New project brings English-language film screenings for kids to Prague

Grab your popcorn! Regular screenings of kids' films in English are coming to Prague

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 06.03.2019 12:00:00 (updated on 07.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

For grown-up movie-goers in Prague, options abound for quality English-friendly cinema: films here are screened in the original language with Czech subtitles while a number of cinemas including Kino Světozor’s Catch-Up Tuesday and Dlabačov’s ‘English-Friendly’ series screen festival favorites with English subtitles.

But if you’re an expat parent who wants to take a non-Czech speaking child to see the new Lego movie or stay current on the Paddington franchise it can get a bit trickier.

Children’s films are typically dubbed over in the Czech language — and with good reason: small kids can hardly be expected to read subtitles. Which works for bilinguals but for their non-Czech-speaking parents 90 minutes of an over-dubbed My Little Pony: the Movie can feel like an eternity.

Cinema City Chodov

Cinema City is the largest network of multiplexes in the Czech Republic with seven locations in Prague. Michael Čapek, booking coordinator, says that whether or not children’s films are offered in the original language depends on what they receive from the distributor (“If we receive it, we play it,” he says).

According to Čapek, centrally-located Slovanský dům is their English-friendliest venue. He confirms that Wonder Park, Dumbo, and Aladdin will all be shown there in English this spring.

Wonder Park will be shown in the original English language at Cinema City
Slovanský dům from March 14.

For something different, Kids Kino Prague is a weekend film series taking place at Kino Pilotů, a historic arthouse cinema in Vršovice, that screens kids’ films in the original English.

The project is the brainchild of Rosie Dwelly, a Prague-based mom who’s a general manager of the Prague Fringe Festival and company manager for Prague Youth Theatre. She saw a gap in the market and a demand within Prague’s international community for these kinds of screenings.

“We live nearby and had been to see films there and loved the friendly, atmosphere. We decided to support and partner with a local business rather than a mainstream cinema chain.”

The screenings began over a year ago and have proven a big success with families who appreciate the affordable ticket price and independent cinema vibe.

“There has been a great deal of interest from expat families, as well as Czech families looking to practice and improve their English. All of the screenings so far have been well-attended and some have totally sold out and we’ve had to add an extra showing!”

Kino Pilotů

Members of the Kids Kino Prague Facebook community suggest films; recent picks have included Mary Poppins Returns, The Nutcraker and the Four Realms, and Spiderman Into the Spiderverse. Coming soon, How to Train Your Dragon (The Hidden World), slated for March 9.

“We’re planning to continue the partnership for the foreseeable future,” says Dwelly adding that, “Pilotů owners Alzbeta and Jan saw the benefits from the beginning. They already had a good following amongst Czech families but were interested in attracting more international visitors.”

Dwelly hopes to expand the project to other neighborhood cinemas.

Anyone interested in collaborating (or requesting a screening at Pilotů ) can get in touch via the Kids Kino Prague Facebook page.

Kino Pilotů’s cozy cafe

Coming this spring, there will be yet another option for English-speaking families who’d like to enjoy a good film together.

Kasárna Karlín, the multi-function culture space housed in a former military barracks, boasts a wide program for Czech-speaking children, including movie screenings every weekend, themed workshops, and special theatre performances. 

It will launch a series of films in the original English language starting with the 2016 film Storks on March 23.

Kasárna Karlín screening room

Michaela Švandová a spokesperson for Kasárna Karlín says the decision was based on the lack of options for English speakers in Prague:

“Recently we figured that English speaking children must have a hard time finding something fun to do in Prague. So we decided to step in and try to incorporate some English-friendly fairy tales.” 

Films are screened in a converted swimming pool with lounge chairs and Fatboys; an outdoor play area in the warmer months and, in the winter, a free skating rink gives the venue added family-friendly appeal.

For details see the Kasárna Karlín monthly program.

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