Earlier this year, the Czech public fell foul to an elaborate hoax cooked up by two enterprising students of Prague's Famu film academy.
One of the hoaxers, Filip Remunda, is now at IDFA to talk to commissioning editors about the documentary he and his colleague are making about this controversial stunt, and to accompany a group of East European film-makers who have attended a workshop programme run by the Institute of Documentary, a Czech-based professional organisation he co-founded in 2001 (see box below).
On May 31, hundreds of people flocked to the Prague suburb of Letnany for what they thought would be the grand opening of giant new superstore, the Cesky Sen ('Czech Dream'). With security guards standing by to prevent a riot, students Vit Klusak and Remunda then broke the news to the gathered throng that the 'surprise' promised in a high-profile advertising campaign ' which had included TV spots featuring the store's own jingle, newspaper advertising and 200,000 flyers boasting about the store's low prices ' was that the store didn't actually exist. A film crew was on hand to record their reactions.
'We staged it as a metaphor for the dreams of the Czech people as the country prepares to join the European Union next year,' Remunda explained.
The Czech Ministry of Culture's State Fund for the Support of Cinematography funded the project, and Klusak and Remunda will make a feature-length documentary about the event (co-produced by Czech Television) to be released in spring 2004.
Remunda and co-producer Irena Taskovski are handling world sales and are in talks with a number of broadcasters including Franco-German channel Arte, Finland's YLE, Belgium's VRT and Austria's ORF for television rights, and Metro Tartan in the UK for theatrical rights.