16. March 2018

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The series Carnival Row from the American companies Amazon Studios and Legendary Television about a detective suspected of murder was among the most costly productions filmed in the Czech Republic since production incentives were introduced. Shooting began in October 2017 and the final scene wrapped on 14 March 2018.

"In the two main units, around 900 people were working in parallel, of whom only about 60 were foreign film professionals. The domestic spend is over CZK 1.5 billion and the allocated rebate more than CZK 261 million," says State Cinematography Fund director Helena Bezděk Fraňková.

"The series was shot entirely in the Czech Republic. All together we had 108 shooting days while prep work, which started already in May 2017, took another five months. We filmed about 60% on sets – the fictional Victorian town was built on the Barrandov Studio back lot, and we had several decorations in stages. We employed some 400 craftspeople and artisans on their construction. We also filmed at the Prachov Rocks, in Liberec, and at chateaux in Frýdlant and Krnsko," says producer David Minkowski from Stillking Features, the Prague-based production company.

The Czech Republic has a fantastic film base. As for artistic craftmanship, there is no assignment that Czech filmmakers cannot manage.

Gideon Amir, line producer

The eight-part series takes place in a fictional neo-Victorian town in which mythical beings, forced to flee their war-torn homeland, live alongside ordinary people. There is growing tension between the growing refugee population and the townfolk. The story follows investigations of a series of murders that leave the city on edge and threaten the fragile peace. Playing the lead role of detective Rycroft Philostrate is Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven). Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina, Suicide Squad, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) plays the fairy Vignette, who is confronted with human prejudices against her own species, but also with a secret that follows her everywhere.

As is usual, several directors worked on the series, in this case Paul McGuigan, Jon Amiel, Andy Goddard and Anna Foerster, who in 2015 directed the feature film Underworld: Blood Wars here in the Czech Republic.

Amazon Studios’ latest series is in line with the trend of costly filmed serials and films that today are shot not just by classic TV stations but increasingly also by online broadcasting companies. In 2017, Amazon filmed an episode of The Romanoffs series here, while a year earlier scenes for the Patriot series were also shot in the Czech Republic.

"Working on serials is very demanding in terms of production. Shooting takes many months and is much more complicated than for films, because as you are filming the scenes for one episode, new episodes are being written and you must in paralell prepare the shoot for the next episodes. It's really like filming two or more films at a time,” explains David Minkowski, noting that in this way Stillking Features did the first series of Genius about Albert Einstein, which was a success for the National Geographic channel in 2017.

But such hard work is not a problem for Czech film professionals, just the opposite. American producer Gideon Amir has nothing but praise for the Czech team: "The Czech Republic has a fantastic film base. As for artistic craftmanship, there is no assignment that Czech filmmakers cannot manage. For anything – literally whatever you want from them – they always have an ingenius solution. But beware, it's just like in a relationship, if you take it for granted, it's not gonna actually work long term. It has to be nourished. You have to take care of quality professionals. The state should cultivate the education of talent,” he adds a caveat.