Film incentives in the Czech Republic attracted double the number of productions last year compared to 2018.
Almost 80 international productions, encompassing both films and series, were shot in the Czech Republic, generating revenues of €363 million (CZK 9 billion), while the largest proportion was spent by streaming giants Netflix and Amazon.
Among the most significant projects shot in 2019 were the second season of Amazon’s steampunk gothic fantasy Carnival Row, starring Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom (shot primarily in Prague), and the epic high-fantasy show The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Production work on both projects will continue during 2020 as well.
“Foreign productions alone almost doubled in comparison to 2018, and are at their highest peak since we began monitoring this particular indicator. For the state, it is most advantageous to provide as many film incentives as possible because higher incentives generate higher returns for the Czech economy,” says Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the Czech Film Fund.
The array of projects shot in the Czech Republic includes the family film A Boy Called Christmas, the fantasy series The Letter for the King, the sci-fi drama Tribes of Europa (filmed for Netflix), the mystery thriller Shadowplay, the second season of the wartime drama Das Boot and the second season of the comedy series Miracle Workers, starring Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe.
“In 2018, series made up about 65% of the total; in 2019, that increased to nearly 80%. More and more often, entire series are filmed here, not just several or even individual episodes, as was the case in the past.
The primary attraction for foreign producers is, and will be, film incentives – there’s no question about it. But the wide variety of Czech locations, the architectural diversity and more factors also play a huge role, not to mention our highly skilled Czech craftsmen. Our film professionals are some of the best in the world,” says Pavlína Žipková, head of the Czech Film Commission.
Foreign productions spent over 1,400 shooting days in the Czech Republic, and the Czech Film Fund paid a total of €48.3 million in incentives to 71 projects. According to the Czech Film Commission, Carnival Row is the current record holder, as the production incurred almost €68.5 million in eligible costs (during the period 2017-2019), receiving a €12 million refund from the Czech Film Fund.
The fund has already received 117 applications (112 applications were submitted in 2018 and 76 the year before) to register new projects to be shot in the country. These include not only turnkey production services for international films and series, but also co-produced projects.
Among the productions that have applied so far are Savage Detectives, Wayward Children, The Orville, Muppet Babies, the third season of Das Boot, Shadowplay 2, and domestic projects such as Jan Prušinovský’s Grand Prix (a European comedy road movie), Vojtěch Mašek’s project Arved (about a genius sentenced to life imprisonment for collaborating with a totalitarian regime, who uses his extraordinary memory to denounce old friends and summon the Devil), the Czech minority co-production Alma and Oskar (revolving around the passionate affair between the grande dame of Viennese society, Alma Mahler, and the enfant terrible of the Viennese art scene, Oskar Kokoschka), and the feature debut by Petr Slavík, the Czech-Slovak co-production Waltzing Matylda.