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TURNED DOWN BY CZECH TV, HAVEL DOCUMENTARY GOES TO NOVA TV

For twelve years, documentary filmmaker Pavel Koutecký who died last year, followed the political and private life of Václav Havel. But this unique film, completed by Miroslav Janek, will probably not appear on public service Czech TV. Czech TV did not provide funding and the film Citizen Václav Havel will be aired on the privately-owned Nova TV. Source: Aktualne.cz.

 

 

Aktualne.cz / Michal Hladík /
Next year the documentary will run in Czech theatres. It is not yet clear when it will reach television audiences. Czech TV did not agree on the terms of the contract with the filmmakers. "In the autumn of 2005 I sent a letter to Jiří Janeček, general manager of Czech TV, with a proposal for cooperation and the offer to screen the rough footage. There was no reply," says producer Jarmila Poláková from Film & Sociologie.

 

Last year in January, there was a forty-minute screening. Among the guests was also František Lambert, Czech TV's programming director at the time, who was to decide about the film. In the end Czech TV refused to give funding for the film. Lambert, a member of the former People's Militia [the armed corps of the Communist Party], now declines to comment on the negotiations.

 


"The attitude of Czech TV as the public service television which should be not only obliged but honoured to air this documentary, is nothing short of a scandal," says arts journalist Jiří Peňás from the weekly Týden. Czech TV claims that they were interested in taking up the film but failed to agree on specific terms. "There was no co-production deal at the time, both sides had different ideas about the final form of our cooperation," explains Czech TV spokesman Martin Krafl. According to Krafl, Czech TV still has interest in the film. "Czech TV initiated further negotiations that have been going on from the end of the spring but as of now there has been no agreement," Krafl claims. Kateřina Fričová, a new programming director of Czech TV, has already contacted the film's producer with a request to run the film.

 

 

However, in the end Czech TV will probably not air the film. In the meantime, Nova TV expressed their interest in cooperation and producer Jarmila Poláková already signed a preliminary agreement with the private channel. According to Poláková, the terms of the contract offered by Nova TV are very good. Citizen Václav Havel will open in theatres in February 2008. The TV version will probably be split into four episodes. "It's an amazing document of its time," sociologist Miloslav Petrusek says, having seen the rough cut screening at the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště, "And it's also a testament to what lasts; who can remember today some of Havel's former opponents..."