Carlsbad, 7. 7. 2014

The memorandum on cooperation in the three-year project We're cleaning up the world of fantasy (Čistíme svět fantazie) was signed today in Carlsbad by the Managing Director of Czech TV Petr Dvořák, the President of board of the Foundation České Bijáky Petr Šikoš and Director of the Karel Zeman Museum Jakub Matějka. The project is created in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. The aim of the joint project is to digitally restore three selected Czech films from the Golden Fund of Czech cinematography produced by Karel Zeman, to re-introduce them to the general public and ensure their preservation in the highest possible quality for future generations. The first film to be digitally retored will be The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, followed by the films The Fabulous Baron Munchausen and Journey to the Beginning of Time. The plan is to restore one film a year. Both the professional and general public will be invited to become involved in the project through a public collection.

"The digital restoration is not only to ensure the preservation of these unique Zeman films, but also to breathe new life into them. We want to reintroduce these films to the world and to the children of today with the same visual and sound quality as they were seen by audiences more than fifty years ago," explains Jakub Matějka, Director of the Karel Zeman Museum. "These activities are an essential part of the mission of our museum," he adds.

To ensure that each film gets seen by the most viewers possible not only will the theatrical premieres - which will take place in several countries simultaneously - make a contribution but there will also be a premieres of the films on Czech Television. "The process of preserving and making accessible the wealth of Czech national films for future generations is entirely consistent with the long-term mission of public television. I believe that Zeman's classics in this new quality can compete with contemporary entertainment and will confirm them as the true models and prototypes for a number of internationally recognized artists," says Managing Director Czech TV Petr Dvořák.

The guarantor of the financial aspects of this digital film restoration is the Foundation České Bijáky, which since 2012 has been involved in the restoration of the greatest jewels of Czech cinematography. It has already completed three restored films. The premiere of the last of them - the legendary anti-war comedy Closely Watched Trains directed by Jiří Menzel – passed off at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Saturday. "Zeman's films await restoration in accordance with internationally recognized standards and the current technological possibilities in 4K in the highest possible quality," says Petr Šikoš, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation České Bijáky.

The method and importance of digital film restoration

Digital restoration is a very difficult process. The picture and sound quality of the film should be restored as it was at the time of its original premiere. At the same time, however, a formal restoration may not change the artistic vision of the director and should not attempt to exceed the technological limits at the time in which a particular work was produced. It is not about creating a new, more modern version of the film, but rather an identical copy of the original, created from original film negatives and prints.

These films will be restored at UPP Ltd., which has a wealth of experience in this field. They restored, for example, such gems of Czech cinema as Markéta Lazarová, The Firemen's Ball, All My Compatriots, several films by Jan Švankmajer, a series of documentaries by Jan Špáta and many others. When restoring the experts from UPP use the latest technologies used in digital post-production.
You must first convert the celluloid film to digital format, then the real restoration can begin. "Just removing dirt and blemishes is the most time consuming part of the process and takes an average of six months of work," says Ivo Marák, director of technology development at UPP. "In order that the film at the premiere of the restored version looks as its creators made it, it is also necessary to study all the unique techniques and procedures that were used in its creation. Without this detailed knowledge the restoration cannot be done correctly," says Marák. Anyone interested in finding out about the unique techniques and special effects which Karel Zeman used in his films can do so by walking through the exhibition at the Karel Zeman Museum. Not only will they learn how individual movie scenes were created, but the principles of some film effects that they can try with their own cameras and camcorders.

The restored films must also be visually customized to suit the form in which they were premiered. The Karel Zeman Museum will participate in this creative part of the restoration, particularly with the help of the artist, writer and director Ludmila Zemanová. The author, who has lived in Canada for a number of years, took part in the original making of the creations of her father. Together with UPP she has worked on the transfer of her father's films to digital format.

Gala and World Premiere screenings for children from orphanages

The World Premiere of a digitally restored version of The Fabulous World of Jules Verne will take place next year. It will take place not only in selected Czech cinemas, but also abroad. The film will be presented on the occasion of the World Expo 2015, where the showings will be accompanied by an exhibition at the Turin Film Museum. "The synergy of this cooperation is determined not only by the uniqueness of a film that represents the worldwide success of Czech cinema, but also the fact that the film was first shown and also awarded the Grand Prix at the world exhibition Expo 58 in Brussels," said the Commissioner General of the Czech participation in the World Expo 2015 Jiří F. Potužník. The film will also have an American premiere in New York in cooperation with the Czech Cultural Centres. There will also be an exceptional premiere for disadvantaged children and children from orphanages. Each year thereafter will be followed by the premiere of a newly restored film.

Everyone can contribute to the rescue of these films

Both the professional and general public will be able to participate in this rescue work through public collections carried out by the Foundation České Bijáky. People can contribute to the digital restoration by sending an SMS with the words DMS BIJAKY to the number 87777, or by sending any amount of money to the open account of the Foundation - 107-5652650247/0100, through the portal Darujspravne.cz or by buying the gift (signed photographs, posters, Blu-ray, etc.) from the Foundation České Bijáky. More information can be found on www.bijaky.cz.

A sample of the digital restoration of the film Journey to the Beginning of Time and The Fabulous World of Jules Verne where you can see the difference in print quality can be seen on www.muzeumkarlazemana.cz in the section for the media and on ftp://www.ceskatelevize.cz.

Media Contact:

Tereza Veselá
PR & Marketing Manager of the Karel Zeman Museum
mobile: +420 728 179 469
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Aneta Marková
Nadace České Bijáky
mobile: +420 608 152 379
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alžběta Plívová
Print Spokesperson Czech TV
Communication and PR
phone: +420 261 133 332
mobile: +420 733 663 969
e-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press release for download
DOC file (74 kB)

Synopsis of Karel Zeman films
DOC file (218 kB)

Samples from the restoration process for download in print quality:

Sample - Journey to the Beginning of Time 2Sample - The Fabulous World of Jules Verne 2


Last modified on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 08:52

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