17. September 2019

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The film Jojo Rabbit, which was shot last year by New Zealand director Taika Waititi in the Czech Republic, won a major award at the Toronto International Cinema Festival – the Grolsch Global People’s Choice Award, which is considered a barometer of possible success at the Oscars.
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Waititi worked on his film in the Czech Republic for several months, shooting from May 28th to July 22nd 2018, a total of 40 filming days, though preparations had been underway since March. Five additional days of winter touches followed in the spring of 2019. “We chose the Czech Republic for its locations, especially the historical towns, the quality of the crews and studios, and the overall good level of services that you need for international crews and actors. But the incentives you provide played a crucial role for us,” said film producer Carthew Neal. Taika Waititi collaborated on the the film with his seasoned colleagues who had also worked on his previous projects. His international crew complemented about 160 Czech film professionals. A number of local filmmakers held key positions in the crew, such as Kevan Van Thompson as executive producer, Václav Mottl as production manager, Mark Taylor as 1st AD and Martin Gotthansová as 2nd AD, Radek Hanák as supervising art director, Kateřina Polanská as costumes supervisor, and Andrea McDonald as make-up supervisor. Among others were sound engineer Petr Forejt, gaffer Dan Kutaj, for special effects Martin Kulhánek and as stunt coordinator Radek Bruna.

Filming at Czech locations and studios was provided by production company Czech Anglo Productions, which participated, among others, in the films The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017), Unlocked (2017) and The Musketeers series (2014–2016). It was filmed both at Barrandov Studio and on location in Žatec, Úštěk, Kytín, Dolní Beřkovice, Hořín, Lenešice, and in Prague, for example, at the Petschek Palace. “We filmed 20 days at Barrandov, and on stage number 7 we built interior decorations. Almost half of the filming days were spent at locations outside Prague, with the longest time spent in Žatec,” said executive producer Kevan Van Thompson of Czech Anglo Productions. “We are grateful to Žatec Town Hall and the people of the town for giving us such an amazing reception. The director and his entire crew very much enjoyed their stay in Žatec, which is a great film backdrop for period pictures like ours. What’s more, everyone was extremely accommodating and cooperative," he added. The production spend in the Czech Republic amounted to almost CZK 200 million on an incentive of nearly CZK 36 million. “In addition to the economic contribution of foreign productions to the Czech economy, another benefit of the film incentives is the fact that we are filming films and serials here that achieve global success – and so promote not only the Czech film industry but also the country itself. Thanks to these successes, they know and talk about us and the Czech filmmakers abroad, which draws the attention of other producers,” said Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the Czech Film Fund. We are working with the Ministry of Culture to streamline the funding of film incentives so that the Czech Republic can continue to profit from their economic benefits,” she added. The producers of Jojo Rabbit, along with Taika Waititi, are Carthew Neal (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, 2016) and Chelsea Winstanley (What We Do in the Shadows, 2014). The film was made under the wings of Fox Searchlight Pictures. The stellar ensemble, led by Scarlett Johansson, includes last year’s Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017), Thomasin McKenzie (The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, 2014) and Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones, 2011–2017). Making his actingdebut in the central role of the boy is the talented Roman Griffin Davis. The film is scheduled for release in the US on October 18th, 2019.