Czech Ministry of Culture Honours Opela, Vlacil

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PRAGUE: The movers and shakers of the Czech film industry turned out for the Czech Ministry of Culture’s fourth annual award for contribution to cinema.

Minister of Culture Jiri Balvin presented the honour, which came with a cash award, to the recently retired long-time director of the Czech National Film Archives Vladimir Opela. An in memoriam award was given to the sons of Czech film director Frantisek Vlacil, whose masterpiece Marketa Lazerova was voted the best Czech film of all time by film critics only a few years ago. The ceremony concluded with a screening of one of Vlacil’s short poetic gems from the archives.

Balvin told FNE following the ceremony that he was traveling to India with the hope of signing an agreement that could result in more Indian productions filming in the Czech Republic.

Attendees included film professor Milica Pechankova, a former colleague at the archive who gave a heart-felt tribute to Opela; Helena Frankova, director of the Czech Cinematography Fund; Ivo Mathe, director of the Czech Film and TV Academy and rumoured the possible replacement for Frankova when she steps down from her temporary position at the end of the year; FAMU film school dean Pavel Jech; film distributor Peter Kot and his wife, Eurimages Czech representative Elena Kotova; casting director Jessica Horvathova; Czech TV acquisitions exec Michal Malek; and current director of the archives Michal Bregant