Documentary film Dreams About Stray Cats maps life story of world- famous artist Peter Sis. Peter is a crucial figure of the contemporary art and cultural scene. He is an author of children's books, illustrator, graphic artist and winning author of animated films. He has been awarded tens of the most prestigious awards. Director David Sis sensitively and extensively maps his older brother's inner world and uses his close relationship with him. He uses high-quality documentary material filmed in New York, Lisbon, Paris, Aubusson, and also in Prague and Brno which combines with the extensive family archives and unique animations to describe the inner world and principles of creation of world famous artist. Peter's restored animated films are another element of the film (he was awarded the Golden Bear for his film titled “Heads". Testimonies by people who supported Peter Sis on his journey through life (M. Forman, M.Allbright, M. Hausman, Steven Heller and many others). Peter Sis and his fantastic books are a true phenomenon in the world of children's stories.
|The film was supported by The Czech Film Fund|
|Original title||Sny o toulavých kočkách|
|English title||Dreams About Stray Cats|
|Production stage||In production|
|Running time||83 min.|
|Country of production||Czech Republic|
|Original languages||Czech / English|
|Planned premiere||January 2020|
Intro: On the Atlantic coast, on a deserted beach in front of the amusement park on Coney Island, two brothers meet. They watch the incoming waves for a while and then the younger one asks: “Bro, what I’d like to know is how you come up with those images you have in your head.” The older brother considers the question and eventually responds: “You know, I’ve never really thought about it before.” This scene opens the film, “Sny o toulavých kočkách” (Dreams About Stray Cats), which tells the story of Peter Sís’s life. It is a multilayered deliberately non-linear biography told using various media: period recordings of images and music, animated films, illustrations, and art. The line which holds and threads events together is made up of reflections on the appropriateness and importance of the life path taken and the struggle for the right to one’s own fantasy and freedom of artistic expression. The film offers an insight into various life changes, and in the end the solution to the hero’s current personal dilemma.
Part One: A strange creature is born in Peter Sís’s studio in Manhattan; an animated black cat which symbolises the search for a lost and still missing home. It symbolises Peter Sís’s inner self. It was first seen in the book “The Three Golden Keys” edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and eventually took up residence in Peter’s images. This clever, well-animated narrator links the whole story together and transitions between various levels of story-telling. In contrast to standard forms of interpunctuation, she is also capable of real interaction. She shakes the chair Peter is sitting on, she looks through books being talked about in the story, and she plays with the camera.
Who is Peter Sis: Like the stray cat, Peter Sís is missing a real home. He was born in Brno, a son of a film director, and showed great artistic talent from an early age. At the end of the 1960s, he let his hair grow long and founded a beat music band. He became one of the first DJs in Czechoslovakia. As a music journalist, he interviewed the music stars of the time. In 1969 he arranged the Beach Boys’ Prague concert.
He studied at the Academy of Applied Arts, graduating in 1974 having produced an animated video for a Blue Effect song. He later arrived in London, where he studied at the prestigious Royal College of Arts. In 1980, his animated film, Heads, won the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Receiving a proposal to film a sequence for the summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he acquired permission to travel to the USA. The Czechoslovak authorities at the time, however, declared Peter Sís an emigrant, entirely against his will. He wanted to return home, but could not because he was facing years in jail. He is still haunted today by vivid dreams of being back in Czechoslovakia. The start of Peter’s art career in the USA was hard. He set up base in New York, where he still lives and works. His wife Terry is a film editor, and his children Madla and Matěj are students. Peter Sís has written over forty books for children, and has illustrated a further sixty.
He has authored mosaics in the New York subway, and has produced art for walls in Harlem and giant tapestries showing important symbols of the struggle for freedom such as Václav Havel, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Peter Sís is one of the most well-known and most prized Czech artists abroad. He has also received the renowned Hans Christian Andersen Award, described as the Nobel Prize for children’s books.
The Form: By combining a documentary with interactive animations, a number of unique archive materials and filming in the most incredible locations in New York and Prague with the use of professional motion equipment, this allows Peter Sís’s life story to be presented in an attractive form. This artist, whose incredible pictures it is no exaggeration to say have inspired millions of children the world over, undoubtedly deserves it.
Filmography: Romania Libera (1990), Hat Trick (1992), Maltchik (1994), Causa Kain (2003), Lucie: The Story of a Rock Band (2016), Maffians (2018)
David Sís (*1962) hails from a famous family of artists. His father was film director Vladimir Sis and his brother is Petr Sis, famous illustrator and author of childrenś books. David is a highly experienced, award-winning director, screenwriter and teacher. He graduated at Prague’s FAMU. Active in filmmaking since 1989 and directed various documentary films, musical videos, live concerts and more then 100 successful TV programs mostly in collaboration with Czech Television. He was the director and writer in Czech popular series On the Road, Mishaps, Pandurango: the way to music and Who do you think you are. His college film Hat-Trick about the Holocaust football match, was awarded at the Kobe Film Festival and the sci-fi experimental movie Maltchik was awarded in Tel Aviv and Poitiers.
Filmography: My Elf is called Resmay (2017), Little Monk (2015), National Treasures (2012), National Treasures II (2017), Black Ambulance (2008), Coffe and Cigars (2017), Our Traditions (2014), Miracle of Natures (2010), Unusual Cultures (2010)
Producer Vit Belohradsky (*1976) Since 1995 he has also worked as director of photography and participated in more than sixteen hundred projects. He is a co-founder of FRMOL Production where he works as producer and creative director. He has produced a huge number of television programs. His portfolio includes tens of successful mainly television projects, documentary series, documentary films etc.
Frmol production was established in 2005 and very shortly achieved widespread respect on the Czech film and TV market. Frmol realizes TV and film projects of different kinds from the initial idea to their completion. Frmol has been member of APA (Audiovisual Producers' Association) and partner of Czech Unicef. Company participates on many diverse project, and it’s activity is very widespread. Since 2005 Frmol has produced tens of successful projects such documentaries, documentary series and films, educational projects, charity projects, reality show, talk show etc.
|Producer:||Vít Bělohradský & Tomáš Schäfer|
|Executive producer:||Vít Bělohradský|
|International producer:||Kateřina Bělohradská|
|Original idea and Author:||David Sís|
|Director of photography:||Vít Bělohradský|
|2nd camera:||Vojtěch Vančura|
|Camera asistent:||Radovan Táborský|
|Editing:||David Votava & Alexander Brož|
|Executive production:||Olga Čapková|
|Dramaturgy:||Jiří Novák & Věra Krincvajová|
|Head of Film department:||Helena Uldrichová|
|Creative producer:||Věra Krincvajová|
|Manager of realization:||Petr Morávek|
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