The origins of filmmaking in Zlin began during the early 1930s when, at the invitation of the Bata Company, Zlin welcomed the arrival of a screenwriter and playwright Elmar Klos, organizer and producer Ladislav Kolda and photographer, cameraman and editor Alexander Hackenschmied. The studio project was planned and implemented at a „Bata pace“, based on American examples, in less than a year. Other meaningful personalities quickly enriched the fundamental creative group.
The scope and significance of Zlin film creation quickly outgrew the original aim of its founder. Aside from advertisement, documentary and instructional film, other film genres ensued, such as tuitional, popular science, experimental, travelogue documentaries and animated films. We can state without exaggeration that the foundations of such world-renowned „Czech animation school“ were laid right here in Zlin and that almost all of the great personalities of Czech animated film began their careers here. By then, feature film production was just a stepaway from animated creation, and its world reputation came about thanks to the likes of Karel Zeman and Hermina Tyrlova.
The studios was privatised in the events following 1989-revolution and then became a part of Bonton Entertainment Group in 1998. From 2006 is ABZ a.s. separate corporation.
Laboratory film processing
The beginnings of laboratory film processing in Zlin reach back to the very origin of the film studio in the early 1930s. That was when the Bata Company founded its own studiofo advertisement films. At first the laboratories served to make their own productions. Work was mainly focused on advertisement production, and later on docomentary andinstructional films. Since 1942 it´s been a home to animated creation and feature film.
The years after the Second World brought an immediate boom. Although the operation wasní t on any large scale, but for its time it was madernly aquipped with its own methodology and technology for sensitometric measurements, enabling the possibility to develop, copy and reduce on both side 35 mm and 16 mm films. Soon its capacity couldn´t keep up with the work volume even during 24-hour operation. The decision to construct a new independent laboratory building correlated with the separation of laboratory operation from its own film production and its tranformation into a newly created enterprise: Film Laboratory Barrandov Praha. Production of mass distribution copies was entrusted to Zlin´s laboratories.
In 2000, the building underwent reconstruction with the aim of expanding its activity by special processing of archive image materials. This specialization led to creating a new first-class technology for copying damaged and shrunken film materials through an immersion process. Aside from the National Film Archive in Prague and foreing customers alike use these services.