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Czech films set for banner year

2008 set to be a boom year

Despite complaints about the unreliability of Czech state film funding, 2008 will be a boom year, with 32 locally made features expected to hit cinemas.

That’s more than at any time since the 1989 Velvet Revolution and nearly double last year’s 18 pics. The bounty is due mainly to a special subsidy of 100 million crowns ($5.6 million) from the government.

Pubcaster Czech TV, generally the second-most important source, is kicking in $8 million.

Station is backing 11 of the expected 32 pics, including Juraj Jakubisko’s Gothic romancer “Bathory,” Czech TV’s Ladislav Sticha told the local press.

Gas company RWE is also stepping up with $1.4 million, and terrestrial TV Nova is backing more pics, including a behind-the-scenes docu on former playwright president Vaclav Havel, “Citizen Havel.”

The high-water mark for Czech film was 2002, with 22 pics released, while 1998 and 2003 tied for leanest years with just 15.

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