Czech director attacks ‘monopoly’

Olmer complains of 'mafia' decision-making

Just as the scandal over high-ranking execs at Czech TV with histories as Communist Party agents has quieted, a veteran helmer has stirred up a new controversy, charging the pubcaster with waste and “Mafia” decision-making.

Vit Olmer, a 64-year-old scribe, thesp and director of 29 films including 1991’s “Tank Battalion,” has said in the Czech press that finishing productions at the station, a major funder of Czech film, was less complicated under communism than now. The reason: A handful of station execs, in particular head of original drama Ivan Hubac and head of children’s programming Katerina Krejci, have a monopoly over production, charges Olmer.

A small klatch of powerful writers, meanwhile, get the lion’s share of scripts, sometimes using pseudonyms to cover that fact, and key actors such as Miroslav Donutil have de facto greenlight power, Olmer said in an interview in the Czech weekly Reflex.

Disappearing equipment and custom-made costumes also are rampant problems, costing the state untold coin, says the helmer, who has been unable to get Czech TV approval for his own projects for some time.

The pubcaster, which runs the Czech Republic’s two noncommercial channels, has denied Olmer’s claims, calling them “nonsense” and is suing, demanding an apology and a symbolic penalty of 100,000 Czech crowns ($4,789).

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