The Golden Prague International Television Festival took place from September 23rd to 26th this year. The festival, which is dedicated to films about music and dance as well as audio-visual recording of live performances consists of free access to a recording library and also featured several premieres of new documentaries, including one about principle dancer of the Czech National Theater Ballet Tereza Podařilová and tenor Pavel Černoch.
The Golden Prague festival was a godsend in this time when live performing is still only slowly and carefully coming to life. „When we opened the competition this spring to producers from home and abroad, we were pessimistic about how many of them would actually respond to our call in these unusual times. The opposite was true. One hundred films in the competition is the highest number we’ve had in the last years of the Golden Prague festival and it indicates two things: the incredible will of people from the performing industry not to give in to bad times and also about the important role this festival plays in the international context,” said the festival director and executive director of Czech Television Tomáš Motl.
The festival includes 103 films (100 from the competition, and three outside the competition) – all documentaries about music and dance or recordings of concerts, recitals, operas, and dance performances. All are available at the video library located at the New Stage of the National Theater. The public screening which took place as part of the festival were free, with reservation. One non-competition film available at the festival this year was a documentary about Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián, produced by the Czech Television, which premiered at the Golden Prague Festival this year, called A Year in the Life of Jiří Kylían (Jeden rok v životě choreografa Jiřího Kyliána). Other pieces in the video library include a concert by cellist Yo Yo Ma in Athens, a recording of a performance by contemporary dance group BalletBoyz called Deluxe, a satirical program by the duo Igudesman & Joo called The Music Critic (Hudební kritik), featuring John Malkovich, and a documentary about the preparations of a series of concerts of an eight-hour composition project by Max Richter called Sleep (Spánek).
The first public screening of the festival began with Martin Kubala’s documentary Where Dancers Are Born (Kde se rodí tanečníci,) which was shot in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Prague dance conservatory, followed by Olga Malířová Špátová’s documentary about Czech opera singer Pavel Černoch called Pavel Černoch – Enfent Terrible?
“I started following Pavel in October 2018 when he was building his house outside of Prague and ended the documentary with his house warming party almost two years later. From the moment I met him, I was fascinated by his naturalness, directness, and honesty, and the courage with which he let me into peak moments of his career as well as the intimate moments of his personal life. I was excited about the combination of his beautiful singing with his friendly and kind personality,” said the director about the origins of her documentary.
Martin Kubala returned the next day to present his documentary about ballerina Tereza Podařilová with the subtitle The Time of the Principle Ballerina (Čas primabaleríny.)
„Society unfortunately doesn’t pay as much attention to ballet as it did fifteen years ago. That’s why I’m happy about every documentary or portrait dedicated to artists like Daria Klimentová or Tereza Podařilová, because they allow women like them to get on the radars of the broader public,” says the director about the film.
The portrait of a leading Czech ballet star will be followed by the most famous twins of dance, Otto and Jiří Bubeníček, who are the subjects of Rebecca Tansley’s documentary which features the premiere of Piano for Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Previous iterations of the festival included Golden Prague Day, which featured a number of live performances by dance schools and studios, bands, and singers. This event was cancelled this year. Private performances by the National Theater opera and ballet remained, however – this, year, it was the ballet La fille mal gardée at the State Opera and the opera Nabucco in the National Theater.
The festival opened with a recital by tenor Pavel Černoch and his guests, which was broadcast live on ČT Art. The competition winners were announced on the 26th in a socially distanced format, all trophies presented symbolically over television. The five-member committee that selected the winners was led by Markus Wicker.
The winners of this years festival can be viewed here.