26. September 2005

The Czech Ministry of Culture has contracted Olsberg|SPI, the London-based strategic advisory firm, to conduct a study of the local film industry's effects on the Czech economy and to make recommendations as to how local conditions can be made more attractive to film-makers. Radomir Docekal is managing director of the Czech Audiovisual Producers' Association (APA), which is helping coordinate the study. Until May of this year, he had been CEO of Barrandov Studios. "For many people in the public and politics, film is still mainly an art, but we want to show that it's also an industry - that it's employing people and creating tax revenue for the state," he said. In a statement to ScreenDaily.com, SPI said it would be collecting data to establish the value of production activity to the Czech Republic. SPI said the study would examine the current environment for attracting runaway productions and the challenges faced by local producers, in order to make specific recommendations for offering long-term, strategic support to enable the sector to continue to grow as a major European centre for film-making. The SPI study is to be concluded by mid-December. The most reliable picture of the Czech film industry so far comes from surveys of APA members. According to the most recent APA study, orders for services for production of feature films, videos and commercials in 2004 stood at just over $83m (CZK 2bn), the lowest since 1999. Docekal said these numbers, while valid, only show results for APA's roughly 50 members. While many would like to see the Czech Republic introduce tax incentives like those in place in Hungary and Romania, Docekal insists the necessity of such incentives is not a foregone conclusion. "If we wanted to come to this conclusion, we wouldn't do the study", he told ScreenDaily.com. Based in London, Olsberg|SPI is a leading strategic consultancy specialising in film, television and new media. Since 1992 it has provided strategic policy advice and business planning services to public bodies and companies across Europe and in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.