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The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini Wins Czech Television Prize

Date: 2023-09-29

The Dark Secret of Mr. Paganini Wins Czech Television Prize

ORF-Enterprise announces the documentary film The Dark Secret of Mr Paganini has been awarded with the “Czech Television Prize” at the 60th Edition of the Golden Prague Festival. By: Wee Yan Ling

Distributed by ORF-Enterprise


Prague, Vienna - The 60th edition of the Golden Prague Festival commenced on September 20, 2023. The festival stood as a longstanding tradition to the television and theatre industry for decades, putting into spotlight the excellence in dance, drama, music documentaries, concert recordings and stage performances. 


It was held at the New Stage of the National Theatre and was broadcasted by Czech Television. Five jury members were present to hand-pick the best of the best submissions of producers and television companies globally. 


Among the many submissions, The Dark Secret of Mr Paganini emerged as the winner for the Czech Television Prize. Representing ORF-Enterprise, Marion Camus-Oberdorfer, Director of Acquisitions & Distribution Investment, accepted the prize on behalf of ORF, ARTE and Felix Breisach Medienwerkstatt together with the head of ORF TV, Martin Traxl. 


The film explores the life of Niccolò Paganini, a renowned composer and violin virtuoso of the early 19th century. His success was not only due to his exceptional musical talent but also a hidden secret within a wooden box he carried on his European travels. This box contained unique "Italian strings," revered for their divine sound, controlled by the Vatican. Paganini's secret supply helped persecuted Protestant artists. The documentary concludes that the allure of these strings lies in the interplay of human imperfection and the completeness of nature, challenging the pursuit of musical perfection.

The jury's statement: "The film represents an exciting, revelatory, but also hugely entertaining journey in search of what makes the sound of old violins and other string instruments unique – a secret ultimately hidden not so much in their wood but, rather surprisingly, in the material used for their strings, which comes from animals, and the method by which these strings are manufactured. For centuries, this was an anxiously guarded secret; the makers of this film have found a captivating way to let their audience peek behind the curtain.”

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