×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HBO Europe Unveils Mini ‘Wasteland,’ Docs at Karlovy Vary

Czech miniseries ‘Wasteland’ screens to a packed house at fest

HBO Europe is rolling out a slate of original docus, a feature and an original Czech thriller mini-series at the Karlovy Vary fest, where it screened the first two episodes of its flagship “Wasteland” to a packed house Tuesday.

The eight-episode political intrigue, set amid the blighted coal fields along the Czech-Polish border, involves a host of top Prague talent, from directors Ivan Zacharias and Alice Nellis to a cast featuring Zuzana Stivinova, Jaroslav Dusek, Eva Holubova and Petra Spalkova.

Stivinova (“Faithless Games”) plays the deeply conflicted mayor of a town whose buildings are being razed by a powerful coal company to open up new strip mining pits. The disappearance of her daughter deepens divides among the townfolk – but there’s more to things than an effort to silence her political opposition in the nuanced script by Stepan Hulik, who penned “Burning Bush” in 2013.

That mini-series, HBO Europe’s first major original Czech outing built on local talent speaking their native tongue, focused on the aftermath of a real-life suicide protest to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Prague in 1968 and won audience and critical praise, sweeping the Czech Lions and screening at U.S. fests with rights there sold to Kino Lorber.

The cabler is dedicated to building on the approach, having announced original content for HBO Nordic this year at the Berlinale fest, which expands the approach beyond its four Central and Eastern European territories, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Hungary. Several such ventures already fill out its catalog, including the original Polish thriller Wataha” (The Pack) and crime series “Umbre” in Romania – an adaptation of Australia’s “Small Time Gangster” –  and another is planned for fall in that country, Valea Muta” (Silent Valley).

The remaining six episodes of “Wasteland” will begin to air in October, following their premiere at the Hotel Thermal Great Hall in Karlovy Vary. The screening marked the first time the film fest, now in its 51st edition, has hosted a small-screen work in its main cinema hall.

Zacharias, until now a director of commercials for top international brands, said “Wasteland” represents a new level of creative freedom and audiences responded warmly to their first look at the grim atmosphere of the noir-ish tale. HBO Europe executive VP of original programming and production Antony Root said that’s no accident, adding that the company’s reputation for respecting filmmaker’s visions draws serious talent to their development program.

At Karlovy Vary, HBO Europe is also screening its Slovak docu “5 October,” following director Martin Kollar’s brother as he faces a life-threatening operation, Czech docu “FC Roma,” about racism in soccer; “Houston, We Have a Problem,” an ironic Slovene-Croatian-German-Czech-Qatari look at a secret Yugoslav space program; and psychological horror “Noonday Witch.”

More Film

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe's The Lighthouse' Wins Cannes Critics' Award

    Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, won the Cannes Film Festival critics’ award for best first or second feature in Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, one of the first prizes for which “The Lighthouse” has been eligible at Cannes. The award was announced Saturday in Cannes by the Intl. Federation of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content