Kings of Šumava

An animated documentary feature film tells the remarkable story of Josef Hasil, an ordinary man who became a legend. This is a never-before-told tale of adventure and espionage, of heroism and moral choices that explores the struggle of one man against an authoritarian regime and the sacrifices he had to make.

Following WW2, Central Europe became the centre of an ideological power struggle between East and West. After the Communists came to power in Czechoslovakia in 1946 many people wanted to leave the country. There mote, mountainous border region of Šumava became a key route for people trying to escape to the West. Josef Hasil was a local policeman who became increasingly unhappy with the loss of freedom in his country and so began helping people across the border. And so the legend of the King of Šumava was born. Over the next few years, Hasil became a thorn in the side of the Communists. His exploits were legendary. His ability to move like a phantom and avoid capture gave him a supernatural aura.

The story plays out like a cinematic fusion of spy thriller and Western with shoot-outs, spy craft, betrayal and a tragic love affair, set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful mountain regions of central Europe.

The film will explore the relationship between the man and his own legend for the first time. Other survivors from both sides of the conflict will also be interviewed to give first-hand anecdotes and information. Archive footage along with visits to the actual locations and stylized animated recreations will support this.

Inspired by best selling book by David Jan Žák Return of King of Šumava.


  • Kris Kelly, scriptwriter and director
  • Jaromír Kačer, DOP
  • Anna Ryndová, editor