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Czech cinematography will be represented at the Oscars by the film Fair Play

Thursday, 18th September, 2014

The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) decided by taking a vote about the Czech candidate for the nominations for the Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. Among the films of this year the winner is the film Fair Play directed by Andrea Sedláčková and it will represent Czech cinematography at the 87th awards of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It is a film about a nineteen-year old sprinter who gets involved in the state-controlled doping programme during the era of normalization in Czechoslovakia. The film was produced in the company NEGATIV by Kateřina Černá and Pavel Strnad and several days ago it was also long listed for the European Film Awards.

From 1st to 17th September the CFTA academics were choosing out of the 47 Czech films and documentary features the most interesting one that will represent the Czech Republic in the competition for the Oscars. Among the other highly valued films there was the film Cesta ven (The Way Out) directed by Petr Václav or the film debut by Miroslav Krobot called Díra u Hanušovic (Nowhere in Moravia). The first position belongs to the film called Fair Play that takes place in the 80’s of the last century. The film tells the story of a young athlete Anna (Judit Bárdos), whose mother (Anna Geislerová) and coach (Roman Luknár) hope that she will meet the requirements and qualify to the Olympics. Without knowing it she was being administered anabolic steroids. Her sport performance is getting better but the first health problems come along. Anna learns the truth about the preparations and despite the fact that it can damage her chances to take part in the Olympics she decides to train without them. However, her mother hopes that Anna will emigrate when at the Olympics and she decides to administer the anabolic steroids to her daughter secretly, pretending that they are harmless vitamins.

The director as well as the script writer of the film Andrea Sedláčková studied screenwriting at FAMU in Prague and in the autumn of 1989 she emigrated to Paris where she studied film direction and editing at the film school FEMIS. In 2000 she made her first feature film called Oběti a vrazi (Victims and Murderers), she was the director of the film and she also wrote the screenplay. In France she worked as a film editor on many feature films, e.g. the drama Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël) that was nominated for the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film. At the moment she is finishing a documentary The Life According to Václav Havel for the ARTE television and Czech Television.

“I feel a bit as if I‘ve just qualified for the Olympics! I am immensely happy for everybody who has worked on the film, especially for Judit Bárdos and Anna Geislerová, who made the film as it is. Our film tells the story of a sprinter but the preparation and shooting of the film was rather a marathon, a long distance run. Four years passed between the moment when I read a newspaper article about the state-controlled doping in Czechoslovak communist sport and the shooting itself. During those years I wrote nineteen versions of the screenplay and the producers from Negativ were taking care of the finances.  Then the shooting of the film was a sport performance for everybody,” says the director of the film Andrea Sedláčková.

The awards of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are considered to be the most prestigious awards in the area of film. The nominations for the Oscars will be announced on 15th January 2015 and the ceremony will take place on 22nd February 2015 in Los Angeles. 

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