Prague: The Festival Life

Hmm, how shall I focus this post?  Too busy doing to write(used too many times, I think); never-ending story of things to do; local festivals are great for understanding culture; or the big picture of why we became expats and global nomads–to experience the foreign, not just observe it as tourists.  They all apply this past week and into next week.

Vuk Rsumovic & Denis Muric

Q and A with Director and young star of “No One’s Child” from Serbia. Photo from Febiofest

This is our second year for the big film festival Febiofest which also includes music and dancing.  There are so many offerings it is a bit of a chore to sift through the program and pick a few films or events to go to. We chose an Irish, a Serbian, an Australian and one from the U.K. The latter being The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  This was to be the highlight for us as we enjoyed the first so much.  So imagine our incredulity when we got to the theater to find it had been cancelled–no explanation given. I am quite irritated at the organizers for no notice and absolutely no apology or even acknowledgement in any of the festival announcements afterwards.  Maybe I can get revenge by boycotting their sponsors.

But moving on, the next morning we went to a soup festival on the river front in Smichov called “Polívkování” or “Souping”.  It was a chance to try soups and other delicacies from a slew of international cuisines.  Our favorite was called chicken puffs from the Thailand association, obviously home-made.  We ate light and stayed away from fish or seafood choices because we were also planning on attending a Seafood Festival in our local Jiriho z Podebrad square that evening.

We purposely went early for soup, about 11 A.M., to beat the crowds but the narrow space between the double row of food booths was jam-packed, not only making it difficult to move but worse making it difficult to see the food being sold and to get into the correct queue to buy something.  Our only consolation was that as we left we noted there was now a several minute wait to even get in.  One day I will find a Czech event organizer to ask about why nearly all such festivals are arranged this same way.  Are they taxed by width or is there some kind of psychology that makes people buy more when they have to fight to get to it?  It works the opposite for me.

Seafood Festival Jiriho z Podebrad, Prague

Seafood Festival: Food booths are narrow band to right.

I dwell on this because our dinner plans were ruined for the same reason.  On the way home from coffee and dessert after the soup and chicken puffs we could see the seafood festival occupying two narrow lanes of our big square.  There were very long cues everywhere.  So we thought what time is likely to be less crowded and guessed at 5 P.M..  We were wrong; it was worse then.  So next we wondered who is willing to endure these slow-moving lines for some delicious looking and reasonably priced seafood. Everyone appeared to be in their twenties and holding a beverage; many were chatting with those around them.  We don’t fit that profile so we moved on to hamburgers, fries and Pilsner at our local pub.

So now I am spending a quiet Sunday at home writing this and looking forward to a busy week coming up due to an American Army convoy passing through the country; stopping frequently to party along the way and, of course, visit many WW II memorials for ceremonies.  Oh yes, we can’t forget this is Easter week as well; this year including our wedding anniversary and Karin’s birthday.  No more blog posts for a while   🙂

Other festival posts:  Pig and Mausopust in Prague    —      Burger Fest

Mezicas: Indie film wants you

I love the hospitality business; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Yet another business that I have brushed against that promises to be a lot of fun is the “movies”.

I just learned of an opportunity for me–and for you– to participate in the production of a local indie film here in Prague.  Best of all it features my favourite coffee culture location:  cafe’ Louvre!

While time travel movies don’t rate high in my book this talented production company looks capable of pulling off this farcical romp through the timeless city of Prague.  Currently–through 31 July, 2013–they are seeking crowd funding for about half of their production budget.  I am having difficulty deciding how much to pledge:  $10 for a toe in the water, $450 to be an extra in the film or somewhere in-between.

Their crowd funding site has all the background and details plus a lot of photos.

See update below.

This video dialog is same as crowd funding page but includes scenes of Prague and Cafe’ Louvre

Come on, let’s have some fun in the movie business!

Update:  The Indiegogo project expired before reaching the goal so the group re-penciled their budget and established a similar program on their own–including a share of any profits for all participants.  I kept my finger in the pie with the Photo Credit-Soundtrack package.  Get the latest on their blog.

Fame and Fortune: Hollywood on the Vltava

This week I received an interesting email about casting for an English language film being shot by a Korean director and based on a French graphic novel*.  Then by a “coincidence” I happened to see an ad on Craig’s List for casting a shoot in Columbus, Ohio, USA as well as a Squidoo lens about being an extra in Atlanta, GA, USA, all within the course of two days.

Prague and its Barrandov Studios has long been the center of central European film making.  That and its old time beauty have led to many Hollywood style films being shot all or in part in Prague.  In the widget below I listed just a few of the more well known; the older are better in my opinion.  Conspicuously missing is Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol shot in 2011 and not on DVD yet.  See update below.

My point today is not to watch these movies for the few background scenes of Prague and the Czech Republic but to suggest that appearing in film and commercial video is another arrow in the quiver for supporting the expat lifestyle.  A little networking and a little schmoozing can get your name and number in front of the right people for when a project comes up in your city or country.

Children, especially with stage presence, are frequently needed for filming.  Here in Prague we have expat James Bridekirk and his StageStars  They teach theater at several English language schools as well as open Saturday sessions as well as act as agents for casting.  They also produced the Christmas Pantomime that Karin and I greatly enjoyed.  Hopefully I will get around to writing about it.

So whatever your skill or talent there is a way to earn an exciting experience, if not a living.  What ideas do you have?  Please comment.

*Feature Film: Snow Piercer; Writer/Director: Bong Joon-ho

Prague shoot dates: Jan- June, 2012

Update:  Here is a link for Amazon USA.  You can also get the above films from there.  That is, please use my Amazon U.K link for Europe and for USA.  Cheers.