Lukáš Přibyl's four-part labor of love that began with his family history, the Czech feature documentary series Forgotten Transports, is ready to set out on its final journery: the international festival circuit in search of audiences and sales.
Přibyl spent ten years and 16 million CZK (600,000 Euros), almost entirely privately funded, on his four-part discovery of the journeys to unknown concentration camps, Forgotten Transports, which premiered to local acclaim and an award at the recent Olomouc film festival in the Czech Republic. Its few international festival outings have brought equally impassioned responses: a standing ovation at its Lincoln Center screening in New York City, and short-listed for audience favorite at the Palm Springs festival.
"The films are made to work independently, but have a overarch to work together," Přibyl told FNE. Each film looks at the transport of Czech Jews to a different country -- Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, and Eastern Poland -- and has an individual focus on the groups -- women, families, men, and the lonliness of individuals who discarded identities only to be recaptured using new names.
Přibyl, educated in political science, used materials gathered from 30 countries and traveled to 20 countries, making multiple visits to many. Each story related in the films is supported by meticulously collected archival and historical footage and photographs from public and private resources. Research and production on the four films was done concurrently, with Přibyl working to support himself and the project while also seeking private funding largely through personal donations.
As he moved into the editing process, Forgotten Transports (www.zapomenutetransporty.cz) caught the attention of Czech producer and Oscar-nominated director Ondrej Trojan, who came on board as co-producer through his company Total Help Art (www.tha.cz). The project received a 1.5 million CZK (56,000 Euro) grant from the Czech fund for cinema (www.mkcr.cz), and connected with frequent Czech film sales agent, Neil Friedman of Menemsha Films (www.menemshafilms.com).
Přibyl thinks that the films' ability to bring a new perspective to the Holocaust accounts for their success. He's about to find out if the rest of the world agrees.
CreditsDirector: Lukáš Přibyl Producer: Lukáš Přibyl Co-producer: Ondřej TrojanScreenwriter: Lukáš PřibylEditor: Vladimír BarákCinematographer: Jakub ŠimůnekMusic: Petr OstrouchovProduction managers: Gabriela Přibylová, Daria Špačková