The moment Jan Pavlacky stepped onto a film set, he knew that is where he was meant to be. After working in many different aspects of filmmaking, he found his way to directing, and he has never looked back. Now, the director has had an outstanding career, and is recognized for his talents all over the world.
Pavlacky’s extensive career is filled with great achievements. He has worked alongside many high-profile actors in the industry, such as Bruce Willis and Matt Damon. He has worked on award-winning films and commercials for some of the world’s most recognized brands. However, for him, the best part of his career was directing the film BKA 49-77.
“I directed the film, and also wrote the script and produced it. So more than me becoming part of the project, the project became part of me,” said Pavlacky.
BKA 49-77 tells the riveting story of Petr and Martina, two individuals who, following a car accident, are suddenly thrown into a situation where saving somebody else’s life could put their own in danger. Caught between fear and guilt, they have to choose between bad and worse. The film is based on real events and tells the story of a man who has been unjustly blamed for some of the events. Pavlacky wanted to tell the real story from a different point of view than what was described in the media.
“I had to tell the story in quite a nuanced way since the real events were discussed in all major medias and through society. The events became very divisive, thus it was difficult not to become inclined to one side and stay neutral,” said Pavlacky. “I thought, and I’m still thinking, that it was more about the need to tell the truth rather than liking it. The story is quite sad and dark, but I believe it was important to at least try to have some kind of empathy towards the main character who goes from bad to worse throughout the movie.”
The film had its premiere at the Nashville Film Festival in 2013, which kick-started its extraordinary success. The film was chosen as an Official Selection at numerous highly regarded international film festivals, and won Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the distinguished UK Film Festival, along with receiving a nomination for Best Short Film. All of this success can be attributed to Pavlacky’s dedication to his work as a director.
“Jan is an expert and leader in his field of directing. Without a doubt, he is one of the greatest filmmakers I have had the chance to work,” said Aleš Komárek, a producer of BKA 49-77 from PartnershipPictures. “He has a remarkable relationship with each cast member and knows exactly what to tell him or her in order to capture the best performance, which can be felt in the enthralling commercial spots as well. Jan’s amazing directing work for BKA 49-77 did not go unnoticed.”
Pavlacky made several directing decisions that greatly impacted the film. He came up with the idea to cast non-actors for many of the roles, achieving the goal of providing a real life feel to accompany the tense subject matter, and creating an interesting dynamic highlighting the two different ways of performing. The shoot also involved a car accident, live deer, and a car chase in the woods. Due to the budget limits, they couldn’t have a real car accident, so it had to be done by the right editing and sound design. This was no challenge for Pavlacky. The main moment of the film is the car accident, but the story is told in a non-linear way, with different stories connected by the accident. The accident itself is never shown. Pavlacky had everything planned out to prevent any issues, to the point of completing each scene with minimal re-shoots, which, according to Komárek, is very difficult for action sequences such as car chases.
“I wanted to show all the details that lead to it, those were much more important than the crash itself and I wanted the viewers to let the final moment up to their imagination,” said Pavlacky.
For every part of the film, even the challenges of time and budgeting, Pavlacky was doing what he loved. If there was ever a time in his life when he was unsure of what he should be doing, it is all a distant memory.
“I love realistic, dramatic, but at the same time simple stories,” concluded Pavlacky. “Stories about real life characters where there is a strong empathy between the spectators and the characters.”
BKA 49-77 is the epitome of what Pavlacky aims to achieve in directing, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind as to why both the film and its director have achieved such praise.