Czech Film Makers and Film Fund Present Incentives in Hollywood
An increase of film incentives up to 25 percent, higher standards of service for film crews as well as for those still considering shooting in the Czech Republic in following years, those were the main points of negotiations led by the members of Audiovisual Producers’ Association (APA) and representatives of the Czech Film Fund last week in Los Angeles. “We are aware of a highly competitive environment not just in Europe and the Czech film industry is trying to succeed and maintain a prominent position on the market. This is why we are discussing a more favorable adjustment of the film incentive system. In future, we would like to increase the incentive to the 25 percent level to meet the challenge of other countries with comparable level of film services,”said Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the director of the Czech Film Fund.
During the last week, Czech producers and representatives of the Czech Film Fund met with members of Hollywood studios and streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Studios. Present at the talks were also ‘the majors’ of the big six -- Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Sony and NBC Universal-- and a wide range of independent producers and internet content providers, who have been lately often moving their film and series productions to Europe. These transnational companies with annual billion-dollar revenues produce their own audiovisual content and reach markets worldwide. “Production in the Czech Republic draws a lot of interest and Prague has maintained a great reputation. In recent years, combining the good quality service, local creativity and competitive price of our film crews turned out to be an ideal especially for the creation of the series,”Tomáš Krejčí (Milk and Honey Films)summed up the negotiations.
In collaboration with the Czech Consulate in LA, the Czech Film Fund and APA invited U.S. producers to a business breakfast, in which the Czech film industry was presented followed by a panel discussion. “We have introduced to American colleagues our intention to raise the rebate percentage and I believe that along with our fantastic crews and our capabilities, of which the U.S. counterparts are fully aware, this step brings us back to the very top of world film destinations; a place, the Czech Republic had been occupying until the massive introduction of incentives among the EU countries between the years 2000-2004,”added Helena Bezděk Fraňkova.
“We have demonstrated a high level of service, ingenuity and first-rate expertise in all our film professions, including English speaking persons in charge of all departments ranging from camera, film architects or costume to postproduction supervisors, which makes it possible to shoot a great quality film with almost exclusively local filmmakers,” stated Pavlína Žipková, head of the Czech Film Commission.
The U.S. producer Carnival Row Gideon Amir agrees. Amazon Studios shot the series in the Czech Republic between October 2017 and March 2018 and currently the final scenes are about to be shot. According to estimates, the creators of the series will spend about CZK1.6 billion on the so called eligible costs, i.e. for the services and goods paid to the Czechs. “The Czech Republic has a fantastic film base. As for artistic craftsmanship, there is no assignment that Czech filmmakers cannot manage. For anything – literally whatever you want from them – they always have an ingenious solution,”said Gideon Amir about the Czech filmmakers.
The accuracy of the above-mentioned benefits was backed at a panel discussion attended also by a leading U.S. authority on film incentives Joseph Chianese. The director of Carnival Row, Jon Amiel, the showrunner of the series Lore, Sean Crouch, and the producer the movie Underworld: Blood Wars, Richard Right, shared their experience in shooting in the Czech Republic. Assuming that the Czech Republic increases the current rebate from 20 to 25 percent and the system is both sustainable and predictable, international investors are considering a possible investment into the film infrastructure, primarily the construction of studios including technical facilities. This idea was also supported by Mark Binke, NBCU Executive Vice President.