Three Brothers Production is a Prague-based historical film company with local roots but international acclaim. We sat down with Viktor Krištof, son of the eldest of the sibling trio, to find out more.
Who are the three brothers?
The three brothers are my father Vladimír and two uncles, Igor and Boris. I like to think of myself as the beginning of the new generation!
Tell us a bit about how the company began. I understand you were specialists in historical reenactments before the film element was introduced?
The company was founded back in 1991 when the three siblings (who had always shared an in interest in historical weapons and fencing throughout their childhood) began performing together with a group of historical fencers with replicas of old swords, halberds and other weapons at various events and entertained the visitors of castles, fairs, festivals and other public celebrations.
As the armour and weaponry of a medieval knight could not be bought anywhere in Czechoslovakia at that time, the brothers were forced to make the necessary props themselves. Thanks to the experience they had gained from many fights, they knew which qualities are important, and had the technical know-how to create weapons which could be used realistically. That’s how the production of historical armour and weaponry started. Since then we’ve introduced some more modern procedures and materials but sometimes the original methods they honed back then are still the best!
Around the same time, they began performing as extras in various TV broadcasts and films. As their name grew and they began to build up a certain level of fame within the industry, the filmmakers started contacting them directly and as well as choreographing the fights or duels, they often also supplied props and sets, arranged castings for extras and location services. Work on occasional film projects grew within several years into a fully-fledged production company.
What are the main services your company offers?
At present, Three Brothers has four branches: movie production and film service (executive production, stunts, choreography of fights), fully equipped studios (7000m2) and mobile facilities, a prop house (biggest armoury in Europe, tailor made workshops), and a postproduction studio including offline and online. We have contacts at castles, chateaus and other interesting locations, can provide filmmakers with all of the necessary services such as lighting, catering, make-up etc., which means that we are able to secure the production of a film or TV project from A to Z.
What are your current projects?
We generally focus on project management. Everyone in the company has their own projects for which they are responsible. This helps us to develop more than one project at a time and when someone reaches a point close to realization we all pull together to help. My biggest project at the moment is Charles IV. I took part in the preparation of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of his birth and now a movie is being prepared to reveal more about this unique ruler. Not only his greatness but also his unpopular deeds and his changing personality influenced by life itself. This film is inspired by the famous book written by František Kožík.
We’re also working on a nice fairytale Goldenlocks directed by Miroslav Vorlíček (Cinderella) in co-production with TV Nova and Bontonfilm (casting is currently in progress) and we are finishing the Cyril and Methodius movie (should be on air in December). We have just completed the pilot for “Lost Legion” a mixture of “Games of Thrones” and “Spartacus” (the serial) in middle European region. In other words – lots of politics, fights and sex!
When and where can we watch something you’ve worked on? Any English-language productions or productions with EN subtitles available?
Soon you’ll be able to watch the TV serial Cyril and Methodius, a documentary drama. It is fully subtitled but not released yet, because the movie is still in the post-production stages. Fingers crossed it will be released in the beginning of the next year.
Talk us through what a typical day is like for you and your colleagues?
A ‘regular’ day just doesn’t exist! But for example, I usually go to the studios check the mail, check the postproduction work, then the appointments. If we have a production company planning to shoot in our studios we do the preparations, or we supply our filmmaker colleagues with our props. The most interesting parts are the meeting. Working on projects with an international outreach I get to meet with scientists, politicians and artists of many kinds. The worst times are when we have to the finances for which I have been responsible over two years. My uncles focus mainly on things happening on set and the creative work, with which I’m less involved.
Any famous actors/directors you’ve worked with?
I’ve worked mostly with Czech actors including Josef Abrhám, Karel Roden, David Prachař, Lukáš Vaculík. My uncles have worked with the late Heath Ledger, Sean Connery and many more.
Are there any opportunities for our readers to get involved (as extras/runners on set etc)?
Yes of course, we welcome people who want to join us. Just check our Facebook page for regular updates.
What are your plans for the future of the company?
I would love to grow the company. I see great potential in young cinematographers who are looking for co–production but who can rarely finish their project. We are also able to help them with pre-sales and negotiations with Czech TV networks. Also we are open for people and companies willing to join the great Charles IV anniversary project, for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your favorite historical film shot in Prague?