Credit: Dalibor Jelínek

Interview: Šárka Portešová and Martin Bertko, Winners of the FFFIMU Audience Award

This month, the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University presented the 24th edition of their film festival. Beginning in 2000 as a showcase of short films made by insiders of the faculty, this festival has been providing both the audience and creatives with the opportunity to enjoy locally produced pieces alongside works from other Czech universities such as the Tomas Bata University in Zlín.

The films in the programme are awarded at the end of the festival. There are two major prizes, one selected by an appointed jury and the other by the public. This year’s edition of the festival delighted its guests with two official blocks of six and seven movies respectively, plus an additional third block of movies that did not take part in the competition but were purely for the enjoyment of the attendees. Every movie was in Czech or English, accompanied by subtitles of the other language, respectively.

From animated clips and comedy mockumentaries to rather serious scripts conveying fictional and even real life drama, every project demonstrated the talent, sensibility and professional skills in the use of new technologies of the artists behind them. However, the two titles that won the prizes this year wereI will die in this house’, elected by the jury, and ‘Right under your nose’, which received the most votes from the audience. 

Brno Daily spoke to Šárka Portešová and Martin Bertko, co-authors of Right under your nose (‘Před očima’) for some more insight into their award-winning movie. 

Credit: Martin Müller

BD: Did informatics lead to movie-making or vice versa?

Šárka: Many people would not associate computer science with filmmaking. However, we are pleased that this connection has been made at the Faculty of Informatics at Masaryk University. For example, there is a course called Fundamentals of Film Language, where students learn about film technology as well as how to write a screenplay. In this course, I wrote the first version of the screenplay for our film.

BD: What is ‘Right under your nose’ about?

Šárka: “Right under your nose” is an anecdote inspired by a true story that happened to my grandfather, who was a physics professor at a university. Grandpa was quite a strict professor and always insisted on formal attire. However, one time the students creatively took advantage of this. I don’t want to reveal more. 

BD: Could you tell us how was it to work with the professor

Martin: Working with our lead actor, Associate Professor Prokeš, was fantastic. We were absolutely thrilled with him. It took us a while to convince him to join the filming. Fortunately, he had the courage and agreed, even though we are complete novices in filmmaking. We are very grateful to him for that. In addition, he utterly resembles Šárka’s Grandpa.

BD:  Who is the target audience for this movie?

Martin: Since the film is set in a school environment, we assume it can particularly entertain students and teachers who can relate to the story. But we secretly hope that it will entertain everyone a little.

BD: What is the most challenging part of this film format?

Martin: The hardest part of the anecdote was creating the screenplay in a way that the plot wasn’t revealed right at the beginning, so that the film maintained its dynamic.

Credit: Šárka Portešová

BD: What was the creative process behind this work?

Šárka: I had the idea and the first version of the screenplay written about a year ago. I just couldn’t bring myself to start filming. At the beginning of the year, I mentioned the idea to Martin. He got absolutely excited about making the film, and that was it. We revised the screenplay, scouted possible filming locations, assembled a great crew and star actors. We shot the film, and then we faced another challenging part: editing and cutting the video. That took us several weeks.

BD: How do you two approach teamwork?

Martin: With Šárka, we are good friends, and we’ve collaborated on several graphic design projects together, which is our shared field. However, filming the movie was undoubtedly our biggest collaborative project. We didn’t have the work divided in any specific way; we both contributed to everything together and surprisingly, it worked well and we both enjoyed it.

BD: It is well known that mastering the art of comedy is not an easy task. How did you decide what was appropriate for this particular story?

Šárka: A lot of dialogues and funny shots were created somewhat unplanned during the filming. Honestly, we also relied on that to some extent. However, during the editing process, it was quite challenging because when you see some scenes repeatedly, nothing seems funny anymore. It’s hard to estimate what will amuse the audience, so we tried to rely on some instinct. In this aspect, it was great that there were two of us, and we could support each other with ideas.

BD: Where can our readers watch Right under your nose?

Šárka: The film is available on my YouTube channel (Šárka Portešová) 

Alternatively, it should also appear on the FI MU film festival channel.

BD: Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Martin: I would like to point out that before the filming, I had no filmmaking experience and neither of us had ever produced an entire movie like this before. We had to learn post-processing steps and usage of software, roughly 3 weeks before submission. 

Despite this obstacle, we would like to encourage everyone not to be afraid and try to make their own film. After a lot of hard work, it is very rewarding to see it on the big screen, and what’s more, to win a film festival because of it!

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail