'Czech It Out!' New HBO Max docuseries will celebrate food, family, and travel

The unscripted lifestyle series starring Lukáš Hejlík is the first of its kind to be made in the Czech Republic.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 08.10.2021 18:00:00 (updated on 08.10.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Several Czech series and films have found success on streaming platforms like Netflix (which regularly uses the Czech Republic as a filming location) and HBO Go, where cartoon icons Pat and Mat recently hit the top 10.

For the first time, a lifestyle documentary series based in the Czech Republic is being made for international screens and will be shown via the recently launched platform HBO Max.

The European and Czech divisions of HBO are working together with the Czech production company Barletta on the documentary lifestyle series. Principal photography has started on the eight-part series that will be known internationally as “Czech It Out!” The show will be called “Spolu & hladoví” (Together & Hungry) in Czech, as the pun in the English version is a bit overused here.

The series will show the food and culture of the Czech Republic, as well as the real-life story of a father and daughter bonding over shared interests.

This is HBO Max’s first unscripted travel documentary series shot in Europe. Production of the show coincides with the European launch of HBO Max. The streaming platform will first be available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain, and Andorra by the end of October. It will expand to other countries including the Czech Republic sometime next year. HBO Max, which launched in the U.S. in May 2020, will gradually replace other HBO services, such as HBO Go.

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“I am very pleased that with the arrival of HBO Max we will have the opportunity to expand our offer with new projects for a wide audience,” Hanka Kastelicová, executive producer of the HBO Max documentary section, said in a press release.

“For the first time in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and in fact in the wider region of Central Europe, we are embarking on the popular genre of a documentary travel series,” Kastelicová added.

The series features actor and gourmand Lukáš Hejlík and his daughter, Klára Hejlíková, exploring Czech cuisine and architecture, as they also look for unusual places to stay. On their travels, they will meet people who are leaders in their field. Individual parts will focus on current topics in the field of the food scene, ecology, or urbanization.

“The main protagonists of the show … will take us to many well-known and hidden corners of the Czech Republic and convince us of what great adventures a dad can experience with his teenage daughter,” Kastelicová added.

Hejlík said that when he goes for a meal or to nature with his daughter, he gets to know her better.

“There are also moments of deep significant silence on our journeys, but the sun rises again every time it rains. I put together plans for our trips at the last minute, but this gives our extended weekends a truly adventurous framework,” he said.

“I realize that in a few months, Klára will be in high school and she will not be in the mood for our trips anymore, so I try to enjoy them properly with her. We discover the Czech Republic together. And I think we are doing great, every fortnight, when we can be together and hungry,” he added.

HBO Max producer Tereza Polachová said the goal was not just to show interesting places in Bohemia and Moravia, or give tips on where to eat and drink.

“The ambition of ‘Spolu & hladoví’ is to show how you can spend [quality] time together even for a limited time. We hope that in today’s hectic and demanding time for interpersonal relationships, ‘Spolu & Hladoví’ will be an imaginative guide not only for parents but also for their children,” Polachová said.

Maja Hamplová, who is producing the series for Czech company Barletta, said the topic of parenthood interested her. “How can you find a way to someone who is changing before your eyes every day, who is growing at a dizzying rate, and keeping up with them is harder and harder?” she said.

“And vice versa – what is it like to grow up when you really don’t understand the adult next to you and he doesn't understand you? … We discover that shared experiences, food, and love can bridge a lot of abysses,” she added.

The series will be directed by Matěj Chlupáček, who was one of the winners of Czech Lion award in 2020 for the series “Traitors” (Zrádci).  

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