During one of the press and industry receptions we were asked to wear name tags and write on the tag what film best describes your life. I looked around and everyone had completed the task and seemed to enjoy the ice breaker idea. I happened to catch the eye of a darling young couple standing together looking aimlessly. I approached them and asked if they were filmmakers. The tall young man, Max (Maximilian Mauff), answered with a German accent and told me that they were both actors in a film showing among the selected features category at the festival called Absurdistan. Their film was on my list to screen and now that I had met the two of them my interest was peeked. My next words were spoken in German which surprised him and led to a nice conversation. It was so fun to see him come alive speaking his mother tongue with someone outside his film group. I asked Krístýna Maléřová if she would be available for a short interview sometime and Max says, “How about now?” I was a little surprised since the atmosphere was like a party and I did not want to interrupt their plans. Max added, “Why not? We are here to plug the film and it is good for her to be interviewed.” She agreed and just before we headed for a corner in the room to talk, I met the rest of crew including director Viet Helmer. He wanted me to know that he was so proud of his star actress, Krístýna, which he had to weed thru almost hundred interviews to find her. His compliment was very charming and the perfect introduction to a delightful interview.
Karen Pecota (KP): What does it mean for you to be here at Sundance?
Krístýna Maléřová (KM): It is like a big adventure to be here in Utah and to be meeting with so many people who are very good in the professional life of the film business. I enjoy being surrounded by all these different people.
KP: I notice that you have an accent in your English, where are you from?
KM: I was born in Roznov pod Rahostem, Czech Republic, in 1985.
KP: How did you get into acting for the stage?
KM: I wanted to be an actress as a child. I studied acting at the Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava. After I finished my studies I was hired at the Theater of Cesky Tesin. I have preformed there for four years now in roles like Joan of Arc and Jill Tanner (L. Gershe—Butterflies are Free). I have been acting now for five years.
KP: Do you mind me asking how old you are?
KM: Oh, No!… I am 22.
KP: How were you chosen for the film? What was the casting like for you with this film?
KM: My agent thought I might enjoy trying something different. As soon as director Viet Helmer saw me audition, he knew I was his girl and hired me straight away. It was nice because I wasn’t like a number to him. Helmer’s people took very good care of me. This was a pleasant experience for me.
KP: Yes, he just mentioned that he searched the world over for someone like you and was thrilled to find you, his dream girl. Congratulations! That is a very nice compliment from such a renowned director.
KP: What was different about your role as a first time film actress compared to acting on the stage?
KM: Acting on stage, live, it is just you and your lines…you have to know them so well because if you make a mistake, you have no one to blame but yourself and you must carry on. You can’t stop in the middle of a scene if you forget a line or two and tell the audience that you have to do that over again…No, you have to improvise on the spot. Therefore, it often isn’t perfect so you are challenged to figure out how you will continue. A live performance is so invigorating. In film, if something is done incorrectly or not the way the director prefers, then they stop and you do it over until you get it right so that it is perfect. With stage acting the actor is in control of their performance. With film, a lot of other people are in control of the performance. It is invigorating for me to be in control of the flow with my performance. I like that challenge!
KP: Do you have a particular entertainment mentor who you hope to aspire?
KM: Yes, I look up to a famous Czech actress LiBuše Šafráanková. And, well, I am still young and hope to mature in my acting abilities from a number of actors who have preceded me in theater. And I would like to someday sing and dance on stage as well…but I like to be around the actors from my theater and I am learning from them every day.
KP: What was one difficult aspect of your performance in this film?
KM: Acting in front of the camera was very new to me. It was a different style of acting that I knew nothing about. Thankfully, I learned quickly to adapt and eventually became comfortable with acting in front of the camera but it was a learning process. It was a challenge.
KP: Recall something you enjoyed while making this film?
KM: There were actors from eighteen different countries and it was so fun to learn about the countries they were from just by getting to know them while filming. I loved it! For example: one time we had a big party and everyone had to explain folklores of their country or talk about a favorite food from their country. It was fascinating! I will never forget those times.
KP: What was it like to work with a German actor like Max?
KM: (smiling) If was very different. Max is younger than me and doesn’t always look or act his age. So it is not a problem for me because he is a man and I am a woman and get along . I like Max because he enjoys my company and we have a good friendship. He is also very kind and watches out for me. It is funny because he enjoys being a star and has fun with that role in public. Therefore, I have fun too.
KP: Would you like to act in another film?
KM: Well, of course I would be open to another offer but I don’t know if one will come my way again. For now, I will continue my acting on the stage.
KP: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you, Krístýna?
KM: (smiling then uttering a sweet giggle) Oh! I think it is enough?