A Chat With Filip Remunda...
With a grandfather who was an actor and a father a director, it was no wonder that director Filip Remunda would follow in their footsteps. Greatly influenced by the Czech new wave - and in particular the work of documentary filmmaker Karel Vachek - Remunda has churned out his own brand of films. He has a quick chat to FilmExposed's Matt Kopinski about his latest film, co-directed with Vít Klúsak CZECH DREAM...
How was Czech Dream received by the Czech people?
We did not have a good relationship after the film with the marketing people featured in the film. They did not like the way we showed the marketing side of things, they thought it was too negative. But, we had said to them in the contract that it was a documentary, and they did not realise we would show the negative as well as the positive side of things in the marketing world. Do you remember the fisherman at the end of the film? He did not like it at all that he had been fooled by the supermarket, but when he saw the film he understood what we were trying to do, and liked it. We had twelve prints out in Czech republic and more people went to see it than Bowling For Columbine, 40,000 compared to 15,000 if you like, but we do not have the same audience monitoring there as you do here, so it is difficult to tell how many people saw it overall. We also sold it to Slovakia, and the people there liked it because it was a joke on the Czech people, and we like to make fun between the countries of each other.
In Czech Dream there was a lot of talk about the campaign linked to the vote on whether to join the EU. Why was that so prevalent, and was it good for the film?
The marketing company that helped in the film was also running the campaign for the government at the same time on the issue of joining the EU. It was also a surreal campaign, like ours, with weird posters saying ‘Welcome to the Community’ with a fisherman from Portugal with his hands wide open, or a German in traditional costume or a milk maid from Switzerland, truly bizarre. That is why we got caught up in the discussion, as the marketing campaigns were so similar, that many people associated the film with the question of entering Europe. It was good for the film as it kept it in the public eye and there was a lot of discussion about it. However, we are in the process of suing the Civil Democratic Party, (Conservative) for stealing our graphic design. They used the same layout for their anti-Europe campaign and attached a lot of negative PR to the film.
What was the whole process of making the film like, especially as you had to keep it under wraps until the end?
It was like being at war to be honest. There was fear every day that the secret would be broken. Two newspapers published articles about the campaign when it was up and running, telling everyone to ignore it and that it was a joke. So, we employed a pr agency, who carefully read through the articles and found the smallest things that were wrong, so that they could write to the papers to refute the allegations. Overall, it was six months filming and one year post production for the whole film. This was because we had over 80 hours of film to cut down to one and a half. We used 8 cameras and initially cut the footage down to sixteen hours! It is the most expensive documentary film made in the Czech republic.