March 4 marked the awards ceremony of the 24th Czech Lion Awards in Prague. Polish actress Michalina Olszańska and composer Michał Lorenc are among winners of this year’s awards, presented annually by the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA).

The Czech Lion Awards are the Czech Republic’s equivalent of the Eagle Polish Film Awards. The awards jury includes members of the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA). March 4 brought the 24th edition of the awards.

Michalina Olszańska – Best Actress

Ja, Olga Hepnarová (I, Olga Hepnarová), a Czech-Polish-Slovak co-production co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, was nominated for the Czech Lion Awards in eight categories and received two awards: Best Lead Actress ((Michalina Olszańska) and Best Supporting Actress (Klára Melíšková). Michalina Olszańska competed against four other nominees: Lenka Vlasákova (Nikdy nejsme sami), Vanda Hybnerova (Rodinný film), Eliška Balzerova (Teorie tygra), and Zuzana Mauréry (Učitelka).

Based on a true story, Ja, Olga Hepnarová (I, Olga Hepnarová) follows a young woman who drove a truck into a crowded bus stop in Prague on July 10, 1973. During her court trial, she insisted that her intention was to kill as many people as possible. Shortly before the incident, Olga sent out a letter to the local papers, explaining her motives: “I am a loner. A person destroyed by other people. I have a choice — kill myself, or kill others. I choose revenge. Leaving this world with a silent suicide is too simple. […] My sentence: Olga Hepnarová will be a victim of her own bestiality, sentenced to the death penalty.” And that is indeed what happened; Olga was the last woman in the former Czechoslovakia to be sentenced to capital punishment and executed.

Michał Lorenc – Best Original Score

The award in the Best Original Score category went to Polish composer Michał Lorenc (together with Czech composer Kryštof Marek) for the soundtrack to Masaryk, a film by Julius Ševčík. This marks the second Czech Lion Award for Michał Lorenc; he received his first award in 1999 for the soundtrack to Sekal Has to Die, a film by Vladimír Michálek. Masaryk, a film about Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomas Masaryk, received a total of twelve awards, out of a total of 14 nominations. This marks a new record for awards received by a single film. The previous record holder was Burning Bush by Agnieszka Holland, with eleven awards.

Further details are available at www.filmovaakademie.cz.

Marta Sikorska