Czech Film Industry Support Programme Launched!
Film makers will get back 20% of the money spent on film making in the Czech Republic. That is a message to both foreign and Czech film makers. They will request the return of financing through the Czech Ministry of Culture and they have to submit the so-called cultural test, which will prove whether the film has artistic qualities. In autumn 2009 the Czech government put CZK 400 million (just below EUR 16 million) into a fund called the Film Industry Support Programme. A similar sum should appear in this fund for film makers in the following years.
The Czech Republic is launching the Film Industry Support Programme. In the European Union the support of selected industry fields is a controversial issue due to market protection and competition, but film is an exception. After the introduction of incentives for the film industry in not only neighbouring EU member states, the Czech Republic lost its long-time privileged position on the list of destinations for foreign film productions. Five and more years ago the situation was entirely different. At that time there was no funding for the support of the film industry in European countries and the Czech Republic was among the most attractive destinations of film makers, who utilised the high professionalism of Czech film workers and a wide selection of locations. After other countries had started to lure film makers with state-funded rebates, Czech ateliers started to languish. The largest decrease of production investment in the Czech Republic was between 2002 and 2008.
The new programme is attractive
In June 2010 the European Commission averted this development by adopting the Film Industry Support Programme. Relevant information for foreign investors can be found at the web pages of the Czech Ministry of Culture – www.ppfpen.cz. Applicants can submit their Application for support from the Programme to the registry of the Ministry of Culture. According to the Ministry, the aim of the Programme is the support of film production in the Czech Republic and the increase of the competitiveness of Czech film industry on the European and international scale. It is also an additional source for the financing of Czech national cinematography, and indirectly the Programme is aimed at the support of regional development and support of small and medium-sized companies, small entrepreneurs, and professions with high added value.
Why come filming in the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic has many towns, natural and historical sights suitable for film projects concentrated on a small area. It is not only Prague, which offers a mixture of architectural styles, but also the interesting countryside with its lakes, forests, and mountains.
The key asset for a large number of foreign productions are the excellent qualifications of staff in this sector. At the moment, foreign film crews are almost solely staffed by Czech workers (for example Czech stunt performers are among the best in the world in the film industry and they have participated in challenging scenes in many world epics such as Saving Private Ryan or Titanic) and the heads of individual crew departments are also often Czech.
The number and extent of film crews, which is unheard of in other similar countries, also speaks for the sector of foreign productions – the number of capable and experienced stage crew members is sufficient enough so that several large productions can be taking place in the Czech Republic at the same time at any given moment. Established facilities such as Barrandov Studios, Prague Studios, or the Prague branch of Stillking Films are comfortable and effective places for production. Film tradition, which is a part of the history of the country, has nurtured workers in the field of construction and set who are thanks to their qualification capable of working fast and at a high level.
The Programme guarantees that 20% of eligible costs will not be paid out until the “investor–producer” invests his financial means into Czech services and goods. He will then carry out an audit of his expenses. Applications are processed in accordance with the date upon which the applications are received. This system encourages producers to lodge applications on time. A significant feature of the Programme is that grants are paid after the completion of the project (i.e. after spending funds in the Czech Republic).
Selection of film epics filmed in the Czech Republic:
Mission Impossible (1996)
Joan of Arc (1999)
Hart’s War (2002)
Van Helsing (2004)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
James Bond: Casino Royale (2008)
Film is returning to the Czech Republic
Film producers are excited. Helena Uldrichová, the managing director of the Audiovisual Producers’ Association, for example says, “It is a very positive message to the whole film industry and a great chance to maintain several thousands of jobs. I can confirm that with the announcement of the incentive the Czech Republic’s attractiveness has increased.”
Many global film epics were filmed in the Czech Republic, for instance The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Wanted, or the Bond movie Casino Royale. Smaller producers aimed at European or Asian co-productions will also profit. The impact for services such as transport, hotels, or catering will also be significant. According to the Audiovisual Producers’ Association materials, each crown spent during filming will return another crown into related services.
Czech Business and Trade 3/2010