In the days following these events, a petition initiative has been created at http://www.zachrantefilm.cz while the FAMU students have been repeatedly organizing peaceful protests in front of the Lazansky Palace. As part of the protest, the students hanged the banner "FOR SALE" – both in Czech and English – on the building walls. The telephone numbers of Culture Minister Vítězslav Jandák and President Václav Klaus are added in 20-inch black numbers underneath the message.
The main Czech organizations involved with film have joined the student protests, namely the Czech Film Chamber, the Association of Producers in Audiovision, the Union of Film Distributors, the Association of Cinema Exhibitors, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), the Czech Film and TV Association, the Association of Directors and Screenwriters, the Czech Film and TV Academy, the Association of Film and TV Editors, and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The organizations also blame Culture Minister Vítěslav Jandák who allegedly told the members of parliament: "You decide, you'll either accept it, or you won't. Frankly, after five months I don't care anymore."
Yet, following his appointment to the office, Jandák marked the enforcement of the bill as one of his priorities. According to the Czech Press Agency (ČTK), the first in the series of protest measures was the closing of the Czech film stand at the Cannes International Film Festival. Other protests are also being prepared by directors and producers.
OTHER INFO SOURCES (in Czech):
- The dates of other protest events, student opinions and articles related to the rejected bill are found at the FAMU website: "http://www.famu.cz."
- Literární noviny published an article by documentary filmmaker and FAMU lecturer Vít Janeček, "Klaus's Film Veto: One Second with ODS in Power" / http://www.literarky.cz/?p=clanek&id=2162.
- On May 29, Respekt published an article by Přemek Martinek, "Who Killed Czech Film?" http://www.respekt.cz/aktualni.php#R9.
- The same Newspapers bring other reaction of Dean of FAMU, Michal Bregant, and Přemysl Martinek (Programme Director of Febiofest ) on Monday, June 5 : http://www.respekt.cz/aktualni.php#R8
- A number of related articles can be accessed at http://www.blisty.cz; http://www.fites.cz , and other sites.
"There is no correlation between the amount of money and artistic quality. Good art demands an artist (with a capital A) and at least basically acceptable social conditions. We have both," Klaus said in his statement. He also objected to the film sector being set apart from other fields of art, such as theatre or the fine arts.
"This is especially peculiar when you consider that the new bill was – according to calculations – going to provide the whole Czech film sector annually with roughly two thirds of the funds available to the Prague National Theatre from the state budget every year. And this isn't mentioning similar sums allocated to the National Gallery and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra," documentary filmmaker Helena Třeštíková argued in MF Dnes.
In the past years the Fund has supported a range of documentary films (Dust Games, Automaton, and The Source by Martin Mareček; Helena Třeštíková's René – the Czech Villon; Afonka Does Not Want to Herd Reindeer Anymore by Martin Ryšavý; No Regrets by Theodora Remundová; the controversial Czech Dream by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda; or The Ill-Fated Child by Lucie Králová), and also the following festivals: FAMUfest, Mezipatra, One World, the Summer Film School, and the Jihlava IDFF.
Currently the Fund relies on only two sources for its funding. It receives CZK 1 from each cinema ticket sold, and also draws earnings from the sale of licence rights to archive films. Every year the Board Committee distributes around CZK 60 - 80 million.
According to the bill draft, cinema exhibitors would allot 2 percent of their profit from ticket sales to the Fund, while videotape and DVD distributors would give 3 percent of their revenues, and TV networks would contribute with 3 percent of revenues from commercials and teleshopping. Czech TV that gradually limits advertising should allot 0.5 percent of revenues to the Fund.
Had the bill been passed, the budget of the Fund would have nearly trebled – annually from CZK 70 - 220 million. Culture Minister Vítězslav Jandák at first claimed that in its first years, the Fund could receive up to CZK 300 - 380 million per year.