Who are the 2019 Golden Prague Festival winners?
Film: The Dying Swan (n. 23)
Country: United Kingdom
Directed by: Glen Milner
Camera: Glen Milner, Arun Taylor
Duration: 29 min.
A Prize Giver: Kateřina Kalistová, Deputy Minister for the Department of lively arts of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Jonas Hermansson, chairman of the Jury
A Prize Receiver: Russell Barnes, producer and Glen Milner, director of the piece
Synopsis: Using the lyrical and elegant metaphor of a ballet classic about death, this film explores how a dancer fights age, the deterioration of the body over time and fear of retirement. Former Royal Ballet principal, 44-year-old Zenaida Yanowsky, plans to overcome knee surgery and bring her body back to fitness so she can perform a swansong, one of ballet’s best-known of solos, The Dying Swan. Created in partnership with leading dance house, Sadler’s Wells, this film was broadcast by the BBC in 2018.
Motivation of the Jury: With pure narration director Glen Milner manages to give a rare insight into the inner life of ballerina Zenaida Yanowsky. “The Dying Swan” is an intimate portrait of an artist in an emotional situation. With little means but high effect the documentary delivers a strong and touching story.
Czech Crystal – Documentary programmes dedicated to music, dance and theatre
Film: The Unanswered Ives (n. 59)
Producer: Accentus Music GmbH
Directed by: Anne- Kathrin Peitz
Camera: Mitja Hagelueken
Duration: 53 min
A Prize Giver: Jan Burian, General Director of the National Theatre
A Prize Receiver: Paul Smaczny, Accentus Music GmbH and Anne- Kathrin Peitz, director
Synopsis: Charles Ives is the most famous “weekend composer” of musical history and is regarded today as the first composer of the modern age in America. The Unanswered Ives is the first film about Charles Ives and a profound exploration of an extraordinary, multi-faceted personality. It sheds a light on Ives' life and work in all their facets and explores his musical world with performances in churches, concert halls, out in the open air or in a circus.
Motivation of the Jury: Beautifully shot, the documentary gives a convincing answer to the question of who Charles Ives was. The must- see performance recordings correspond to Ives composition techniques. The viewer gets a well-balanced portrait of a unique American composer.
Czech Crystal - Recordings of concert performance
(Recordings of symphonic and orchestral performances, chamber music, recital, etc.)
Film: Summer Night Concert 2018 (n. 61)
Producer: Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF Österreichischer Rundfunk
Co-production: ORF, Vienna Philharmonic
Directed by: Michael Beyer
Duration: 75 min
A Prize Giver: Hana Třeštíková, Prague City Councilor for Culture
A Prize Receiver: Stephanie Holzschuster, ORF
Synopsis: The 2018 Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn took place at the magnificent gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and was conducted by Valery Gergiev. The Vienna Philharmonic were joined by Russian superstar soprano Anna Netrebko performing some of her favourite arias including Puccini's Vissi d'arte and O mio babbino caro. With this free concert in a public place, the orchestra pursues a specific cultural objective: making classical music accessible to a broad spectrum of listeners.
Motivation of the Jury: A great example for making classical music approachable to a broader audience. The technical challenge of such a large-dimensioned live broadcast is solved smartly. The programme manages to capture both the excellent musical performance on stage and the unique atmosphere at Schloss Schoenbrunn.
Czech Crystal – Recordings of stage work
(Recordings of operas, operettas, musicals, dance, ballets, theater performances, etc.)
Film: Play at Garnier (n. 13)
Co-production: Opéra national de Paris, Bel Air Media
Directed by: Tommy Pascal
Camera: T.M. Rives
Duration: 105 min
A Prize Giver: Per Boye Hansen, Artistic Director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera
A Prize Receiver: Ditte Feuk, SVT
Synopsis: A sparkling personality on the contemporary dance scene, choreographer Alexander Ekman trained at the Swedish Royal Ballet and has danced with the Nederlands Dans Theater and the Ballet Cullberg before turning to choreography. His language, both visceral and tinged with humour, combines theatricality and classical and contemporary vocabulary alike. Best known for the spectacular quality of his pieces with their dreamlike imagery, with metallic structures, dancers suspended in space, elevations.
Motivation of the Jury: Tommy Pascal’s stylish and playful recording captures this complex dance performance in a way that gives viewers a unique experience. This TV recording emphasized the creativity of choreographer Alexander Ekman and the dancer’s joy on the stage.
Czech Television Prize
Film: The Men´s Room (n. 55)
Directed by: Petter Sommer, Jo Vemund Svendsen
Camera: Petter Sommer, Jo Vemund Svendsen
Duration: 52 min
A Prize Giver: Tomáš Motl, Director of Golden Prague , Executive Director of CT art
A Prize Receiver: Gudmundur Gunnarsson, Fuglene, Kari Anne Moe (producer)
Synopsis: Every Tuesday 25 tattooed middle-aged men take a break from their everyday lives to meet and drink beer, tell bad jokes and sing dirty rock songs. The guys have even promised to sing in each other’s funerals – a joke of course, it has never occurred to them that it’s going to happen. But one day, when one of them confides he’s got little time left to live, they realize that life is fragile and that none of them are immortal.
Motivation of the Jury: A powerful and raw documentary portrait of a men´s choir, where underneath a mask of hard faces, black humor and a tough vocabulary sensitive souls and close friendships are hidden. An emotionally strong film which does not blackmail the audience although the approaching and unstoppable end of the choir master upsets even the toughest singers.
Special Mention for extraordinary Artistic Achievement
Film: Mack the Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film (n. 31)
Režie: Joachim A. Lang
Kamera: David Slama
Stopáž: 119 min
A Prize Giver: Jiří Nekvasil, Director of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Opera and film director and Frank Gerdes, Head of cultural department at ServusTV, IMZ Vice-President, both members of the Jury
A Prize Receiver: Joachim A. Lang, director of the piece
Synopsis: Following the phenomenal worldwide success of The Threepenny Opera in 1928 in Berlin, cinema is trying to win over the author of the piece. But Bertolt Brecht is not willing to play by the film industry’s rules. His vision for the Threepenny Film is radical. He wants to make a completely new kind of film and knows that the production company is only interested in cashing in. The film version begins to take shape in front of the author’s eyes. Brecht takes the production company to court.
Motivation of the Jury: A bold cinematic interpretation of Brecht’s “Threepenny Opera”. Together with the original background story and the overflowing playfulness of the star ensemble “Mack the Knife” offers an entertaining approach to this master piece.
EBU and IMZ Life Achievement Award
A Prize Receiver: producers Anca-Monica Pandelea and Gabrielle Babin Gugenheim
A Prize Giver: (For IMZ) Yasuko Kobayashi, Senior Producer at NHK, IMZ Vice-President, a (For EBU) Ekaterina Orlova, Head of Foreign Projects International Relations at RTR, both members of the Jury
Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Award
Film: Jiří Bělohlávek: „But I just love conducting so much…“ (n.39)
Producer: Czech Philharmonic
Co producer: Czech Television
Country: Czech Republic
Directed by: Roman Vávra
Camera: Miroslav Janek
Duration: 102 min
A Prize Giver: Jakub Doležal (representative of Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation VIZE 97)
A Prize Receiver: David Mareček (CEO of the Czech Philharmonic), Roman Vávra (Director), Anna Fejérová (Jiří Bělohlávek‘s wife), Miroslav Janek (Camera), Vítězslav Sýkora (Creative Producer, Czech Television - Co Producer)
Synopsis: A documentary filmed by the director Roman Vávra as an intimate portrait of the conductor Jiří Bělohlávek depicts the last two years of the maestro’s life. Against a backdrop of rehearsals, concerts, interviews and thoughts, the film tells the story about Jiří Bělohlávek’s fateful relationship with the Czech Philharmonic and bears witness to the lifelong passion for and dedication to music and his profession that were so characteristic of Jiří Bělohlávek until the final days of his life.