17. September 2019

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Film tourism in the Czech Republic on the whole is still in development. The Liberec Film Office has already made great progress in this direction and organizes guided tours – ‘In the Footsteps of Film’ – in which even Liberec locals will learn new and interesting things about films and series shot in their city. Now, they began offering a guided tour called ‘In the Footsteps of Spider-Man’.
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Spider-Man: Far From Home is the latest blockbuster from the American film studio Marvel Studios, subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios. It is no coincidence that Liberec was chosen to film certain scenes. Originally, though, the masked hero was going to web-sling around Old Town Square in Prague, but thanks to the well-established cooperation of the Liberec Film Office with Czech production company Stillking Films, the production decided to shoot in the centre of the Northern Bohemian city. That meant closing off the entire main square, something that would have been quite complicated in Prague.

Preparations began in March and filming started this September 2018. “It was donkey work, for sure, but fortunately we didn’t have too tight a schedule – everything was done with time to spare – from arranging to closing off the square to making certain local residents and businesses knew what to expect,” adds Liberec Film Office head Pavlína Sacherová. The production spent three weeks in Liberec. From the start, they kept it quiet that they were working on a new Spider-Man movie. Everyone involved had to sign a pledge of secrecy, and the film was shot under the name Bosco. But some journalists learned the truth – people met leading man Tom Holland in a local bar. One hardcore female fan even finished his tacos after he left the bar.

Tales from the film set Each film shoot is a bit different, with different problems to solve and pitfalls to avoid. The preparation and implementation of a great action film has its own specifics. Let’s have a peek behind the scenes at a few interesting ones.
  • Liberec stood in for Prague in the film. “There is also one treat for eagle-eyed viewers – a villain dies as he lies on a manhole cover on which Liberec is written. Hardcore fans will get to know Liberec,” explains Barbora Hodačová, a colleague of Pavlína Sacherová, with a smile.
  • Apart from a giant Ferris wheel or a carousel rented from France, also in the film was the latest Audi model (at the time, not yet on the market). Scenes on the main square were shot from a helicopter that flew from Hradec Králové, with a French pilot at the controls. During scene changes, he circled around the square, because extra take-offs and landings are costly. So, the scene changes had to be rehearsed with great precision. The Liberec Film Office also had to give the local emergency services advance notice about the aerial shots.
  • Superhero movies are full of action scenes, explosions, fires and shooting. Due to concern about the historic buildings on the square, in the end most of the big pyrotechnic effects were done in post-production.
  • Film productions have finally begun to “think green” in recent years. No plastic bottles were allowed on the set. Everyone got their own recyclable cup and filled them as needed.
  • The fair decoration brought a positive atmosphere to Liberec and literally brought locals together. “I was a bit worried during the filming of Spider-Man, because sometimes people complain about productions. But there was a very nice atmosphere during filming. The production erected carousels, market stalls and installed a lot of lights on the main square. Locals walked around, greeting each other, chatting – all of which helped create a friendly vibe. During night-time shooting, when stress and fatigue are not uncommon, it was wonderful that the people of Liberec could have such fun,” explains Pavlína Sacherová.
In 2018, 38 foreign films and series shot in the Czech Republic and benefited from the production incentives scheme. Their total expenditure in the country was nearly CZK 5 billion. According to the Czech Film Fund, the production costs of shooting Spider-Man in the Czech Republic amounted to almost CZK 200 million.

Liberec after Spider-Man And how about shooting in Liberec today? “Filmmakers keep coming back here. The biggest project we are cooperating on right now is the Czech Television series Zrádci (Traitors), which the city of Liberec also supported financially,” adds Barbora Hodačová from the Liberec Film Office. Liberec remains open to filmmakers and film fans. Take a guided tour – ‘In the Footsteps of Spider-Man’ or ‘In the Footsteps of Film’. It is definitely worth it! You can find the upcoming schedule on the Facebook page of the Liberec Film Office.