Lost Holiday video resurfaces as documentary film


    A special preview is planned today in Prague for Lost Holiday, a unique Czech detective story about global communication which won a Crystal Globe at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

    Lost Holiday is based on the discovery by a Czech tourist of a suitcase containing 22 rolls of undeveloped film in a Swedish dumpster. The 756 snapshots, made by unidentified Chinese tourists, set up the plot for a detective story to find out whether it is possible to trace someone in today's interconnected world merely through lost photographs.

    "We decided to search for these people based on their lost pictures in a world where every fourth person is Chinese," said director Lucie Králová.

    Lost Holiday
    opened in a video version in October 2006 at the popular Jihlava Documentary Film Festival, but has been completely reworked for the film. Its formal premiere is set for Oct. 10 in Prague.

    Its distributor, the Association of Czech Film Clubs (www.acfk.cz), intends to release the film in multiplexes as well as art houses.

    The chief producer of Lost Holiday, Martin Řezníček, has produced 10 docs to date including Sarajevo ´94 and one on gypsies called Usury (2001). He's optimistic about the future of the genre.

    "The situation for Czech documentaries is upbeat," he told FNE. "Viewers understand that the notion of documentary has recently shifted, and is closer to a feature film." He added: "We know that we still have a relatively small audience, but it's growing."

    The most successful Czech doc to date in the post-communist era has been Czech Dream (2004), about the much-heralded opening of a supermarket that brought out huge crowds but turned out to be fake. The film has been released in the United States.

    Other successful docs include The Beauty Exchange by Erika Hníková (2004, DVD), about the money women spend on cosmetics and beauty treatments, a political documentary called Left, Right, Forward by Linda Jablonská (2006, DVD), and Marcela (2007), about the life of a Czech mother.