Czech filmmaker given honorary doctorate

Svankmajer won best pic at 2002 Lion awards

PRAGUE — Pomp and circumstances abounded when multi-talented filmmaker Jan Svankmajer received an honorary doctorate from Prague’s Fine Arts Faculty May 16.

Michal Bregant, the enthusiastic young dean of Prague’s renowned FAMU film school, recounted Svankmajer’s career highlights as he evolved from puppeteer to animator to surrealist film auteur. His most recent achievement, “Little Otik,” combined all three elements to earn a surprise best film prize at last year’s Czech Lion awards.

The prestigious honor, previously bestowed upon a small coterie of internationally acclaimed artists, including playwright (and recently retired Czech president) Vaclav Havel, Oscar-winning helmer Milos Forman and choreographer Jiri Kylian, was presented in the Baroque surroundings of Lichtenstein Palace.

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