14. July 2023

Alternativní text obrázku

The Czech Film Commission considers the nomination a huge success. The credit goes to the entire film crew including the location agency Lokacni.cz, but also to the Prague City Council, Prague districts 1, 3, 7 and 8, Prague Public Transit Company and Rudolfinum. Thanks also to the residents of Prague. Together we create an environment that is friendly to international productions. 

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Photo: Stanislav Honzík/Netflix © 2022

10th Annual Location Professionals Awards

On June 30 The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI)  announced the nominations for the 10th annual awards, which will be presented on August 26 in Santa Monica, California.

Each year, LMGI recognizes the creative contributions of location professionals and film commissions to audiovisual works from around the world. This year's awards are also a celebration of the association's 20th anniversary.

The Czech Film Commission's nomination is a credit to the entire crew

We are delighted that the Czech Film Commission is among the 6 nominees in the Outstanding Film Commission category for its contribution to The Gray Man, which was filmed in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2021.

We thank the LMGI for recognizing our work. We regard the nomination as a great success and honor. It is a wonderful gift for us on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of establishing the Czech Film Commission next year.

However, the credit for this success goes primarily to the Czech filmmakers, the entire crew and all those who worked on the film, whom we would like to thank for their excellent work. 

The Gray Man was service-produced by the Czech Stillking Films for Netflix, AGBO and Roth Kirschenbaum Films.

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Photo: Stanislav Honzík/Netflix © 2022

Location management, art department and camera crew

The amazing locations were chosen by the experienced location manager Robert Mehrle from the Lokacni.cz agency together with his colleagues - Pavel Mrkous, Jan Zuska, Ondřej Křůpala, Martin Svoboda, Lukáš Škoda, Ondřej Novák, Ondřej Uhlík, Gabriela Řezáčová and assistants to locations Rosťa Samec, Lukáš Bucman, Matěj Šporoch and Marek Podhorský.

The final look of the film is the work of the art department headed by production designers Dennis Gassner and Chris Lowe, and art directors Neil Callow, Martina Ter Akopowa, Pavel Krejčí, Tomáš Roztočil and Theodora Ter Akopowa. LMGI´s appreciation and our thanks go equally to the camera crew headed by cinematographer Steve Windon.

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Photo: Netflix / Czech News Agency / Miloš Ruml

International productions are welcome in Prague

"The fact that part of the film takes place in Prague is not the main reason," said national film commissioner Pavlína Žipková about the fact that the Czech Republic managed to get the project. "Prague could be subbed for by Vienna or Warsaw and other Central European cities, including our own Liberec, as happened, for example, in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).  “Just as Prague often subs for German cities and Vienna, Zurich, Paris or Moscow," she added.  In addition to  production incentives and variable locations, one of the key reasons why international productions come here to shoot is because of the talented Czech filmmakers.

In the original script, Prague was not supposed to be Prague. After the first location scouting, it was decided that Prague should not sustain an event of this scale without playing itself. Therefore, the story was rewritten to acknowledge Prague.

Producer of The Gray Man and Extraction 2 Patrick Newall said of the Czech filmmakers and filming in the Czech Republic: „Prague is an incredible place to visit but an even better place to make a film. The crew‘s and studio‘s warm, straightforward and welcoming attitude makes you feel right at home. We are incredibly grateful to the Czech Film Fund and Czech Film Commission for hosting us here and making this a hugely successful part of our production.“

Newall also told magazín Forbes, "Czech filmmakers can tackle unexpected challenges. For example, turning an industrial estate near Prague into Bangkok and in a short time."

In an interview with journalist Nick Schager, one of the directors Anthony Russo described how the talented crew handled the most challenging scene of the massive shootout, a car chase, and a tram fight:  “With that sequence, it was pretty much everything. If you count that sequence from the time in the square through the chase on the tram, we used to refer to that as our movie-within-the-movie.

It just requires so many people to achieve that, so much real estate, so many vehicles. Just with that tram, for example, we were shooting on Prague’s actual city tram on the city streets, and we built a bus that would look exactly like the tram but ran on wheels, because sometimes we needed the tram to move faster or we needed to work on certain streets that, because of restrictions, didn’t have tracks, or because it was safer, depending on what we were doing. We also had a version of that tram that was built on an outside lot in Prague, surrounded by blue screen, where the tram would shake and we could shoot there. We were shooting on all those locations with our actors and our stunt performers.

It’s just massively complicated. It took weeks and weeks and weeks to execute. But again, our entire team loves making movies as much as we do, they love action movies as much as we do, and so a sequence like that is an incredible creative opportunity for everyone involved – including the actors. It’s the kind of thing that everybody really goes for.”

Photo: Stanislav Honzík/Netflix © 2022

Great cooperation with the City Hall, Prague districts 1, 3, 7 and 8 and the Prague Transit City Company

The Gray Man was shot in the Czech Republic exclusively on locations, none of the scenes were filmed indoors or in a studio. Necessary permits had to be negotiated for all locations and the process had to be coordinated with the relevant institutions.                     

We would like to thank the Prague City Hall and the city councils of Prague 1, 3, 7 and 8, with whom the production negotiated all the permits, as well as the police and fire brigade for their excellent cooperation.

The filmmakers could not have done without the excellent cooperation with the Prague Transit City Company: "Without the enthusiastic cooperation with its employees, the filming would not have been possible. I would also like to pay tribute to the former head of the dispatching department, Jan Cibulka," says location manager Robert Mehrle.

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Photo: Netflix / Czech News Agency / Miloš Ruml

Prague transformed into Bangkok

Prague became one of the main locations of the film. Filming took place in Průhonice, Holešovice, Smíchov, Žižkov, Karlín, Nové Město, Malá Strana and in nearby Milovice nad Labem.

"Unfortunately, we won't be filming in the regions, the shooting schedule is extremely tight and it was necessary to find everything in one place, which Prague provided. But Prague is not only playing itself, the film will also feature Bangkok, one other central European city and one Asian country," Pavlína Žipková explained to ČT24 during the filming.

Shooting with the least possible restrictions on residents

In Prague 1, the traffic obstructions were planned mainly for the weekends and the public holidays of 5 and 6 July. The two-day closure of Náměstí Republiky was prepared to coincide with the planned tram closure. 

For safety reasons, security guards were on the locations of the action scenes and, if necessary, always asked local residents to wait up to 5 minutes before being allowed to enter the closed zone. The production also respected the night-time quiet and, for example, scenes with explosions were filmed during daylight hours only.

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Photo: Stanislav Honzík/Netflix © 2022

The film production and the Prague districts informed the public

For better information and easier orientation, Prague 1 operates a special website filmpraha1.cz, which provides information on current filming, parking and alternative parking options. At the same time, the website highlights the benefits of film productions, whether it is a contribution to the state or municipal budget or the expenditure of the productions in local hotels and restaurants or hiring extras, using transport and other services.

The Prague 7 and Prague 8 districts also informed residents about the filming and the temporary restrictions on their websites. The production also informed the public through massive leaflet campaigns, which the districts drew attention to in their local newspapers. Leaflets were targeted for distribution in residents' mailboxes and a bilingual telephone hotline was in operation with information about the filming, any restrictions and alternative parking. The location agency proposed a system of granting alternative parking to hundreds of residents with parking cards on the basis of voucher distribution, without which the filming could not have been organised at all in the centre of Prague, which stru with a shortage of parking spaces.

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Photo: Netflix / Czech News Agency / Miloš Ruml

Acknowledgements to the people of Prague

Production in Prague involved extensive street closures. We would therefore like to thank the forgiving residents of Prague who tolerated traffic restrictions on the streets during the shoot. Without their understanding and cooperation, our work and that of the filmmakers would not have been possible.

Thank you for helping us to create a welcoming environment in the Czech Republic for international film productions, which employ thousands of people in our country and bring billions of crowns of foreign investment into the various non-film industries from which they source services and goods.

The Czech Film Commission's work on the film a year before shooting

The Prague leg of the shoot took 18 shooting days in June and July 2021. However, the film obviously took much longer to make. "It is one of the projects we have been living with for more than a year," Pavlína Žipková told ČT24 in June 2021.

The Czech Film Commission has been pursuing this major project since March 2020. Based on a list of motifs and countries where the action thriller is set in the present day, the Czech Film Commission has put together a package of information in cooperation with  regional film offices. This included selected locations, information about the  Czech production incentives program and the benefits of filming in the Czech Republic.

The film project was successfully acquired for the Czech Republic and the foreign production spent CZK 752,035,779 in the Czech Republic, drawing a production incentive of CZK 139,781,599. In terms of total budget, it was the largest feature film made in the Czech Republic up to that time.

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Photo: Netflix / Czech News Agency / Petr Malina

The greatest challenge

"Film production is sometimes full of challenges and unexpected problems, and one of the most important aspects is the cohesion of the crew, which often numbers hundreds of people. Comparing a film crew to a musical orchestra is no exaggeration," says Pavlína Žipková.

Robert Mehrle adds: "The Gray Man was one big challenge, from closing a decent part of the city center to 2 units shooting at the same time, when we had to solve the city traffic detours due to very extensive traffic restrictions. Every project opens up a variation of requirements and we enjoy immensely facing all the pitfalls involved in finding a solution. Even if it means we have to literally camp out in the hallways of City Hall to catch an official without whose signature we can't do without. The Gray Man added to my gray hair, but it was worth it. It was a great piece of work and brilliantly organized and timed, the action scenes would never have been shot if the timing hadn't worked as it should.”

Nomination for All Quiet on the Western Front for the LMGI Award

We are also happy that  All Quiet on the Western Front has been nominated for an LMGI Award in the category of Outstanding Location in a Period Film. Edward Berger's film, which was also shot in the Czech Republic in 2021, has won numerous international awards including 4 Oscars and 7 BAFTAs.   Petr Růčka was the location manager. Congratulations on the nomination!