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Documentary about blockade of neo-Nazi march in Brno, Czech Republic premieres next month

Brno, 24.5.2011 15:43, (ROMEA)

Less than a month after the nonviolent blockade of a neo-Nazi march through the South Moravian metropolis of Brno, the editing is being completed on a documentary film fittingly entitled "Film Like Brno" (Film jako Brno). The hyperbole of the title indicates the perspective taken by the team of six first-year students from the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) and their instructor, documentary filmmaker Vít Klusák ("Český sen" - "Czech Dream", "Český mír" - "Czech Peace", "Vše pro dobro světa" - "Everything for the Good of the World" and "Nošovic"), who decided to view their subject with humor and on a large scale - from all perspectives, including those who didn't participate. News server Romea.cz interviewed Mr Klusák about the project.

Q: Last Tuesday you first saw a draft edit of the film about the blockade in Brno that you made with your students. What is your first impression?

A: I am happy with it, even though we all agreed that most of the students will go back to the editing room and continue work on their 10-minute sequences. Right now it's good to see that we succeeded in mapping the 1 May events and interpreting them more carefully and deeply than reporters often succeed in doing. In the name of "objectivity", reporters can't express their own opinions, they have much less time for their reporting, and the format doesn't permit them to create a screenplay. What is interesting is that most of our mini-films are rather funny, which might not seem to suit the topic of a neo-fascist march at first glance, but I believe humor is one of only a few possible responses to something so idiotic as flirting with Hitler.

Q: How many people contributed to making the film and how did the idea to film the blockade come about?

A: The film, which will probably keep the name "Film Like Brno", was created with my first-year students as part of a workshop in the Documentary Department at FAMU. It was one of them - Robin Kvapil - who had the idea to film something about the fermentation in Brno on 1 May. We then wove the concept together: Each person chose one of the "barricades" of this conflict and I chose a topic as well. The resulting film will have seven chapters representing the participants: The blockaders, the journalists, the neo-fascists, the police officers, the politicians, the Roma, and visitors to the Brno Zoo - which may be surprising, but it seemed correct to us to represent people (and animals) who did not participate in these events or witness them.

The camera and sound were done by FAMU students. We also reached out to the Film Studies department at Masaryk University in Brno and the unbelievable number of 27 students signed up to help, they were our irreplaceable assistants. Without them, most of us from Prague would have quickly gotten lost in Brno. Altogether that unpaid, volunteer staff included 52 people. We borrowed some of the cameras from the school and the rest were supplied by Hypermarket Film, the production company I founded with Filip Remunda. Great thanks are due to the "Hus na Provázku" Theater, which accommodated us for free.

Q: Looking back, how do you view the image of the Brno blockade presented by the Czech media?

A: So obtuse as to be ghastly, and as a result Czech Television took up a malevolent position toward that event in its news reporting on 1 May, or rather, the person responsible for that distorted malevolence is most probably the main editor, Luboš Rosí. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that infamous report. I consider his commentary that the police had to "separate the groups to keep them from fighting" as an example of a pure lack of journalistic professionalism. It can only be the result of a malevolent intention to damage the people who were not indifferent and who courageously stood in the way of the neo-Nazis. The height of the paradox is that Mr Rosí was probably not even in Brno on 1 May, he probably put the report together in Prague without any personal experience of what that day was like on the streets of Brno. Long-distance journalism.

Your question is even more interesting for me because in the film I did with the students I personally did the "Journalists" chapter, and during that day I followed the reporting team from Slovak Television TA3. I don't want to give too much away, but what I filmed is much more substantial than what Mr Rosí put together in Prague.

Q: When can we look forward to the premiere?

A: We are planning to hold the premier in Brno on Thursday, 23 June at the Art cinema at 19:00. The filmmakers will participate and there will be a discussion after the screening. We will then hold a similar event with a debate in Prague too, right now we are negotiating that with the Světozor cinema.

Gwendolyn Albert, Kateřina Čopjaková, Kateřina Čopjaková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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