Klasika | Jan Foukal: artists make the best-dressed tramps

Meet a collaborator...

Sometimes you plan your collaborators, and other times you pick each other out of a crowd by accident. Jan Foukal is a Czech filmmaker, director and musician, who makes music and multidisciplinary art events under the persona Johannes Benz. He is currently working on a feature documentary for HBO Europe called Czech Country, based on his search for contemporary tramping in the Czech countryside.

We met this past summer at a tramping event outside of Prague, where we were by far the youngest participants (if you exclude the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the tramps). We were also the best dressed, or at least the most 'picturesque' tramps on the scene, because both of us were, in a way, performing in costume as part of our research. This connection led to beers, which led to heroic ideas about art, and how it might be possible to find something new in an aging culture.

The odd upshot of this story is that I will be performing and narrating in Czech Country alongside Jan. The hope is that this process will grow into a reciprocal collaboration, with Jan contributing to the making of Klasika.  Certainly, the experience of suddenly co-starring in a documentary about my research subject (!) will make for rich, possibly hilarious material. We're gonna be big in Europe, bejbe! At the very least, I hope to make some Czech people eat s'mores, on camera.

You can watch clips of Jan's films at the Doc Alliance webpage