Medieval history buffs and Czech opera fans may well know the story of the occupation of Bohemia by the Margraviate of Brandenburg, soon after King Ottokar II died in battle in 1278. The tumultuous period was the setting of Bedřich Smetana very first three-act opera, Braniboři v Čechách, whose overriding theme was the Czechs’ struggle to rid themselves of oppressive Germanic rulers. But few outside of the Pilsen region know the tale of the outlaw Oldřich of Sukořín – a Robin Hood type figure, who battled the Brandenburgs from a forest stronghold. The legend has long captivated the imagination of Leoš Kastner, a young Czech filmmaker from the region now shooting a historical drama financed through crowdfunding. Before delving into his film project Zbojník (The Outlaw), his second independent feature, I began by asking him how he got started in film.

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