You are reading a web page devoted to our first live-action amateur movie
(WITCHES ABROAD), based on our first-ever script based on a book of Terry Pratchett.

Carodejky na cestach Witches abroad
Cover of the Czech translation of Terry Pratchett's book "Carodejky na cestach" Cover of the English original of the book Witches Abroad

The history of this movie was neither short nor simple. At the beginning P.J. visited M.F. (January 1997) suggesting that they had been talking about possibly making a movie for ages and that it was about time to actually shoot one. And that such movie should be based on something what they both know and like e.g. the book Witches Abroad. M.F. thought about it for a short while and than began trying to convince P.J. that is not even possible to make a movie based on this book. Eventually M.F. managed to convince P.J. of this. But in the meantime as he kept thinking about it he concluded that if they would use volunteer amateur actors and stayed away from the Hollywood glitter it could be done (why not just give it a try). And began convincing P.J. back that it will sure be possible and that they should definitely do it that way until P.J. was convinced, too. And the preparations began. Looking for actors, locations, time slots, writing and polishing the screenplay... (that was actually job of P.J.)

screenplay initial titles
Image of the third page of the screenplay for Witches Abroad. Unfortunately M.F. was unable to make drawings of all the scenes before the actual shooting began. Sketched layout of the initial titles

Filming began in the first week of the 1997 summer vacations in Vranov nad Dyji and at the ruin of the Cornstain castle (and continued during weekend until the first snow). Shooting was done with Panasonic VHS-C camera, digitizing with Matrox Rainbow Runner and editing was done during long winter evenings on a Pentium-class PC. Actors were kids from Hustopece nad Becvou and our friends who were also helping a bunch. All names are listed in the final titles. The director's stool was occupied by P.J., M.F. was hanging around the rear end of the camera. Although sometimes they changed the roles. All for the first time.

lunch teacher-supervisor youngest participant
Of course, actors had to be fed.Taming all the youngsters took finding an experienced teacher-supervisor. The same supervisor ruled the kitchen and food supplies.The youngest participant of the filming. He didn't actually play, but we all still hear the echo of his squeaky "Maaaaaam.....!"
... staying awake during all stages of the filming. Tydada tydada... The filming was fabulous...
What M.F considers the hardest part of the production? "...staying awake during all stages of the filming."Mischievous camera caught M.F. when he decided to do something wild. Note what faces E.S. makes at the coffee. Looks like it was kind of strong."The filming was fabulous..." That's what our star says.
Ummmmm job description party
And this is what P.J. thinks about the work of the entire team: "Ummmmm".If it was not for the explanatory label on P.J's work uniform (director), nobody could tell what his real job description was.The final team-party, where in fact most of these pictures were taken.

A couple of pictures from the movie:

...sounds a kind of stupid idea to me. ...they'll fall down from those brooms and will get killed. ..where are going Red Hood?
"...sounds a kind of stupid idea to me."
The witches are getting ready for the journey.
"...they'll fall down from those brooms and will get killed."
The witches are traveling.
"...where are going Red Hood?"
The witches meet the Red Hood; too bad you can't watch Red Hood's fantastic leg-work.
Noooaaaaa... ...this is called voodoo at where I come from. in the marches
The movie contains some outright drastic action scenes ;-) Here you can see killing the wolf.
"...this is called voodoo at where I come from."
Two witches meet, noise of the marketplace sounds in the background.
Discussion at front porch in the marches. Sadly just next to a busy road.
And maybe not.... at night Now, you've got to stop the carriage Silver.
"And maybe not...."
Well done mask of baron Saturday
This is exactly how a night scene looks like when shot at night. Similarly, it's no good to whisper when trying to record something what is supposed to finally sound like a whisper."Now, you've got to stop the carriage Silver."
One of many magnificent tricks - transforming a cat (a toy, not a live one) into a muscle. (animation by M.F.)
ball Killing a zombie Breaking mirrors
The ball is a true crowd scene. All actors with no particular role in this scene actually are actually dancing!Killing a zombie is another example of an excellent trick-maker's work. (this time that of P.J.)Breaking mirrors belongs among those scenes that can't be repeated ad infinitum. But it sure looks impressive.

Note: Dialogs and names are not take from the English original of the book! They are back-translated from the Czech translation.

Enjoy the trailer!

Our trailer.
(607k in RealVideo, or better but bigger 3M MPEG, or best and biggest 9M MPEG)

We don't have clips from the final version of the movie here yet. So for the time being, enjoy at least several samples of our experimental tricks.

The witches are taking off Transformation of a cat Experimental spelling
The witches are taking off
(151k MPG, no sound)
Transformation of a cat into a human being
(260k MPG, cruel sound)
Experimental spelling a cast on P.J. This was our very first try to find out if we are actually able to make tricks.
(304k MPG)

The titles are a chapter of it's own. The initial ones represent an excellent animator's work of M.F. (the originally intended 3D version didn't work out, so we had to resort to an artwork). The final titles are also work of M.F.

Initial animated  titles Final titles
Initial animated titles
(285k v RealVideo; 1,1M AVI)
Final titles which are in a usual movie-theater style show names of all those who participated on the production.

A year later, on Saturday, July 25th 1998 at 5 pm in the gym in Hustopece nad Becvou - the movie made it to the "theater". Massive audience (about 70 people), receiving little oscars, a toast and great sandwiches. Here is how the invitation looked like.

Sandwiches projectioner viewers watches the movie
Sandwiches were a reward for those who remained to see the entire movie and took part at the celebration banquet with the toast. The projection was a job for P.J. he knows better how to set up all the wires. About 70 viewers watches the movie with an intense at a 2 meter screen. Note the "professional" green monitor left of the VCR.
And The Oscar Went To... The audience is delighted The End
And The Oscar Went To...
All our actors reciewed little oscars.
The audience is delighted. The truth is that what they liked best was the "Movie about making the movie". The End

Note: Most of the pictures shown are grabbed from stopped video.
Lesson: It's no good.

Finally the VHS tapes with our movie, trailer, the Movie about making the movie, documentary shots from the first show and with color packaging made it to "distribution". If you are interested, write us and we will send you the tape for 150 Kc (about $5) plus shipping.

tape WA


Finally! Our movie show too place on Wednesday, September 16th 1998 at 7pm in the Hvezda restaurant in the Bystrc, Brno's neighborhood. Whoever couldn't come, his fault, it was great. You can at least have a look at the invitation.

Since we took part in the Internet movie contest, Witches abroad were shown on June 6th 1999 in Prague's movie theater MAT! Audience was satisfactory, opinions about the movie as usual.

Our movie was shown at Brno's sci-fi convention Dracon '99.

Later we will show here some more pictures from the production and more clips from the movie itself.