Český sen - The Czech Dream

How two film students built a hypermarket that wasn't there and fooled thousands

One-hundred-and-twenty-five hypermarkets have been built in the Czech Republic in the past five years. It took 20 years to build the same number in the Netherlands.

Czechs have fallen in love with shopping. Almost 40% of people in the Czech Republic do their shopping in supermarkets and whole families spend their weekends in shopping malls.

Shopping, of course, has more to offer than Mother Nature: You can eat in a shopping mall, play sport in a shopping mall, play games in a shopping mall, watch films in a shopping mall, dump your kid in a supervised play area and then get back together again at the cashdesk with big smiles on your faces.

And since the supermarket boom began, we're surrounded by bigger and bigger advertisements hawking their wares on every corner.

Český sen – the 126th supermarket in the Czech Republic - was dreamed up as a response to the brave new world we're living in. Český sen – a film about a hypermarket that doesn't actually exist, is a humorous way of dealing with a subject that we're all too familiar with.

This is a film about an advertising campaign promoting the store of our dreams, about the people who created that campaign, about the people who fell victim to it and about two filmmakers who decided to dupe thousands of people in order to make a film, which, once you've seen it, will wipe the smile off your face.

The film's creators, Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák, were two students at Prague's FAMU film academy who one day put on suits and asked a large advertising agency to create a massive campaign for their imaginary supermarket...

Here are a few interesting facts about the film:

  • A huge advertising campaign was created, including TV and radio spots, 400 citylights, 200,000 flyers, an advertising jingle, an "official" supermarket website and print advertising in all major newspapers and magazines

  • Twenty-four climbers were needed to erect a 10 x 100 meter temporary billboard on the site of the "store"

  • 4,280 people turned up for the grand opening and by around 8pm the same day around six cars per minute were still arriving

  • Even today, 18% of Czech people think that there's a supermarket called Český sen

  • The ODS (a political party) and Julius Meinl (a rival supermarket) have both produced advertising "inspired" by Český sen

  • All the actors in Český sen worked for a deferred salary - they get paid if the film makes money

  • The film is being distributed in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Russia

  • Even before the film was finished, the creators were invited to appear at film festivals in Cannes, Berlin, New York, Marseilles and Amsterdam

  • Among the TV stations interested in showing the film are Germany's ZDF/arte, Austria's ORF, the Netherlands' HOS, Belgium's VRT, Finland's YLE, and the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK

An English-subtitled version of Český sen is showing at the Kino Světozor cinema until June 23rd, then showing at Kino Lucerna from June 24th until July 7th.

For more on the film, see http://www.ceskysen.cz. For more on the hypermarket, see http://www.hypermarket.ceskysen.cz.

Send your comments or questions direct to the filmakers (in English or Czech) by email at [email protected].

* See also Andy Markowitz's Český sen review

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