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Illness forces Nellis to abandon Lidice

Irena Zemanová 2010-06-09

Czech director Alice Nellis has stepped down from Lidice, Czech-Slovak-Polish coproduction based on a WWII screenplay by Czech historian Zdeněk Mahler. Just days from the beginning of filming, Nellis announced on Wednesday, June 9, that she was diagnosed with borreliosis, a serious neurological disease, and is not able to shoot the movie.

Director Petr Nikolaev, whose previous credits include Kousek nebe (A Piece of Heaven, 2004) and Báječná léta pod psaThe Blissful Years of Lousy Living (, 1997) will replace Nellis on the project, producer Adam Dvořák, head of production/distribution company Bioscop (www.bioscop.cz) announced. "The shooting will now start on July 26, instead of in June," Dvořák said.

{mosimage}"I'm heart broken and devastated, but the doctors strictly forbade me to work for several months due to my illness. As the project has finally gotten funding, the producers can‘t afford to waste any more time. I do understand, and I wish all the best to Lidice and to Petr Nikolaev especially," Nellis said.

The start of filming was delayed several times due to difficulties in financing the final part of the budget. A four-season shoot is planned, postponing the world release of Lidice to June 2011. Previously, a Febuary start of shooting was planned with a release in late 2010.

Lidice had already an extraordinarily long pre-production, due to the complicated one year shooting plan and budget of more than CZK 70 million (2.6 million euros) for the World War II set. One third of the amount, a record CZK 20 million (770,000 euros) grant, was provided by the Czech State Fund for Cinematography.

The films is coproduced by Polish producer Dariusz Jablonski and Apple Film (www.applefilm.pl).

The town of Kladno, where part of the exteriors will be filmed, also helped with the financing, providing 150,000 CZK (5,800 euros). The town also provided free rent for shooting in the historical school building and former Nazi Gestapo police station, Dan Jiránek of the municipal house of Kladno confirmed.

The award winning screenplay is based on the infamous massacre in the Czech village of Lidice in central Bohemia. Lidice was exterminated and burnt by Nazis in retaliation for the assasination of Reinhard Heydrich in June 1942. Nellis was not planning a classic war movie, but a psychological drama based on the true story of a man who survived the massacre.

The cast includes Karel Roden, Ivan Trojan, Zuzana Bydžovská, Martha Issová and Václav Jiráček, who played the lead in Jánošík, the Polish/Slovak/Czech/Hungarian coproduction by directors Agniezska Holland and Kasia Adamek.

Czech Television (www.ceskatelevize.cz) is co-producing and the Czech Ministry of Defence (www.army.cz), is providing historical weapons and army materials. Several private companies also helped with the producing.

{mosimage}Production contact:

Produccer: Adam Dvořák

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (+420) 221 436 320

Cell: (+420) 608 979 718

www.bioscop.cz

Na Klikovce 7, 140 00 Praha 4

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