15. May 2016

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What are the benefits of filming in the Czech Republic for foreign producers? Filming in the Czech Republic will save productions money and make them look great. Our highly-experienced crews have worked on countless international productions and offer outstanding expertise and production value so more of the budget ens up on the screen. In addition, the Czech Republic is conveniently nestled in the heart of Europe, making travel arrangements and location moves a breeze. The variety that filmmakers find in our country is just amazing. Czech locations present memorable period or modern looks and beautiful natural wonders. Our historic architecture lets our cities double for Paris, London or nearly any other European city. We also have sound stages of all sizes, adaptace backlots, excellent post facilities, and state of-the-art equipment. What about incentives? Do you offer any? Czech Republic offers very competitive incentives since 2010, making it one of the most cost-effective filming destinations in Europe. International film and TV productions can qualify for cash rebates of 20% of local spend, plus an additional 10% rebate for international cast and crew. The government just increased the funding for the incentives and allocated 33 milion USD per year from the state budget over the next three years. And our Prime Minister just returned from Los Angeles, where he discussed the incentives with studio executives. It’s great to have a government that supports our industry.

What productions are taking place in the Czech Republic this year? There are a number of projects filming in the Czech Republic in 2016. These include some high-profile period films and television productions. Currently being shot is the feature Interlude in Prague, based on the true-life events of Mozart’s visit to Prague in 1787, centering on the creation of his opera Don Giovanni. Additionally, two big shoots are prepping now and will be filming until December – the historical TV series Knightfall, as well as Britannia, a 10-episodes epos. ABC Studios just filmed a pilot for their TV series Spark. We hope it will be picked up, and they will return to Prague to film the whole season in the summer. Also filming are German TV projects The Glassblower (Die Glasbläserin) and the two-part miniseries State Justice (Landgericht) for the German television station ZDF, with more to come soon. How does the Czech Film Commission help filmmakers? We are the most comprehensive resource for information about filmmaking in the Czech Republic, from legal requirements and permits, to talent and useful tips about production issues filmmakers didn’t even think of yet. We will connect them with service providers, crews, facilities and other partners, and assist them with preliminary location scouting. We will also consult filmmakers on the incentive program and how to get the rebates. Another aspect of the Czech Film Commission’s mission is to serve as the liaison between the film industry and local authorities. We listen to the Leeds of the industry with the aim of creating beneficial conditions for filming. What kinds of crew professionals are available for film and TV productions in the Czech Republic? There is such a depth of experienced crew people available that we can accommodate the largest and most demanding productions. Our crews have world-class skills, are used to working 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week, and speak English, German, French and other languages. It’s common for international producers to arrive with only their director, lead actors and a few department heads. They staff the rest of their teams locally. For instance, 2016’s Mozart-themed film Interlude in Prague staffed 90% of their crew of 175 in the Czech Republic. Available are experienced professionals for all departments, from all levels of camera crew, lifting and sound technicians, visual effects specialists, stuntmen, animal trainers, horse wranglers, simply any profession and position. Would you point out one department? One particular profession? One of our top groups of professionals work in the art department. We have award-winning production designers and art directors, most of whom have cut their teeth on the many design-heavy period films that have been shot in the Czech Republic. For example, if you look at the films and series shot recently in our country, you will see the majority being historical adventures - shoots which demand a lot of construction, decoration, costumes and props. Why do you think that is? Czech art department crews take advantage of the amazing resources at their disposal in our country. In Prague you will find one of Europe’s largest collections of period costumes, from medieval garb to recent fashions. Czech tailors regularly help filmmakers adapt existing pieces and create entirely new wardrobes on demand. There are also thousands of props: historical furniture, firearms and other weapons, and hundreds of historical vehicles - horse-drawn and motor, military and civilian. The skillset of Czech design craftsmen also extends beyond carpentry and painting to stone masonry, blacksmithing, woodworking and upholstery. You will be hard-pressed to find better in the world. Some recent standout work by our designers includes Martin Kurel receiving a César for his work on Marguerite. Another excellent designer is Ondrej Nekvasil, whose credits include Underworld 5 (2016), Snowpiercer (2013), and such TV shows as Crossing Lines (2014) and Missing (2012).

Besides Prague, where else in the Czech Republic should filmmakers take their productions? As beautiful as Prague is, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer in many other locations. In fact, the diversity and easy accessibility of locations is one of the main reasons filmmakers keep returning to the Czech Republic. From idyllic countrysides to industrial wastelands, the regions of our country can offer a great range of storytelling possibilities. Our landscape is a tableau of beautiful lakes, rolling hills, deep forests, and snow-capped mountains. It also has the highest concentration of period castles and chateaux in all of Europe as well as former military bases and camps, old factories and even mines that can be molded to your production. What’s more, we have partners in the regions who can help filmmakers get the most from the locations. Together with the Audiovisual Producers’ Association and CzechTourism, we have also instituted the initiative Film Friendly Region to give additional focus to the most welcoming film regions of the country.

What do you like most about this job that you’ve held for 12 years? It’s been a very rewarding 12 years. I love promoting what I truly believe in. I am convinced that the Czech Republic is a great, beautiful country, with professional filmmakers who love what they do. That’s really an amazing bonus of the work - I love communicating with passionate, creative people who want the best for their productions. It’s also such a privilege that I can constantly rediscover and get to know better my own country thanks to organizing and taking part in many location scouting trips to the regions.