Premiere Speech and Pictures (below)
Robert Ellmann delivered this speech in Czech at the historical Markova Villa, a chateau in Bohemia, on the evening of October 13, 2001 prior to the simultaneous premiere showing of FRICTION in four different rooms of the Villa in the film's Japanese, English, Czech and German versions.
CHEERLEADERS AND BALLERINAS SHOUT: "In the event of an air raid, guests not retaining their party invitations will not be readmitted to this villa when the air raid is over."
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Robert Ellmann and it is a great honour to welcome you here to Markova Villa, and a great pleasure to share this sneak preview evening with you.
Four years ago, a conceited lawyer challenged me to a tennis match. Having just injured my knee, I agreed, on condition that he would play blindfolded and with vegetables stuffed in his ears (so he couldn’t hear the ball bounce).
What a great thing to film, I thought. Eleven drafts later, tennis match ended up as our first movie – a surreal commercial eventually broadcast by MTV.
That film led directly to Czech TV, which hired us to make a documentary.
To be honest, we had no idea what a documentary was. Eventually we settled on this definition: imagine the world on the brink of war. If the president finds that out while he is in bed with his mistress, then you have a porno movie. If the president finds that out whilst playing billiards, then you have a drama. If he should find out on the toilet, then you have a comedy. If he learns it in the Oval Office, then you have a documentary.
Once we figured out what a documentary was, the rest was simple: all we had to do was get it going, wait 40 minutes, and then stop it. But how?
We tried to follow the most important Commandment of movie-making: thou shalt not bore the audience.
Second, we wanted to 'document' Fester through a tour of his personality. Who is this guy? Well, he’s an odd fusion of American hick, scientific rigor, breast infatuation, a chemistry of defiance, prison neurosis, fatherhood, absurd humor, Green Bay illiteracy and steely resolve. Through this strange alchemical fusion, Fester regularly catches people with their pants down.
Finally, we wanted to do something that had never been done before. The technology, and the tremendous contributions of so many kind people here this evening, made that possible.
Our thanks to all of the people at Czech Television – Alena Müllerová, Anna Becková, Jan Gogola, Bohuš Ziskal and Ludmila Růžková, and others. They blessed us with this remarkable opportunity, and gave us access to their publicly-funded facilities. Special thanks also to Studio ACE, on whose computers we finished the movie.
Thanks also to Robert Pergl, a Prague cultural icon, whose funds enabled the completion of the movie, and thanks to Kateřina Balintova, whose villa we are now in.
We would also like to recognise several gifted artists who made critical contributions to the movie: Pavel Rejholec, Petr Svárovský, Petr Novak, Antonín Weiser, Nikolay Kravčenko, Radek Dvořák, Vladimir Matoušek, Malcolm Smith, Pavel Koutský, Klára Nademlýnská and Jiří Schwarz. It was a pleasure to discover so many talented people, kind enough to share their artistic gifts with us for little or nothing.
Regarding this evening, the film will be showing in four different rooms of the villa in four different language versions.
If you are watching the movie, and you don’t understand it, then you are probably in the Japanese language version room. In that case, refer to the nearest cheerleader for directions.
If you hate the movie, gulp some wine and then please try another room.
If you still hate the movie, then there is a pool, sauna and jacuzzi in the basement. Refer to the nearest ballerina for swimming lessons.
For Robert Sochorec and myself, thank you for listening and enjoy the evening.
CHEERLEADERS AND BALLERINAS NOTIFY: "There will be no spitting on the floors without the express written consent of the villa owner."