9. January 2023

Alternativní text obrázku

German productions often come to shoot in the Czech Republic to work with local filmmakers. In the case of the new Bonn TV series, however, the Czech production company Wilma Film, together with a large part of the local crew, went to Germany to work on the shoot there as well. The Czech crew consisted of nearly thirty actors in addition to technical and creative staff.

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Photo: ARD/Odeon Fiction/ Zuzana Panská

“Most producers come back to us over and over”

Last year, producer Fabian Winkelmann of Odeon Fiction decided to shoot the Bonn TV series for ARD Television in the Czech Republic. Half of the shooting days – a total of 41 - took place in the Czech Republic from March 30 to June 5, 2021.

Wilma Film handled local production for the project, from the prep work through post-production. In addition, they worked on the filming in Cologne and organized the full shooting schedule for the entire series.

Most producers come to us repeatedly, which also sets the amount of trust that a Czech producer has," says Filip Hering of Wilma Film, explaining further: “I think we generally provide a high level of service and facilities for foreign projects.

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Photo: ARD/Odeon Fiction/ Zuzana Panská

Creative and technical crews

The production company assembled a Czech crew that made up more than two-thirds of the 120-member crew. It consisted of an assistant director and his team, a production team, a make-up and costume team, as well as technical components such as camera crew, lighting, set design, construction, catering and, of course, actors.

Czech filmmakers are hired across the professional spectrum. In general, this includes local technical units and a service production team. But it also includes creatives, such as make-up artists, production designers, art directors and others.

Foreign production costs and production incentives

The total eligible costs of the foreign production of the Bonn series that qualified for production incentives totalled CZK 118,286,880 (EUR 4.87 million / USD 5.13 million)

This is the amount that the German production spent in the Czech Republic on Czech filmmakers, suppliers, and services not only during filming itself, but also during the preparation and post-production on the purchase of various materials and goods, crew accommodation, and catering. The production incentives amount to CZK 23,438,233 (EUR 965,000 / USD 1.01 million).

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Photo: ARD/Odeon Fiction/ Zuzana Panská

Competitiveness of the Czech film industry

The suitability of the locations, without which filming would be impossible, and the availability of production incentives are equally decisive," Filip Hering says on Czech competitiveness compared to neighboring countries. 

German productions often come to us with projects set in the near or distant past, because filming them in Germany would be difficult and expensive. Wilma Film, for example, after completing Bonn, set in the 1950s and 1960s, is now shooting a story about the Nibelungs from the early Middle Ages.

Berlin to Prague: 4 hours by car

Logistics also play a relatively big role - it’s closer to Berlin or Munich from Prague than from Bucharest and takes 3-4 hours to get there by car. We can’t argue too much about price, because Romania or the Baltic States, but also Poland, are cheaper,” says Hering on other criteria that are decisive for foreign production.

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Photo: ARD/Odeon Fiction/ Zuzana Panská

Prep: Location search

Wilma Film started the prep work by searching for locations that were contemporary to the storyline. Bonn, a political thriller featuring real German politicians, is set during the Cold War. The six-part series about double agents tells the story of a family whose members are haunted by their own Nazi past. 

Regional film office involvement in the project

Regional film offices, of which there are currently ten in the Czech Republic, assist location managers and productions with identifying interesting locations. Filip Hering confirms that he often works in particular with the Liberec Film Office, as well as the Ústí Region Film Office and the Central Bohemia Film Office.

The series Bonn was filmed in Děčín, Jánská, Nová Oleška, Liberec, Králový Dvůr, Dolní Beřkovice, Mladá Boleslav, Vinařice, Libušín, Křivoklát, and Prague.

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Photo: ARD/Odeon Fiction/ Zuzana Panská

Casting and costume rehearsals

The casting of 27 Czech actors was another important task. Czech actors are usually cast in supporting roles, primarily due to their lack of language skills.

This was followed by costume and make-up rehearsals for the entire project, with the German actors coming to Prague for this purpose.

Green filming in the Czech Republic

The filming itself took place partly in the Czech Republic, partly in Germany, and then post-production was a cooperative effort.

The principles of sustainable filmmaking, with which Wilma Film has long experience, were followed. Where possible, this means limiting the use of diesel generators and monitoring energy consumption.

The set is made from materials that can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, and after filming, all props, costumes, and purchased or manufactured set components are recycled by offering them to other projects or users.

Bonn premieres on January 11, 2023.