Interview with Zdenek Zelenka



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Interview with Zdenek Zelenka (Director)

Why should our viewers not miss the series?
This is a fairly unique detective series. Each of the episodes not only has a completely different style of storytelling within the detective genre, but it has a different story structure, which means that in some episodes at the beginning of the story we'll find out who committed the crime, and we have fun watching the ingenious work of the investigators. Sometimes, on the contrary, the perpetrators are revealed at the end of the story. Thus viewers will see elements of crime comedy, psychological thriller, sitcom, whodunit and thriller. In addition there is an excellent cast enriching every one of the stories.

How was the idea of the series born?
The path from idea to realization lasted several years. Once upon a time I and Jirina Bohdalová made a series of completely different films: Visit of the Old Lady, Isabela, Duchess of Bourbon and Mrs. Piper Intervenes. We thought that it would be good to invent a series of detective stories connected by one central figure, and have every episode told in a different genre. For a long time I could not figure out the principle under which the individual stories would be constructed, but then I came up with the idea of a retiree who is also an enthusiastic theatre actor, with her grandson.

How long did it take to write every episode?
This is the result of two years of screenwriting and directorial work. I admit that sometimes I am looking at a blank page, but when I wrote these thrillers, I did not feel any writer’s block. I find my work on the "murders" hugely entertaining, starting with writing and directing ending.

How difficult is it to write a whodunit?
I must admit that I was surprised to write a series of detective stories. I might have to pay copyrights to some authors, as I’ve perhaps borrowed plenty of elements in detective novels by international authors. I have learned something from those masters over the years.

What did you find most challenging while filming the series?
The hardest thing was to shoot a scene with young actors killing one of the students in the second episode. We filmed the scene almost the whole night, even though it was only about ten shots. I must say that the three acting students mastered this scene, and I hope the audience agrees.

You’ve worked in almost every genre; is there some genre you wish to develop?
I think I could spin over and over films of the same genre with the same actors. In screenwriting and directing, I've tried almost all genres, from classical fairy tales to the absurd. I might only be missing some sci-fi stories.

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