Members of the Prague-based stuntwork group Filmka Stunt Team have won the Taurus Award in the category of Best Specialty Stunt for their work on the film All Quiet on the Western Front. This year’s Taurus Awards were announced in Los Angles over the weekend, though the annual ceremony did not take place due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
It’s the latest honor for Czech filmmakers who worked on the German Netflix production, following big scores at the BAFTAs, Oscars, and other award ceremonies earlier this year. Czech location managers were also recently awarded for their work on All Quiet on the Western Front at the Location Manager Guild Awards.
The Taurus Awards are the most prestigious honors in the area of stuntwork in motion pictures, often referred to as the Oscars of the stunt world. Perhaps surprisingly, the Academy Awards itself does not have a category honoring stuntwork; that’s something John Wick director Chad Stahelski, himself a former stunt performer, has been advocating to change.
Filmka Stunt Team won the Best Specialty Stunt award for a minutes-long sequence in the WWI film that showcases tanks and soldiers with flamethrowers attacking enemy trenches. The scene was filmed and edited with minimal post-production effects work, relying heavily on the stunt performers.
“The entire scene with the fire was filmed over the course of three shooting days,” Filmka’s Ladislav Lahoda told Czech News Agency.
“The main part of the scene, where soldiers are being burned in the trenches, was filmed in two shots that were later combined. The gasoline flamethrowers provided by the SFX team were operated by three different stuntmen.”
About 45 members of Filmka Stunt Team worked on All Quiet on the Western Front, with Marek Svitek serving as the primary stunt coordinator. Svitek, Pavel Bousek, Josef Jelínek, Jan Laukota, and Kamil Sghaier were awarded the Taurus Award as committee rules stipulate that teams of up to five people can be honored.
Also nominated for Best Specialty Stunt at this year’s Taurus Awards were the rainy motorcycle chase in The Batman, some heated stuntwork in Firestarter, a mountain climbing scene in The Fall, and a skydiving sequence in Hex. All Quiet on the Western Front was also nominated for Best Stunt Coordinator and/or Second-Unit Director, but lost out to the Jamie Foxx vampire movie Day Shift.
The Gray Man, which was also filmed in Prague, also scored a number of Taurus Award nominations, including Best Fight, Best Work with a Vehicle, and Best Stunt by a Stunt Woman, but ultimately left empty-handed.
Members of Filmka Stunt Team have previously been nominated at the Taurus Awards for their work in films such as U-571 and Shanghai Knights, worked on A Knight’s Tale, which picked up a pair of awards in 2002. Czech stunt performers have also worked on Taurus-winning features such as Casino Royale, Blade II, and xXx, in which Harry O’Connor tragically died after colliding into a Prague bridge during a stunt and was posthumously honored for his work.
The roots of Filmka Stunt Team date back to 1962, when a group of Czech stuntmen formed under Jaroslav Tomsa during production of the classic western parody Lemonade Joe. The group operated at Barrandov Studio through the 1990s, when they adopted the Filmka name.
After appearing in Prague-shot Hollywood productions such as The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in the early 1990s, about 20 members of Filmka were recruited to work on James Cameron’s Titanic alongside other stunt teams from around the world. They participated in some of the film’s most dangerous stunts, including those where people fell from the ship into the ocean.
The work on Titanic opened the doors for Filmka to major productions filmed outside of the Czech Republic, including Saving Private Ryan, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Gangs of New York, The Mummy Returns, and more.
Today, Filmka Stunt Team works with more than 100 stunt performers based in Prague, including drivers, fencers, martial arts specialists, divers, horse riders, and other technical proficiencies.