By Ashley Rozatti, University of La Verne
I had an amazing opportunity presented to me here in Prague, which was to work on a feature film. Never did I expect that I would have this experience. The film is about 3 classic fariytales; Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Ridding Hood, and a classic Czech tale about 12 moons. We shot for a few days at the Zleby Castle which was founded around 1289. It was a pretty magical place. As we shot at the castle I found myself day dreaming about what it must have been like for a young girl to live in such a big place. I can only imagine it must have been fun, there were a lot of secret rooms and walk ways. I’ll admit it took me a while to remember my way in and out, cause it was so simple to get lost.
The film was shot on a RED camera, which I thought was so cool! RED is one of my personal favorite cameras to shoot with. I wasn’t sure on what to expect, I guess really had expected them to be shooting on film, so seeing they were using a RED was really cool. It made me feel right at home on set. We also shot in the forest of Zleby and at a deer park, which is where I was able to take the most photos. The set inside the castle was rather small and so I wasn’t really permitted to take many pictures. The deer park had all types of exotic hunting birds and owls. I thought it was interested how they were kept, the majority of them were housed in an open hut, not in cages. We also shot white deer, which was cool cause I had never seen any before. It was nice to get out of the city and see the forest/countryside of Prague. I can’t even begin to describe the small town, it literally is right out of a fairytale and the houses in the woods were buried so far I don’t even know how they find or remember how to get to them. It was really neat to see this different culture and way of life. But I’m definitely a city girl, for sure!
The set wasn’t all that different from the movie sets back in Hollywood. They used the same type of equipment, had the same positions, the main difference was that they all spoke Czech. That was a bit intimidating for myself, because half the time I had no idea what 80% of the crew was saying. I’m also certain the first day I was on set they thought I was a tourist looking at the castle, which looking back was actually quite funny. But I was able to work with a really great crew, everyone was very polite and understanding that I only have been studying Czech for 2 weeks. So they sort of took me under their wing and looked out for me. It’s been a real struggle for me here with the language barrier. In America our language is so informal compared to the language here. Conversations are usually finished with puzzled looks on our faces. I am glad I stuck it out, it will be worth it to look back and saw I stepped out of my comfort zone and was apart of making a foreign feature film. After this experience I am so exciting to start my film classes at FAMU tomorrow, I am even more determined to pursue my passion for acting and filmmaking.