Vaclav Havel Readies Directorial Debut (Berlin Exclusive)

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BERLIN -- Vaclav Havel, the tenth and last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, is offering European Film Market buyers a little piece of history.

The trailer for his directorial debut Leaving, unspools here to buyers and sales agents alike for the first time Saturday ahead of a private reception to celebrate the film's completion.

For the Czech multi-hyphenate, who counts playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician on his "done that" list and whose uncle founded the famous Barrandov Studios near Prague, it's in the blood. And on his desk.

Based on his own play, first published in 2007 some 18 years after his first playwriting efforts and a political career in the intervening years, Havel's filmmaking efforts come as he approaches his 76th year.

Although not attending in person, the project's producer, Jaroslav Boucek, is drumming up interest among buyers and sales agencies alike for the movie version of a play translated into a slew of languages and a run on stage in the U.S. and the U.K.

Starring Josef Abrham, Atiana Vilhemora and Oldrich Kaier, Havel's movie also includes turns from Karlovy Vary film festival director Jiri Bartoska and the former Czech president's wife, the actress Dagmar Veskrnova.

Havel's movie details the story of a government chancellor who faces a crisis after being removed from political power.

He based it on Shakespeare's King Lear and Anton Checkhov's The Cherry Orchard.

Havel said his film version revolves around "the theme of the end. The end of man. The end of an epoch. The end of some community. The end of love."

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