Nearly half of all Czech films scheduled for release during 2003 are co-productions with Slovakia, the Republic's erstwhile partner in the former Czechoslovakia.

One of the few female Czech directors, Michaela Pavlátová (pictured), makes her debut with Lassitude In Two, a psychological drama based on a novel by Slovak author Tina Diosi. Produced by Negativ, Lassitude In Two received co-financing Slovak Television.

Indeed, of 14 titles scheduled for a 2003 release, no less than six films - Lassitude in Two, The Devil Knows Why, Milan Cieslar's Man's Silhouette, Hynek Bocan's The Tall Man, The Wide Man, And The Sharp-Eyed Man, Juraj Nvota's Cruel Joys, and Miloslav Luther's Escape To Budin - are Czech-Slovak co-productions, with Escape To Budin receiving financing from Hungary as well. Director Jan Hrebejk's adaptation of Bohumil Hrabal's I Served The King Of England, produced by Woody Harrelson, is also a Czech-Slovak joint effort.

It seems to be a trend, says director Alice Nellis, whose hit last year, Some Secrets, was also a Czech-Slovak co-production. "I am surprised more people don't do that, because it makes sense," she says of co-producing with the Czech Republic's erstwhile partner in the former Czechoslovakia. The two countries remain ethnically and linguistically close despite the split ten years ago, and are growing closer politically as both vie for European Union membership. "We understand each other. [The Slovaks] have very good locations and good professionals that don't have a lot of workat present."