Czech Republic/Latvia co-production “The Pack” is at Busan’s Asian Project Market seeking the remainder of its $1.4 million budget, having raised more than $400,000 already.
The film will follow a 16-year-old diabetic ice hockey player who deals with bullying on the team. Director Tomas Polensky, who has shot a six-minute pilot for the film, has personal experience of the sport. His sister, Alana Polenska, is the captain of the Czech national woman’s ice hockey team, and Polensky has been an ice hockey player for 16 years. “I know the environment well,” Polensky told Variety.
“I experienced bullying from both sides, from the position of the victim and the position of the aggressor, so I thought it would be interesting to talk about it and make a movie about it,” says Polensky. “I love to study psychology and the main question is what makes us being aggressive and I wanted to deal with this question.” The film’s protagonist takes revenge for being bullied and experiences regret for his own aggression.
Polensky’s debut is the nearly complete documentary “Instrument of War,” another film about aggression that deals with the psychology of a soldier. Polensky asked a Czech veteran of the Afghan war to teach him how to be a soldier, and documented the experience.
There has been a surge of interest in “The Pack,” thanks to the pilot. “We are happy that the pilot seems to work,” says co-producer Julietta Sichel. The team has had several meetings with Asian and European financiers. “It seems to be working for everyone, no matter where you come from. The film is targeted at the youth. There are so many films where the protagonist is a teenager but the film is for adults. We really want young people to watch the film – they should be the main audience. Of course their parents should come along!”
“Latvia came in because of the underlying platform, the ice hockey sport,” says co-producer Jan Fronek. Sichel’s frequent collaborators in Latvia took a shine to the idea. “It’s a really international idea,” says Fronek.
Because of the sport’s popularity in North America, Fronek hopes to break into that market with “The Pack..
Polensky also has psychological drama “Too Close” in the works.
Principal photography for “The Pack” is set for early 2019. The project has development support from the Czech Cinema Fund, production support from the Zlin County regional Fund, minority co-production support from the National Film Center of Latvia and partnerships with Bontonfilm, MagicLab, Sleepwalker and Invelt.
The film is being produced by 8Heads Prods., EgoMedia and Moss & Roy.