5. June 2011

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Representatives of the Czech Film Commission were in the United States this week with a Czech government delegation by Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg. Minister Schwarzenberg and other delegates met with U.S. filmmakers to discuss potential film projects as well as ways to make the Czech Republic's production rebate more effective, both for the Czech state and for producers. “We are happy the government and Minister Schwarzenberg understand the film business and the positive effects it has on the Czech Republic's economy and image abroad,” said Czech Film Commissioner Ludmila Claussova. “Filmmaking creates thousands of jobs and billions of crowns in revenue. It is also an essential part of Czech culture and an excellent marketing tool to promote our country internationally.” Minister Schwarzenberg spoke with producers in Los Angeles, where the Czech consulate hosted a film business breakfast June 1. Filmmakers at the breakfast also heard from Claussova, Entertainment Partners Vice President Joseph Chianese and Benson Berro, KPMG, who discussed the Czech rebate scheme. At the breakfast, and in subsequent meetings with studio executives, Minister Schwarzenberg assured filmmakers that he will work to improve the rebate. In particular, Minister Schwarzenberg wants to consider increasing the rebate's reserve fund, which has had difficulty keeping up with producers' interest. Producer Jeffrey Chernov also spoke at the June 1 meeting, sharing his experiences filming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in the Czech Republic last autumn. “It was very valuable to hear Mr. Chernov's point of view,” Claussova said. “When producers are so satisfied with Czech crews, locations and facilities that they want to tell other filmmakers about them, that's the best endorsement there is.” While in Los Angeles, Claussova attended the AFCI Locations Trade Show 2011, June 3–5 at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, visited major studios and met with studio executives.