narrowest production team of the Fresh Film Company, which was organizing the production of the feature film Česká RAPublika.


Jiří Chod – director of photography

Jiří Chod is a graduate of the Cinematography Department at the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). He participated in a number of major film projects. He has extensive experience in the field of actors and documentary film, TV journalism, and advertising. He is a director of photography of films Bespojení (directed by Lenka Wimmerová, 2003), Chvála bláznivosti (directed by Radek Tůma, 2006), Labyrintem k revoluci (directed by Petr Jančárek, 2007), Divadlo Svoboda (directed by Jakub Hejna, 2010), Soukromý vesmír (directed by Helena Třeštíková, 2012), etc. Further, he was an assistant cameraman of Kdopak by se vlka bál (directed by Marie Procházková), Ženy pro měny (directed by Erika Hníková, 2004), Česká RAPublika (2008), etc.


Václav Flegl – sound engineer

Václav Flegl graduated from Musicology at the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague, and from Department of Sound at FAMU. He also completed a scholarship at Midlessex University in London. He worked as a sound engineer on dozens of both feature and documentary films, for example Trafačka – Chrám svobody (directed by Saša Dlouhý & Roman Vávra, 2011) Nic proti ničemu (directed by Petr Marek, 2011), Vše pro dobro světa a Nošovic (directed by Vít klusák, 2010), Český mír (directed by Filip Remunda & Vít Klusák, 2010), Nebe, peklo (directed by David Čálek, 2009), Mamas & Papas (directed by Alice Nellis, 2010), and many others.


Šimon Špidla – editor

Šimon Špidla graduated from Cinematography at the Film School in Zlín and from Editing at FAMU. He has made series of contemplative films  Na náplavce (2003), Posun (2004), Josef Božek (2005), and a brief study of the assault rifle Sa 58 Jen pro vnitřní potřebu (2006). In 2011 he premiered his film Mrtvá trať, which won the “Český rozhlas Award” for the best sound at “Jeden Svět Festival” in 2012, and it was also nominated for the “Pavel Koutecký Award” in 2012.

As an editor he worked with many leading Czech filmmakers including Věra Chytilová, Jan Němec, Erika Hníková, and Jan Šikl. He worked with Pavel Abrahám and Tomáš Bojar on Česká RAPublika (2008), further he edited Marta Nováková’s feature film Marta, which won the prize for the best debut at the Cottbus Festival 2006, or the film Bába (directed by Zuzana Špidlová, 2008), that won the prestigious Cinéfondation Award at Cannes Festival. He also participated in Usnula jsem (directed by Kristýna Dufková, 2009), the best Czech animated film at the Anifest Festival 2009, and many others.


Jan Gogola, Jr. – script editor

Jan Gogola, Jr. has directed many films and TV shows. He is the author of the groundbreaking thesis Smrt dokumentárnímu filmu. Since 1999 he has worked in the “Česká televize Praha” as a script editor. Between 2005 and 2008 he was head of the television studio in Brno.

He graduated from journalism at Charles University in Prague, and from the Documentary Film Department at FAMU, where he still works as a teacher. He has directed many films including Ro(c)k života (2011), Mám ráda nudný život (the film won the award for the best Czech documentary at Jihlava Festival 2009), České Velenice evropské (2004), Národ sobě aneb České moře v osmnácti přílivech (2003), Nonstop (a meditative slapstick about the endlesness running along the highway, 1999), Deník babičky Němcové (about weather in us and around us, 1999), Panelák je kamarád (2000), Panenka proti zbytku světa (2001) and Vila Inocent (1996) etc.

Jan Gogola, Jr. is one of the most desired script editors of documentary films. Within the past ten years he has participated in plenty of films, for example Český sen, Hry prachu, Maturita v listopadu, 66 sezón, Vítejte v Eurocampu, Iné svety, Česká RAPublika, etc. Further, he is the author of numerous interviews,
reviews, magazine articles and essays.

 


INTERVIEW WITH PAVEL ABRAHÁM AND TOMÁŠ BOJAR:

Where did the idea of the film actually come from? It is a fair distance away from the rap in the Czech RAPublic…

The idea, it just comes, you really don’t know how. The important thing is that it has come. Subsequently, we have made a series of visits to football stadiums to check whether the idea is good, and how concretely to realize it. After some time we were sure that the football stadium is an ideal place for a film that is supposed to show how different people experience the same thing differently. It seems to be a fair distance away from RAPublic but the basis of both films is actually quite similar. They both deal with the well-known and popular phenomenon in a new, quite unexpected way. They are both made to appeal not only to fans of rap and football, but also to people from the outside. They both are – in our opinion – quite entertaining, but not trashy at the same time. In both of them the initial sympathy or openness to the displayed environment associates with a certain distance from it. And both of them have – in our opinion – a clearly pronounced film language and a sharp dramaturgical shape. In short, the basis of both films is fairly similar.

How did you choose the characters to focus on? Did you have to change anything operationally? For example, you couldn’t have known about the tourists in advance, could you?

The vast majority of people we met directly at the stadium, we didn’t put there anyone artificially (with the only exception of reviewer Jiří Peňás who – during the culminating government crisis – took at the last minute the place of Minister Vondra in the VIP lounge; and then the Italians who came on our invitation). The search for the characters, it was all quite fun. As we started visiting the stadium together, we always sat down somewhere and just observed what’s happening around. Usually we just listened for a while, and that was it. After a few months, we had such a database of characters, which might be envied by many casting agencies. Primarily, of course, we picked out rather lively and extroverted people, those who are not afraid to express themselves, and who don’t need to be persuaded to participate in the filmmaking. Moreover, we tried to cover different types of society, but we also wanted everyone involved to introduce some distinctive perspective. Simultaneously, we still had these words of Hannah Arendt on our minds: “Only where things can be seen by many in a variety of aspects without changing their identity, so that those who are gathered around them know they see sameness in utter diversity, can worldly reality truly and reliably appear.” The result is, of course, an original film, not a precise sociological study or a “balanced” report. We certainly didn’t intend to capture everything and forget nothing. That is yet clearer if you take into consideration the fact that we had no control of what would happen on the  given day of the shooting and how particularly the people would behave.

Was it difficult for you to convince them to agree with filming? Were you not afraid that they would show off / play a certain role for you?

No, it wasn’t difficult. We didn’t have to persuade anyone who’s in the film. If someone didn’t want to, it was ok with us. We obviously were afraid that people would show off. And it was really happening during the first test shootings, but we managed to eliminate it quite successfully as time went by. The entire shooting method was gradually developing so that people on camera were as natural as possible. We think they eventually were really quite natural – thank to the stirring evening atmosphere of course, under whose influence the people quickly forgot about the cameras, ports, and everything else.

What was Sparta’s attitude to the shooting? Did they lay down any conditions?

There was only one fundamental restriction: we were not allowed to disrupt the normal operation of the stadium. Our staff members were not allowed to obstruct anybody’s view or to interfere anyhow, etc. In accordance with it, we adapted the deployment of each camera way in advance, and we consulted everything with the employees of the club. The co-operation with them was flawless – there are only sympathetic people working there at Sparta, you can always come to agreement with them. As for the film itself, the club owner Daniel Křetínský – with whom we dealt from the beginning – was generous and he didn’t disrupt our concept anyhow. He understood that we were not doing a promotional video, but a feature film which was rather a portrait of varied segments of Czech society than a particular football club.

How much time did you spend on the preparation for such a “mass” shooting?

We spent more than two years preparing for the whole event. We began with very thorough inspections, we went to dozens of games, and we met a great number of people. Gradually, we began with test shootings at the stadium with some of them, and we got a better idea of directing methods and of the resulting film shape as well. Some time in the autumn of 2010 we finally decided to shoot the entire film in one night and we had started to work on it intensively. It was quite a challenging logistical operation which had practically no precedent in the area of documentary cinema. We had been preparing intensively for the night for six months with a great deal of help of the production manager Kristina Šedivá and the assistant director David Jančar. We had to get a huge amount of technology and “train” a large number of people so that they would cope with filming in a busy environment of the stadium. For several months, we had been preparing various manuals, drawing plans, taking directors, cinematographers and sound engineers for inspections, and harmonizing the entire course of the shooting with club employees (co-operation with them was flawless). It was quite a hard work. Despite all the accompanying troubles (for example the date of the match had been shifted repeatedly), the very shooting went quite without problems after all, everybody was doing his job, and so we thank everybody for that. The entire crew numbered nearly 150 people on that day, so if a bomb exploded at Letná on that evening, the Czech cinema would probably have had quite a serious problem…

You spent a very long time editing the film. Why?

We spent almost half a year in the editing room, it was very intensive work, we definitely were not loitering. Previously, we’d spent practically the whole summer getting acquainted with the endless hours of footage, taking out the interesting passages, thinking about varied concepts of editing, etc. In early November we started with cutting the material, and by Christmas we finished the first rough selection. Out of it, we’d made sort of a large graph, which we’d printed and put up on the wall. There were all the timelines of each camera with indication of the selected material arranged in rows. That allowed us to compare what was happening in different parts of the stadium, and to find some new key points. It was kind of a giant sail which looked really interesting – the people who visited us in the editing room were gazing at it in astonishment. It seemed we were making the film quite scientifically… After Christmas, we met over the graph, and after a few sessions we finally decided on one particular concept of editing. Soon, it proved to be efficient, and after several months of work, the film was finished. Of course, our editor Šimon Špidla is of great value to it. We get along very well with him, and we almost cannot imagine the editing without him. Šimon is the king.

Why do you think people should come to see your film in cinema?

Above all, it’s witty and very authentic. And a little different from other films, as well. It’s not a film they could have seen at least fifty times before.

Do you actually support any of the teams? Sparta / Slavia / another one?

Tomáš: I have always been a fan of Sparta. It was actually a matter of random initial decision. I was around six, and there was Derby Sparta – Slavia running on TV. Somehow I liked the word “Sparta”, so I started supporting them. And it has remained at that. In Europe, I like Arsenal the most. I don’t care they almost don’t win at all in recent years – the beauty and lightness of it are only important really. Coach Wenger is an artist.

Pavel: Sparta.


Pavel Abrahám


Tomáš Bojar


Kristina Šedivá


Jiří Chod


Václav Flegl


Šimon Špidla


Jan Gogola Jr.


Interview