Prague’s film scene provides opportunities for Ukrainian refugees

The Czech capital is one of the world’s most popular filming destinations, and the local film industry is supporting refugees.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 29.03.2022 13:07:00 (updated on 29.03.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague is a Mecca for film professionals, drawing lovers of cinema from around the world. Now, though, it’s also home to tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees who never expected to find themselves living in the City of a Hundred Spires.

The Czech Republic, and especially the capital city of Prague, has seen an outpouring of support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country began on Feb. 24. It’s thought over 300,000 refugees have since arrived in the Czech Republic, and representatives of Prague’s famous film industry are now starting initiatives to help those in need.

The team from Grand Acting Studio will run a free filmmaking workshop for Ukrainian students in April. The initiative is being organized on the understanding that, while refugees face more pressing material concerns on arriving in the Czech Republic, they also need space for self-expression and personal development in their new environment.

The workshop will consist of a one-month module designed specifically for Ukrainian students, taking place throughout April with weekly sessions. The course will run in English, Ukrainian and Russian. Teachers come from the film and drama faculties of the AMU performing arts academy in Prague.

Topics for the course include movement and musical therapy, an introduction to acting, dramaturgy, rehearsal and staging, creating characters, and shooting on location.

Applicants and those seeking further information should send an email containing their full name, age, contact email and phone number, and English-language abilities, to Although English will be used as a lingua franca, English proficiency isn't required for participation.

Applications are open to all Ukrainian students. The aim of the course is to offer a safe and creative space for expression while creating a platform for refugees to build new connections while developing an interest in filmmaking.

“Our hearts are as pained as anyone else’s seeing the suffering and confusion experienced by the Ukrainian people, not just refugees, but all the people of that country, wherever they find themselves in the world. Acting and filmmaking is what Grand Acting Studio is passionate about and has expertise in, and this is what we can offer. We are inviting normal people to come and join us as we help them express themselves through play, movement and acting,” said Antoanella Ungureanu from Grand Acting Studio.

The initiative is part of a wider sense of solidarity among Prague’s film scene. The AMU performing arts academy has announced a scholarship to support Ukrainian students’ studies, while organizing regular weekend film screenings to provide displaced people with a space to relax and socialize.

The One World Film Festival, which focuses on human rights around the world, is meanwhile taking the fragility of freedom as its theme for this year, influenced by the war in Ukraine. Films from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus form “an integral part of the program,” according to the festival organizers.

The festival started on March 23 and runs until April 3. A program of upcoming screenings can be found here.

Culture was a comfort for Czechs during decades of communist oppression in the twentieth century, and now the nation's famous film scene is opening its doors to Ukrainian refugees. For people who have lost so much, it's hoped art and self-expression may provide a safe haven.

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