19 JAN 2021

NATPE MIAMI 2021: "RATS", A UNIQUE DRUG STORY FROM CENTRAL EUROPE

GoQuest Media is presenting the gripping crime thriller about the Czech drug trade in Natpe Miami. Señal News talked with Viktor Taus, producer and director of the series, and the screenwriter Miro Sifra, about the great title's success in Czech Republic and its international appeal.

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Viktor Taus, RATS' director and Miro Sifra, screenwriter

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Independent distributor GoQuest Media is offering the gripping crime thriller "RATS" about the Czech drug trade during Natpe Miami. The series is based on Jiří Vacek' book, one of the founders of the Czech Anti Narcotics Police and who himself worked as an informant in Italian mafia. "His experiences were the perfect starting point for a thrilling story- and at the same time, it gave me a chance to talk about the wider consequences of drugs and police work, which was of more interest to me than just a classic detective story," told Miro Sifra, screenwriter of the series to Señal News.

"RATS" it's a hard-hitting, complex, psychological multi-generational drama about the Czech drug trade from the acclaimed Czech film director Viktor Taus. "I was a drug addict in the 1990’s. Paradoxically, that was the reason why I didn't want to work on the 'RATS' series at first. Everything I wanted to say about drugs had already been said with my debut film from the 90s, 'My Detox'", confessed Taus. "However, after reading the scripts, I found that the drug underworld is more of a backdrop here - a consequence of the state of the society. It’s a deeply disturbing family drama with fascinating characters.", he completed. 

YOUNG GENERATIONS

The series aired on Ceska televize in Spring 2020 to great acclaim from a young audience. "The main character of 'RATS' is a 20-year-old boy who lives like he is in a hip-hop music video: he lives in a luxury apartment, rides in a golden Tesla, is his own boss and he doesn’t care about rules and laws. He and his silly best friend form a team who were immediately liked by the young audience.", explained Sifra.  "Together with contemporary visual language and fashionable music, these were the main reasons why this series was watched on public television by a generation that has not watched the channel for years. I was also proud that 'RATS' also appealed to a more mature audience too. We got the attention of viewers who like crime dramas in general and they seemed to connect with Petra, our older female protagonist." he added.

About the international appeal of “RATS”, Viktor Taus, highlighted "Other markets can repeat what we did in the Czech Republic: the young generation and their parents watched the series together here, so it has a broad international appeal. The conflicts that our characters go through are universally understandable while uniquely local at the same time. Whether we like it or not, young audiences are interested in the topic of drugs - and our series 'RATS' shows them how drugs are produced and distributed." said Sifra. "It is a look behind the curtain and at the consequences of drugs with understanding, not moralizing. Just as 'Narcos' is a hit among the young generation in the Czech Republic, even though it takes place on the opposite side of the globe, I hope there will be a foreign audience for a unique drug story from Central Europe. I think 'RATS' will certainly grab the attention of younger audiences but will also attract older viewers who love a thriller.", he declared.

DIFFERENCES WITH OTHER NARCO SERIES

Audiences from all over the world have seen hit narco series such us "Narcos''; "Pablo Escolar, El Patrón del mal''; "Gomorrah" and "Breaking Bad" but regarding the director, "Walter White, Pablo Escobar and the boys from Gomorrah can learn a lot from the local Vietnamese mafia." Taus explained that the differences between 'RATS' and other narco series are that RATS is a family drama that just pretends to be a crime story. "It is about three sick egos and their illusions and where they will lead them. The character and their human nature were of great interest to me, much more than just filming another procedural crime drama." The second thing that’s different about "RATS" is the local context. "The Czech drug scene is so well known that it’s also mentioned in possibly the best Narco series about drugs 'Breaking Bad' - as the biggest producer of meth.", he said. "'RATS' pretends to be a detective story, but in reality, it is more of a family drama, with our own local Czech twist.", concluded Sifra.

By Romina Rodríguez