Czech documentary film-maker Miroslav Janek has agreed to take over as director of Citizen Havel,a documentary about former Czech president Vaclav Havel,following the tragic death of the project's original director, Pavel Koutecky.
Janek has directed numerous Czech documentaries,including Kha-chee-pae,which screened in documentary competition at Karlovy Vary, and served as editor onGodfrey Reggio's Powaqqatsi and Anima Mundi.
The main task he faces on the project will be editing the 45 hours of16mm footage Koutecky left behind.
Before becoming president of Czechoslovakia in 1992, Havel had been a playwrightand vocal dissident. He was later instrumental in Czechoslovakia's peacefuloverthrow of communism in 1989.
Koutecky filmed Havel between 1992 and2006. In footage shown to journalists at the Karlovy VaryInternational Film Festival, Havel demonstratesconsiderable charm and humour as he confesses hisfears of committing faux pas in Saudi Arabia or whilemimicking former U.S. President Bill Clinton's famous saxophone performance in Prague in 1994.
The project is co-produced by Asociace Film& Sociolgie (AFiS) and Negativ, which produced Bohdan Slama's San Sebastian winner Something LikeHappiness. Financing comes from the Czech state film fund and sponsors. Negativ producer Pavel Strnad told ScreenDaily.comthat the co-producers were negotiating to bring in other co-producers fromthe US.
"We were close to an agreement with a co-producer who would have helpedus finish the film before Koutecky died, but we hadto stop negotiations after the accident," he said.
Koutecky died in April after fallingfrom a high-rise building in Prague while shootingfootage for another documentary.