Romeo and Juliet, one of the best known theater plays of all time, has been staged, restaged, and reinvented countless times. Yet, the Golden Prague jury deemed a rendition created by Director Simon Godwin impressive to an extent deserving the award of the Grand Prix. Other awardees of the 58th edition of the international television festival include a recording of the Czech Philharmonic's concert featuring Jakub Hrůša and Lisa Batiashvili and the Polish documentary Agonia. This year's EBU – IMZ Outstanding Achievement Award was bestowed on American theater director Peter Sellars. The awards ceremony was held at the New Stage of the National Theater in Prague on Saturday 25 September.
"This year's season has sent a clear signal that not even empty theaters with no spectators will prevent artists, both at home and abroad, from creating outstanding productions that bring genuine, live art to people's home thanks to television broadcasts, despite the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," explains Tomáš Motl, Golden Prague Director and Executive Director of the ČT Art Channel. "In addition, and perhaps more importantly, this edition of the festival has brought hope that the worst is now behind us. Thanks to the festival and Czech Television, producers and creators from the world over were able to meet in person following a two-year hiatus, which means that Golden Prague will forever remain as a symbol of a new beginning."
In the jury's view, the winning film, Romeo and Juliet, is a modern, dramatic, and powerful rendition of Shakespeare's classic, staged with extraordinary attention to detail and featuring unconventional costume designs and outstanding performances by the protagonists. Chaired by British television director Brian Large, the five-member jury praised the production particularly for outstanding scenes filmed by handheld camera, which provide the spectator with powerful, dramatic imagery depicting striking beauty.
Apart from the Grand Prix, the jury handed out the Czech Crystal Awards. One of them went to Poland for Agonia, a documentary portraying folk music as a vehicle interconnecting past and present generations. Another Czech Crystal was awarded to Austrian creators for The Fiery Angel, a production featuring music composed by Serge Prokofiev as well as captivating modern staging that can be frightening and at the same time moving, owing to its musical, dramatic intensity.
This year's EBU – IMZ Oustanding Achievement Award was bestowed on opera, theater, and festival director Peter Sellars, to whom IMZ President Arild Erikstad refers to as "one of the most outstanding and influential artists of our time". The Dying Swans Project produced by the 3sat public television channel received two awards – the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Award and a Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement. Another production that was awarded a Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement is the opera White Rose, mainly thanks to extraordinary visualizations created specifically for the needs of television broadcasting. The Czech Television Prize was awarded to Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari, a film that maps an arduous journey undertaken by the Dutch virtuoso in recording an album featuring 12 of the world's most valuable Stradivari violins.
On Monday 27 September 2021 at 8:15 p.m., the ČT Art culture channel will broadcast this year's Czech Crystal awardee in the Stage Work Recording category – Spring Stars of the Czech Philharmonic III with Jakub Hrůša and Lisa Batiashvili. More of the awarded films will be broadcast in the course of the upcoming months.
List of Awarded Entries:
· Grand Prix // Romeo and Juliet (United Kingdom; Director: Simon Godwin)
· Czech Crystal – Recordings of Concert Performances (recordings of symphonic and orchestral performances, chamber music concerts, recitals, etc.) // Spring Stars of the Czech Philharmonic III with Jakub Hrůša and Lisa Batiashvili (Czechia; Director: Michael Beyer)
· Czech Crystal – Documentary Programs Dedicated to Music, Dance, and Theater // Agonia (Poland; Director: Tomasz Knittel)
· Czech Crystal – Recordings of Stage Works (recordings of operas, operettas, musicals, dance, ballet, theater performances, etc.) // The Fiery Angel (Austria; Director: Tiziano Mancini, Stage Director: Andrea Breth)
· Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement // The Dying Swans Project (Germany; Director: Eric Gauthier)
· Special Mention for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement // White Rose (Germany; Director: David Bösch)
· EBU and IMZ Lifetime Achievement Award // Peter Sellars (USA)
· Czech Television Prize // Janine Jansen: Falling for Stradivari (United Kingdom; Director: Gerald Fox)
· Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE 97 Award // The Dying Swans Project (Germany; Director: Eric Gauthier)