Born in 1947 in Děčín, Czech Republic, Jiří Bartoška is one of the most acclaimed Czech theater, TV and film actors and a long-term President of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the leading film event in Central and Eastern Europe.
After graduating from Academy of Fine Arts of Brno, JAMU, where he studied acting, Bartoška stayed for a year at a famous Brno Theater Divadlo na provázku (later known as Husa na provázku). In 1973, he moved to Ústí nad Labem in Northern Bohemia. He acted in Činoherní studio. His Prague career starts five years later with a contract at the prestigious Na zábradlí Theater. This scene becomes his home till 1991, when he leaves the theater together with several of his colleagues and establishes the new scene, Bez Zábradlí Theater. Despite his other numerous activities, he still acts in this theater till today.
Jiří Bartoška is also known for his TV and film roles as well as for dubbing famous foreign actors (including e.g. Gregory Peck) or doing the voiceover for documentaries.
He was awarded the Czech national film award, Czech Lion, for his part in the film All My Loved Ones by Matěj Mináč, which he also produced together with Rudolf Biermann.
Since 1994, he is the President of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which is ranked by FIAPF among the most prestigious world film festivals and is considered the most important film event in Central and Eastern Europe. When Bartoška took the festival over, it was a dying event with no drive, no future and little audience. During the years, he and his team managed to change this and organize an annual event that thanks to its highly-regarded programming, quality facilities, and unique atmosphere became the key place for buyers, distributors, festival programmers, sales agents, journalists, and filmmakers.
Jiří Bartoška was - like many Czechs back in the Communist times, when cinema offer was more than poor - enchanted with Zafranović's "An Occupation in 26 Pictures". When Zafranović escaped his homeland and came to Prague in 1995, he and Bartoška met and became friends. Bartoška wanted to help as much as he could, so he advised one of the leading Czech scriptwriters, Dr. Šašek, who had just written a script of a chamber piece Lacrimose / Vengeance Is Mine, to address Lordan and let him direct the film. Czech TV was backing the film and Zafranović could choose from the best Czech actors and crew members. Bartoška was to play the lead. Lordan was a Palm d'Or nominee, so the expectations were really high.
However, Zafranović was unhappy with the script and after the producers did not respond to his constant requests for having it changed, Lordan started to re-write it himself. Every night, so in the morning, his actors received a completely new version they never saw or rehearsed before… The finished film was a big disappointment to everyone and put an end to a friendship between Bartoška and Zafranović who was also banned from working for the Czech TV again.
Selected filmography (actor):
Čierne ovce (1973), Noc klavíristy (1976), Na veliké řece (1977), Osada Havranů (1977), Volání rodu (1977), Stíny horkého léta (1977), Cesta kolem mé hlavy (1984), V žáru královské lásky (1990), Svědek umírajícího času (1990), Krvavý román (1992), Hellimadoe (1994), Má je pomsta (1995), Je třeba zabít Sekala (1998), Všichni moji blízcí (1999), Příběhy obyčejného šílenství (2005), Líbáš jako Bůh (2009)