The Czech Lion was "tamed" again

An interview with the executive director of the Czech Film and Television Academy Tereza Rychnovska inviting you behind the official scene for a discussion about the importance and the (in)visible changes of the most prestigous Czech film award.

2 + 1 = 21. Although the figures may seem strange at first glance, they actually represent a simple equation celebrating the 21st edition of the Czech Lion Awards. In the week from February 17 to 23, portal offers 2 nominated documentaries President Wanted and Crooks for free and 1 exclusive interview with executive director of the Czech and Television Academy Tereza Rychnovská. All you have to do is combine 2 remarkable documentaries and 1 look behind the scenes to get a special film programme on the occasion of the 21st evening dedicated to the Czech Lions!

We are sorry, but the films are available only for Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Having attracted the attention of both local experts and the widest public in the past twenty years, the Czech Lion Awardshave entered their third decade in the spirit of radical change. After years of collaboration, producer Petr Vachler; who has been perceived as the representative figure of the award by film audiences, no matter how controversial a one; has parted with the project. The 21st edition thus presents a face-lifted version of the award ceremony. The most noticeable change is that of abandoning the award’s traditional venue of Prague’s Lucerna Hall. On Saturday, February 22, the Czech Lions will rush to their new owners in the Dvořák Hall of Prague’s Rudolfinum, with Marek Eben as the host. Nevertheless, how was the Czech Lion “tamed” again? How does one tame a hundred academics evaluating the film harvest of the past year? The team has discussed the changes, the inner workings of the award as well as its significance with executive director of the Czech Film and Television Academy Tereza Rychnovská.

The Czech Lion Awards have been perceived by the media as the most significant film award in the Czech Republic in the long term. What significance, in your opinion, does the award have for film experts?

We believe that the members of the Academy themselves are a guarantee of an erudite opinion. To a large degree, the Academy is comprised of Czech Lion Award holders; it further includes multiply nominated persons and other experts.

To the viewers, Czech Lion Awards are synonymous with the live broadcast of the award ceremony, formerly also a television broadcast of the nomination evening. There, the invited guests and television viewers learn about the results of the vote. However, how does the vote work? How difficult is it to organize dozens of academics?

The vote is usually held in two rounds. This year, it was for the first time that the academics could also vote online. What is also an important element of the process is to secure that the voters have as many opportunities to watch the films as possible. Besides screenings in MAT cinema; presenting each film made in 2013 twice, plus, after the nominations have been announced, presenting each nominated film once again; we have collaborated with this year, introducing the streaming of all films to increase the accessibility of the films. The novelty was a huge success, as we have registered several thousands of accesses.

Who actually has a chance to become an academic and vote for the individual films? Who selects the group of academics and on what grounds?

According to the regulations, only Czech Lion Award holders and those who have been nominated more than three times can claim membership in the Academy. They are automatically offered to become Academy members. Other suggestions are discussed individually by the presiding committee and a vote about the acceptance or non-acceptance of the possible candidates is taken.

Are there any globally shared rules to guide the vote of the academics? For instance, is there a clearly defined, or naturally accepted, agreement to award films that represent a unique creative approach; a resonating social theme; or those films that were successful in addressing a large audience?

The vote is non-public and thus it is left at the discretion of the individual academics.

The awards of the Czech Film and Television Academy have undergone a big change this year. The Czech Lion Awards are no longer associated with the activities of producer Petr Vachler. How did these changes affect the formal functioning of the Academy and the very award ceremony?

The main change consists in the fact that for the first time, the Czech Film and Television Academy has organized the awards itself. There are also the new categories of Best Scenography, Best Costumes and Best Masks, which would be formerly all combined within the category of Best Production Design. Changes that are most noticeable to the public concern the very award ceremony; the respectable venue of the Dvořák Hall in Rudolfinum, the host Marek Eben, the new statuette by Jakub Berdych, the visual identity by Oficina Studio and the jingle by Jan Čachtický.

Thank you for the interview and we wish the 21st Czech Lion Awards to be remembered by both award holders and viewers in a positive light only!


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