Caught in the Net, a documentary mapping how predators target teenagers online, has been the most successful film at Czech cinemas this year, with over 400,000 viewers to date. Now its makers have released an uncensored version where viewers get to experience the explicit images to which its protagonists – young adult women playing 12-year-old girls – are exposed. Producer Pavla Klimešová told me why.
“We decided to do the 18+ version because we were confronted by a lot of people who said that kids could see this content online and the adults that come to the cinema cannot.
“Also we met some who confessed that when they saw the film it took them a couple of minutes to realise that the ‘kids’ don’t see these explicit scenes blurred.”
People – mainly men – seen in the film trying to target young girls are still pixilated in the uncensored version. But from what I’ve been reading about it, viewers of the original 15s version have recognised some of these people, and their voices aren’t altered. So why are these apparent predators still pixilated in the new, uncensored version?
“When we decided to pixilate the faces of the men, it was because we didn’t want to put the blame on several people that are caught in our film – we wanted to open a broad discussion about this topic.
“We knew people – friends and family – might recognise them from their voices, but they were not going to be lynched outside on the street by people who don’t know them.”
Over 400,000 viewers have seen the original version at cinemas in the Czech Republic. What do you think explains this simply enormous success?
“I think one of the reasons why the film is so successful is the topic, because everybody kind of knew that child abuse online was a problem, but nobody realised how big the problem was.
“This opened the eyes of the audience and because of the topic, the film was covered in all the media and everybody talked about it.
“And another reason the film is so successful, I think, is the way it is made. It’s targeted at a mainstream audience. It’s made so that even people who don’t watch documentaries enjoy this film.
“We have a lot of feedback that some people come to see it again for a second or third time. And I think it’s proof that the film is made for a broad audience.”
I’ve had people from other countries asking me when they can see Caught in the Net. What are your plans for an international release for the film?
“But the film should be released in Germany at the end of October.
“We are also talking to other distributors around the world.
“A lot of territories are highly interested in the film, so I hope that it will be distributed, or available online, in other territories soon – probably at the beginning of next year.”