'In the following season we will present...': Systematization of Distribution in Czech Cinema During the Silent Era



Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This paper focuses on the problem of emergence of the cinematic industry of small nation cinema. It is concerned specifically about the development of Czech cinematic infrastructure between 1911 and 1930, before the introduction of sound technology. I argue that the crucial problem was the limited size of the domestic market which often didn’t allow producers to get their money back quickly. Despite all problems there were still some entrepreneurs who developed viable trade strategy. How did they manage to reach such position? The reason was mainly differentiation of activities, connection of production and distribution and level of continuity, which allowed branding of products. Existing scholars dealing with small national cinemas are mostly concerned of reasons why they failed to compete with stronger foreign rivals. This paper tries to make different statement and enrich current knowledge by investigating the early development of Czechoslovak cinema. Presented paper will be organized in three periods. First companies appeared between 1911 and 1915 – all of them were short-lived and unable to reach wider release for their movies. Because of that they were much more interested in making newsreels and adverts instead of fiction. Second period (1916-1923), which could be called proliferation of cinema, is characteristic by short-liveness of production companies resulting in chaotic distribution. Third and most important part of paper is concerned about period between 1924 and 1930 – most successful producers during these years were also distributors, offering certain amount of movies for every season became standard for successful companies. The other side of these years was that producers realized the necessity of developing typical national product. By examining Czech cinema during silent era I hope to find patterns for the behaviour of small nation cinema and offer an explanation how similar industries could stay alive despite all of the problems.
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