Two FAMU graduates’ films selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival
Prague/Cannes – The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled another part of its official programme. Two films from FAMU will represent the Czech Republic in La Cinef, the festival’s competition section formerly known as Cinéfondation: Daria Kashcheeva’s much anticipated Electra, produced by Zuzana Křivková and Martin Vandas of MAUR film as a Czech-Slovak-French co-production project involving FAMU, Artichoke, and Papy3D; and director Petr Pylypčuk’s Eighth Day, a short drama produced by Kryštof Burda and Tomáš Pertold of Perfilm and co-produced by FAMU and Czech TV. The participation of FAMU’s films in this year’s edition of the festival is an extraordinary achievement: the jury rarely selects two films from the same country, much less the same film school, for the most prestigious student film competition.
Daria Kashcheeva, a master’s programme student of FAMU’s Department of Animated Film, made her mark in the world of animated film with Daughter. An intimate short story of the relationship between a daughter and her father has amassed dozens of awards at international festivals, including winning a Student Oscar and being shortlisted for the Academy Awards’ main competition. For her thesis film, the director drew inspiration from Greek mythology, taking the character of Electra to the modern era with her original vision. The film’s heroine is attempting to define herself in relation to her mother and understand her mixed emotions towards her father. Over time, she becomes isolated in her own world and develops a relationship with her own body and sexuality. “My narrative structure was inspired by the course of psychotherapy. During the sessions, clients ‘dance’ around their memories of a traumatic experience. They jump from the past to the present, and images and memories transform. Combining the pixilation animation technique with real acting has allowed me to fine-tune the story’s fabric,” explains Daria Kashcheeva. It was thanks to the success of her previous film, Daughter, that the making of her graduation film Electra turned into a Czech-Slovak-French co-production project. The final cut has 26 minutes – an unusual footage for an animated short. “The majority of shooting took part in the main room of FAMU Studio in Klimentská over the course of 95 filming days,” adds Zuzana Křivková of MAUR film, a Czech production firm and the film’s chief producer. “The extensive international co-operation gave us benefits such as, for example, being able to procure sophisticated life-size animation puppets in the style of Barbie dolls in France, and have our Slovak co-producer, Artichoke take care of the full range of image post-production tasks,” says producer Martin Vandas. Cannes will see Electra’s festival premiere in May. The film achieved a major feat this March, being selected for the main competition of animated cinema’s most prestigious festival in Annecy whose student section will also feature Dede is Dead, an animated short by Philippe Kastner, and Carp Xmass by Anna Heribanová, both made at FAMU.
A graduation feature film, Eighth Day deals with the topic of growing up in the environment of a radical religious sect. Inspired by the director’s personal experience, the film tells the story of adolescent Anna who decides to escape the religious community along with her peer Josef and face life’s challenges outside its limits. “It is a story of the clash between free will and ideological indoctrination, to which children are exposed while growing up in this toxic patriarchal environment,” explains Petr Pylypčuk. “Eighth Day covers the topics of domestic violence, distorted relationships, sexuality, and individuality,” adds the director for whom the topics are crucial throughout his work. “To us, the cast is the key to the film. The characters of Anna and Josef are played by non-actors whom we selected in extensive auditions from among more than 100 candidates from all over the Czech Republic,” adds producer Kryštof Burda. Eighth Day will premiere globally at Cannes. This is the first film coming from FAMU’s Department of Directing to be featured at the festival in eight years.
“The work of FAMU students is largely innovative, courageous, powerful in topics, and pioneering aesthetically. I am proud of the fact that these two films and a major project in development, unique in both style and content, will represent our school at the world’s most prestigious film festival. I am happy for our students, as this gives them an opportunity to receive diverse feedback from the global cinema community, and also because all the world can see how extraordinary FAMU’s output is,” says Dean of FAMU Andrea Slováková who considers live contact with the global cinema a key element in modern audiovisual education.
This year, FAMU will also present a non-competition project in Cannes as part of the Cannes Focus Script programme for projects in development – Gone by Polish director Piotr Jasiński from FAMU International. The programme offers up-and-coming filmmakers an opportunity to discuss scripts in development with leading film professionals who come to visit the festival.
This year’s achievements are not the first that FAMU students have scored at Cannes. Anna Podskalská’s Red Shoes were selected to represent FAMU in the Cinéfondation section in 2021; in previous years, One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand by Ondřej Erban (2019), contestants also included Retriever by Tomáš Klein and Tomáš Merta (2015), Pandas by Matúš Vizár (2013), Tambylles by Michal Hogenauer (2012), and Cagey Tigers directed by the late Aramisova (2011). Bába, bachelor’s graduation feature film by Zuzana Kirchnerová, won the Cinéfondation section in 2009. La Cinef winners get an opportunity to present their films at L’Atelier Cannes, which alerts industry professionals to promising projects and gives filmmakers an opportunity to reach international distribution. In 2008, Naus by Lukáš Glaser competed in Cinéfondation. The last time FAMU had two films in this prestigious competition was in 2005, namely Slávek the Shit by Icelandic director Grímur Hakonarson, and Conscience by Jan Bohuslav.
About the films:
Screenplay, director – Daria Kashcheeva
Dramaturgy – Michal Reich, Lucia Kajánková
Cinematography – Tomáš Frkal
Sound design – Miroslav Chaloupka
Music – Lucas Verreman
Editing – Alexander Kashcheev
Starring – Zuzana Částková, Marie Verner, Zuzana Stivínová, Robert Jašków
Producer – Zuzana Křivková, Martin Vandas (MAUR film)
Co-producers – Tomáš Šimon FAMU (CZ), Olivier Catherin (FR), Richard Van Den Boom (Papy3D, FR), Juraj Krasnohorsky (Artichoke, SK)
Footage – 25 minutes
Trailer - https://vimeo.com/817174796
Download the press kit here.
Financially supported by the Czech Film Fund, Plzeň Region, FILMTALENT ZLÍN Endowment Fund, ARTE France, Pictanovo, images in Hauts-de-France Hauts-de-France region, Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, Procirep and Angoa, and Audiovizuálny fond Slovakia.
Screenplay, director – Petr Pylypčuk
Cinematography – Helena Fikerová
Editing – Timotej Rajniš
Sound design – Klára Ondračková
Set design – Matěj Sýkora
Starring – Caroline Barnard, Jan Pokorný, Jan Teplý Jr., Kristýna Badinková Nováková, Pavla Janiššová
Producer – Kryštof Burda, Tomáš Pertold (Perfilm)
Co-producers – FAMU, Czech TV
Footage – 20 minutes
Trailer - https://vimeo.com/818268579/a16598cbca
Financially supported by the Czech Film Fund and the Karlovy Vary Region