“Czech That Film” International Film Festival, LA opened on May 10th and will continue through June 3rd. This is the second annual touring program of the best new films from the Czech Republic, presented by The Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles and Staropramen . The series is organized and curated by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and will take place at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood.
We interviewed Mr. Michal Sedláček, Consul General of the Czech Republic about the “Czech That Film” International Film Festival, LA.
Mr. Sedláček has been working as a diplomat since 1993, and he is also an artist. Mr. Sedláček had his education in several fields, but in the field of art he has received a M.F.A. Degree from Colombia University’s School of the Arts, Film Department. He has also attended the world famous FAMU Film School in Prague between 1986 – 1988 for a screenplay writing course. Mr. Sedláček has made a few short films and his work has received award nominations in several film festivals.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about the 2013 Czech Film Festival and what will be new this year compared to the first year.
Michal Sedlacek: What is new is this year we started cooperating with UCLA as our partner organisation in Los Angeles. So we moved the venue from Cinefamily to the Billy Wilder Theatre. The selection of the films was made by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
BT: It means the theatre can hold more audience than last year.
MS: Absolutely. The theatre is quite large, it holds about 300 seats.
BT: The films shown are representing recent cinema from the Czech Republic. Most are 2012 films?
MS: Yes, most of them are from 2012. I think there is one film from 2011. Basically, most of the filmsare winners of the Czech film Oscars from 2011 and 2012.
BT: Will there be any US premieres among these films?
MS: I believe so. I believe Polski Film is a US premiere, , but none of these films have really played for public in Los Angeles.
BT: When does the festival start, how many days will it last and what are the screening times?
MS: The films screen at 7:30pm. The festival begins May 10th with the best film of 2011, Flower Buds, with director Zdeněk Jiráský in person, answering questions after the screening. The other days are May 11th, May 16th, May 20th and the conclusion on June 3rd with a film called In The Shadow, again with the director David Ondříček in person for a Q&A.
BT: I know there has been some collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute as well. Please tell us more.
MS: We are going to host the after-party for everyone who attends the opening night at the Italian Cultural Institute.
BT: How many of the directors will be here in Los Angeles?
MS: Two directors, Mr. Jiráský and Mr. Ondříček, director of In The Shadow. He was selected by Variety as one of the top ten directors to watch for this year.
BT: How can people come see the films?
MS: They can buy the tickets at the theatre box office or through the UCLA Film and TV Archive itself.
BT: Who have been the sponsors of the festival this year?
MS: The main sponsor of the festival is a Czech beer company called Staropramen. It’s one of the largest beer companies in the Czech Republic; as you will know, Czech beer is the best in the world. The other sponsors are ELMA (European Languages and Movies in America), a Czech-American shipping company called Shipito, which ships overseas. Then, we have Milk & Honey production studio, which helps American film studios shoot films in the Czech Republic, and Czech Tourism, which is an agency for Americans who want to travel to the Czech Republic.
BT: Are there any films the audience should not miss?
MS: I think all the films of course are worth seeing so it’s difficult for me to say you shouldn’t miss this or that film. But I would definitely take advantage of the opening and closing nights when the directors are available for Q&As.