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Tradition and modernity are pitted against each other in a most unlikely venue: on the tennis court. Aspects of traditional silent film combined with the conventions of modern commercial rivalry are employed to create this bizarre face-off between a zombie, a dog, Nike, Wimbledon, Reebok and Ivan Lendl.

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Select Comments: "I absolutely loved this movie. Why? Because I had a serious gut-heavy big all out laugh for the entire short. I loved the visuals, the words, the music, the absurdity of the exposed truth." "This felt like a full-length classic silent movie but in 1/64th the time! So efficient! Well done! (What drugs do you use by the way?" "Finally, I'm looking forward to next year's Wimbledon. Thanks." "The inflating dog is genius!" "Clever as Czech films often are, but this one is actually good and funny in a political way." "The only one people clapped for." "Just linear enough to be brilliant." "Fucking awesome. Like nothing I've ever seen. Truly original, recycled, all at once." "Music is wonderful. This is a contemporary Un Chien Andalou but fucking great! The color and images were wonderful. Twisted" "Clever interplay of animation and surreal images. Sophisticated handling of themes and production. Amusing satire, provoked spontaneous laughter from audience." "Something very very very important is happening." "I liked it. Strange modern images, old style feel. And in the end an old feud between Nike and Reebok. Very funny that." "So bizarre! You know the scene with the women in apricot dresses and flames, dancing? Well, I wanted to watch that forever." "What a strange collage. I like how it's been done,the quality and the backgrounds. Improvised? Best movie so far. Gives me hope, makes me feel like moviemaking isn't so limited and strict." "THAT'S THE COOLEST, MOST RANDOM THING I'VE SEEN"..."

Comments from Nomad Festival 2002 (travels on US West Coast)

"…Your ten-minute short film was exhibited yesterday and it is going to be also screened for tomorrow. Yesterday, the movie theatre was practically full of people. TENNIS MATCH was exhibited together with TRANCEFORMER: A PORTRAIT OF LARS VON TRIER, a very important Argentinean long feature film (its name is BOLIVIA), and the French production PETITS ARRANGEMENTS AVEC LES MORTS (PEQUEÑOS ARREGLOS CON LOS MUERTOS). The comments of the critics and many guests invited were very enthusiastic about your short film, and also the Selection Committee liked it a lot… Dear friend!!! You win the first prize!!! Experimental category. Please, see our website: http://www.cinemateca.org.uy In the next days you receive more information. At last minute we decide to include your film, because we see it and trust in Tennis Match!!” Manuel Martínez Carril Director Comments from Cinemateca Uruguaya XVII Film Festival April 1 and 13, 1999

“From the Czech Republic comes perhaps the single most bizarre piece of animation to hit this year’s festival. A tennis match between good and evil and everything in between ends with something resembling a victory for somebody. Alternatively dark and Kafkaesque with flashes that are unapologetically silly, Tennis Match is funny, provocative and unsettling.” 19th Atlantic Film Festival Halifax, Nova Scotia September, 1999

“If we’d been on the jury, we’d have given all the prizes to Tennis Match, a series of sinister Expressionist tableaux (subtitled into numerous languages and alphabets, and dripping with double exposures and other artsy … [effects]) in which a zombie and dog defeat the dastardly corporate overlords of Wimbledon.” Christopher Arnott New Haven Advocate Newspaper April, 1999

“One of this year’s winning entries, Tennis Match (from Prague), is a good example; it’s mediamaker’s Robert Ellmann’s first work. He had access to a small crew of actors, technicians, a shooting studio and some computer animation software. Now sometimes, I think, creativity can be dampened by too many toys to play with, but Ellmann’s wry humour and obvious love for the media-making process made Tennis Match work for me. He probably had more fun making it than I had watching it. And, I loved it. It has this almost Beatlesque look about it but much darker; he’s from Prague. Picture Kafka navigating a Yellow Submarine.” Antero Alli Organiser, NOMAD Videofilm Fest May/June 1999

“We have nothing else like it in our international shorts showcase … It blew us away … Just an incredibly cool short … Audiences found your film extremely amusing, and it was the perfect kick-off for the International Shorts Program.”

“…bizarre and wildly entertaining piece of avant-garde video animation… inventive experimental work that recalls George Melies, Guy Maddin and Monty Python.” Programming Director Matthew Curtis and Programme Guide Comments Florida Film Festival April and June, 1999

“Clever stuff and I do not like tennis… Brilliant mix of genres… Wonderful visuals, and so damn witty; it was so beautiful to look at and it made me quite happy, though the big skull at the end scared me; I really enjoyed that it looked like an old movie. This was my favourite one… The style of this thing was so so so unnervingly groovy. Style as absolute signal?… Brilliant, I liked the dark music and horror movie images combined with a bizarre, light story… It’s nice to see that a message can be conveyed without losing a sense of humour… Smart & crazy & funny. Surrealism brought to a contemporary level. No more Duchamp – away with Magritte! It’s in this unconscious tennis match. The future is in SPORTS! ADVERTISING!… Fun, engaging cinema… Brilliantly original and hilarious. Loved the Nike man!… Irritatingly clever, sometimes quite funny. The Reebocks? Gothic kitsch? At once exquisite, sophisticated and poetic with loads of references, yet still child regressive humour makes it a one liner when it shouldn’t be… I laughed. I cried. I felt removed however. I think it was because I was wearing Converse hightops… Good humour out of Slavic depths… Fanciful, humorous & a delightful piece… 1908 Cinematic Surreal treat… This was by far my favourite – wonderfully entertaining. David Lynch & Monty Python together at long last! An excellent piece blending comedy with a sense of the macabre… You rock! Love the cinematograph feel, wit, multilingual… Laughing out loud, plenty. Perfection. Big kisses…


… Great music, quirky cartooning, and HUMOUR – this was as funny as it was bizarre… Laughter and Joy smile upon our eyes… Very amusing juxtaposition. I loved the spirit of play behind the creation of this piece… Some of the quirkiest stuff I’ve seen. The level of outlandish humour combined with the visuals made for a surrealism that was much appreciated… Very nicely done… I love the “Metropolis” feel to the cinematography. Nice use of humour and irony at the end!!…” Compendium of Audience Comments Fine Arts Cinema/Berkeley, NW Film Centre/Portland, Port Townsend Centre, and 911 Media Arts Centre/Seattle July, 1999

“Your film was the hit! A favourite of all is the somewhat surreal expressionist piece, Tennis Match. The opening title touts, ‘An evil company controls tennis and only a zombie can stop it.’ Elements of Dr. Caligari with a twist of Terry Gilliam.”

“Cucalorus didn’t limit their selections to the Visa-card-financed indies… These were interspersed with home-made gems of incredible style and audacity, like Robert Ellmann’s short from Czechoslovakia, Tennis Match, in which the seemingly incompatible elements of a Wimbledon tennis game, a zombie and Nike shoes ingeniously collide, arriving at something like Todd Haynes via Tim Burton.” Cucalorus Festival Director Kristy Byrd and Local Newspaper Coverage July, 1999

"The festival was terrific--really good crowds and publicity. Over 40 films were represented--but no one from a distance like yours…We did want to tell you that one ballot for TENNIS MATCH said "this is the coolest film EVER …" New Haven Festival Director Nina Adams April 13, 1999

"… Most of our members found this to be a very amusing, original, and inventive film. The following are a few excerpts from their reviews: An interesting combination of computer graphics and live footage … Fantastic collages of moving images … A bizarre meeting of Monty Python and Melies … Too much Terry Gilliam … Ancient feel in texture, architectural detail and music … Interesting graphics … Offbeat … Funny … Reminiscent of early film … Music was well-chosen for film … Pass the popcorn, please … Nike sometimes loses…" Comments from Movies on a Shoestring March 11, 1999

“ … First Prize, Best Mixed Media…” Saguaro (Arizona) Film Festival June 18, 1999

"Tennis Match was the favourite animation with the audience though the judges saw fit to give the award to "The Dirt On Mom" also a terrifically creative piece. Anyway, Tennis Match was my personal favourite…" Donna Maxwell Valleyfest March 23, 1999

“I like films [similar to] Gilliam and Rybczinsky but they are not my favourites.” Letní filmova škola Director Jiøí Králík In Uherské Hradištì April 14, 1999

"…This is a small congratulatory letter on your wonderful entries. This means your entry is nominated for gold, silver or bronze awards. You will receive further notification about your award very soon.” [Tennis Match received a Gold Medal Award for Independent Experimental Films & Video Category – Computer Generated/Mixed Media Division] Comments from Worldfest-Houston From April 1, 1999

"Congratulations! Robert – The audience loved your film – one young man came out of the screening that night and told me it had inspired him to finally take a film class –" Karen van Meenen President 41st Rochester International Film Festival April 2 & May 24, 1999

“…There’s Power in the Image [a segment of the festival], a compilation of shorts, is perhaps one of the festival’s best examples of video at its subversive best, featuring a tennis match between a zombie and a somnambulist sponsored by Nike…” Dallas Newspaper Concerning Dallas Video Festival July, 1999

“Hello, I saw your movie at the New Haven Film Festival and I thought it was absolutely incredible. Would you please e-mail me information on how to get a copy of Tennis Match, and information on other movies you have made? Your short film was the best movie I saw at the film fest, and I would be really interested in anything you have worked on. Thanks a lot.” Sofi

Television transmissions

MTV 2001

German TV 2000

Czech TV 2000

Turkish TV 1999

Festivals & Awards

28th Annual Festival Internacional de Cinema Gold, Fiction

32nd Annual Worldfest-Houston Gold Experimental

Cinemateca Uruguaya XVII Film Festival Gold

Saguaro (Arizona) Film Festival Gold, Mixed Media

1999 North American Science Fiction Convention Silver, Animation

HiMom 2000 Silver, Animation

San Luis Obispo Honourable Mention, Animation

And special award or trophy at other festivals.

1999/2000 Tennis Match Film Festivals:

1. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen Germany 2. Montreal International Festival Canada 3. Cinequest 2000 USA 4. International Film Festival Rotterdam Holland 5. BBC British Short Film Festival Britain 6. Flickerfest Short Film Festival* Australia 7. 36th Antalya Golden Orange Int. Festival Turkey 8. Chicago Underground Film & Video Festival USA 9. Flanders International Film Festival Belgium 10. 28th Annual Festival Internacional de Cinema Portugal 11. Cinema 16 (New Orleans) USA 12. Surprise International Short Film Festival Taiwan R.O.C. 13. hi/lo film festival USA 14. REVelation Independent Film Festival Australia 15. 1999 North American Science Fiction Convention USA 16. Raindance Film Festival – Soho Britain 17. Rhode Island International Film Festival USA 18. Edinburgh International Film Festival Scotland 19. 32nd Annual Worldfest-Houston USA 20. L'IMMAGINE LEGGERA FESTIVAL Italy 21. Palm Springs International Film Festival USA 22. Atlantic Film Festival Canada 23. Huntington International Film Festival* USA 24. Moving Image Centre* New Zealand 25. Florida Film Festival* USA 26. Film buro Bremen Germany 27. Dakota Film Festival USA 28. San Luis Obispo USA 29. Letní Film Festival* Czech 30. Northampton Film Festival* USA 31. Cinemateca Uruguaya XVII Film Festival Uruguay 32. New York Lower East Side Film Festival USA 33. Dallas Video Festival USA 34. Grenzland-Filmtage* Germany 35. The International Surrealist Film Festival* USA 36. Athens International Film and Video Festival USA 37. FAMU Festival* Czech 38. Arizona Film Festival USA 39. Ottawa International Film Festival Canada 40. New Haven USA 41. Valleyfest USA 42. Central Florida Film & Video Festival* USA 43. Open Air Filmfest Weiterstadt Germany 44. 41st Rochester International Film Festival USA 45. Cucalorus USA 46. Carolina Festival USA 47. HiMom Festival USA 48. NOMAD USA 49. Anti Film Festival USA 50. Roxy/Terminal Bar Festival* Czech 51. Kurzfilmtage Winterthur Switzerland 52. Sea to Sky Film Festival* Canada 53. Museum of Film* Poland 54. WBFF USA * = non-competitive festival or Tennis Match did not compete