The Karamazovs to represent Czech Republic in Oscar competition

By Irena Zemanova

    Petr Zelenka's The Karamazovs will be the Czech bid for the Oscar foreign language film category, the Czech Film and Television academy (www.cfta.cz) announced.

    "Country Teacher by Bohdan Slama and Vaclav Marhoul´s Tobruk were among the three movies we finally chose from," said Petr Vachler, director of CFTA.

    "We are very lucky with the nomination. I believe that only option for Czech Republic to succeed in worldwide competiton is to shoot art films with a deeper message," said Cestmir Kopecky, whose company Prvni verejnopravni s.r.o. (www.cestmir.cz) produced The Karamazovs (www.karamazovi.cz).

    Polish Warszaw Pact Filmproduction company and Czech Television co-produced the movie, which received a CZK 5 million (205,000 euros) grant of Czech State fund for support and developing of the Czech cinematography, as well as support from the Eurimages programme and the Polish Film Institute.

    Nominations for foreign language film category will be announced on January 22nd, 2009 by American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences (www.oscars.org).

    The original film adaptation of Russian author Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky's work combines a film drama with the staging of a hit 2000 theatrical production, starring Ivan Trojan. In the film version, the Prague theatre company (with the actors play themselves) visits a fictional festival of alternative arts in Poland to perform a site-specific version of Dostoyevsky´s classic.

    Distributed by Czech company Cinemart (www.cinemart.cz), The Karamazovs had world release on April 24, 2008. It reached 50,000 admissions in Czech cinemas, with ticket sales over 200,000 euros, according to the Czech Union of Film Distributors.

    The Karamazovs represented the Czech Republic at the Karlovy Vary international film festival main competition, receiving the Special Jury Mention Award and FIPRESCI Award, and recently competed in the Gdynia Polish Film Festival main competition.