20. February 2019

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2018 was one of the strongest years since the start of the incentive program (2010) as regards the number of projects and total spending by foreign productions filmed in the Czech Republic. Forty foreign series and films spent over 1000 shooting days at Czech locations and studios, with an outlay of nearly CZK 5 billion (approx. EUR 195 million/USD 220 million).

Series, series, and more series Last year was yet another banner year for series following the “series-rich” years of 2016 and 2017. Early in 2018, Das Boot (Sky) and Carnival Row (Amazon) finished up shooting here. Throughout the year, the second season of the historical series Knightfall (History Channel) and the new BBC series World on Fire, set during the second World War, took shape. The Czech Republic also played host to two horror-supernatural series: Lore (Amazon) and Haunted (Netflix). The shooting of the latter took place almost entirely and literally with Czechs at the helm. Director Jan Pavlacký as well as the entire creative crew were all local film professionals, including DoP Marek Dvořák, set designer Martin Martinec, costume designer Josef Čechota, and make-up designer Linda Eisenhamerová. Last year, the first clappers fell on two series whose shooting has extended into 2019: American action series Whisky Cavalier, which airs from February 27 on ABC in the United States, and the period series Atlantic Crossing, a Norwegian-German co-production, will continue filming here until June. “In most cases, they're filming entire seasons of six or more parts over several months, which is a sign that the producers choose our country not only for its locations but for the entire range of audiovisual production services we provide here in the Czech Republic. The fact they return is confirmation of this," said Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the State Fund for Cinematography. “In 2018, production of foreign series spent nearly 500 shooting days here, with a financial outlay of almost CZK 3.2 billion (EUR 125 million/USD 141 million). Series production accounted for about 65% of total foreign production in 2018,” added Pavlína Žipková, head of the Czech Film Commission.

No shortage of interesting film projects Successful New Zealand director Taika Waititi shot his feature film Jojo Rabbit in the Czech Republic from May to July 2018 with a star-studded ensemble cast led by Scarlett Johansson. The film, a German-American co-production under the umbrella of Fox Searchlight Pictures, spent 40 shooting days here. Liberec experienced its most significant and most challenging shoot to date. It took place in the second half of September – filming of scenes for the blockbuster Spider-Man: Far From Home took over the entire square in front of the town hall for nearly a week. The local film office acted as the central communications coordinator between the town hall, its various departments, city institutions, and the production companies. Pilsen also experienced a large-scale shoot back in early 2018 for the French biographical film Edmond, about playwright Edmond Rostand, focusing on the local theatre. As has become a yearly tradition, several Scandinavian film projects shot here: the Norwegian biopic Amundsen and the film Askeladden - I Soria Moria Slott, the sequel to the fantasy spectacle for the whole family which was filmed here in 2016 and released under the English title The Ash Lad: In the Hall of the Mountain King. Scenes for the drama I Krig & Kærlighed, a Danish/German/Czech co-production set during World War I, were also shot here last year. The movie has just recently won an award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in the United States. "German productions traditionally rank among the highest numbers of foreign projects; in most cases, they're TV productions. Last year, fourteen projects were shot here in which Germany featured as producer or co-producer. German productions spent almost 400 shooting days and CZK 960 million [EUR 37 million/USD 42 million] here,” calculated Žipková of the Czech Film Commission. Also included among the German projects were two feature films heading for theatrical distribution - the film Als Hitler das rosa Kanninchen stahl and an adaptation of Hermann Hesse's novel Narziss und Goldmund.

"Foreign producers are increasingly putting our filmmakers into decisionmaking and leadership positions in the creative and technical professions. An example is the series Haunted for Netflix (US), where the director's role was entrusted to Czech Jan Pavlacký, which we consider a great success," said Pavlina Žipková. Czech film architects have traditionally enjoyed great renown. Ondřej Nekvasil and Martin Kurel gained international recognition through film awards. Nekavsil, for example, received awards for the production design of the series Knightfall and the film Underworld: Blood Wars. Last year, Kurel was, among other things, the art director of the Norwegian film Amundsen, which also featured costumes by Czech designer Michaela Horáčková Hořejší. “We really enjoy working with [Czechs] – the country has a great international reputation among film professionals as a place with highly skilled film craftspeople, and on this project, we even had Czechs in key artistic roles," said the Norwegian producer of the film Amundsen Espen Horn. Architect Ondřej Lipenský has also received recognition for his work as art director for the filming of Jojo Rabbit and the series Carnival Row. “The set design and staging are excellent in the Czech Republic. Truly some of the best I’ve ever worked with,” praised director Jon Amiel, who shot four episodes of Carnival Row in the Czech Republic.