16. September 2020

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Filming and prep are in full swing in the Czech Republic for numerous projects. Thanks to the timely restart of full audiovisual production on May 7, just two months after the state of emergency was declared, the country has significant experience with a large number of shoots. Based on these experiences, self-regulatory guidelines are continuously updated.

Czech filmmakers returned to work more or less immediately - first on domestic projects in May, and then in June on several international projects. The large international productions affected include among others Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom (Amazon Studios / Legendary Television), the European co-production Margrete - Queen of The North, the family film Hui Buh (Constantin Film), as well as the sequel to Zurich Crime (ARD). Several foreign films and series are currently shooting, including a respectably large number of foreign commercials.

The rate of COVID testing of Czech crews is 100%. On all sets, body temperature is measured and recorded daily and testing takes place at least once a week, but for those in front of the camera and the director, testing takes place more frequently, usually every third day. However, there are also projects that test their entire crew daily. The crews and cast are the responsibility of the “COVID department”, which can number ten or more people on international projects, depending on the size of the project. The “new normal” is the job of a team of COVID-19 disease prevention officers who are responsible for everyone involved, including one-time vendors. On set, there is usually a “COVID Supervisor” with several assistants; a "COVID Marshall", whose job is largely administrative connected with this new production department, including compiling reports; a “COVID Hygienist”, a “COVID Medic”, and the “COVID Security Crew”, who are deployed on set and in the base camp to oversee safe spacing and compliance with hygiene rules.

Luděk Herda, who works as COVID Marshall, describes his work: “The work of our COVID team is divided into several phases. Firstly, we must continuously obtain as much relevant information as possible on COVID-19, how it spreads, and how to prevent its transmission. It is important to update workflows based on the latest information. In cooperation with government hygiene officials, occupational safety workers, infectious disease specialists, and film producers, we then draw up detailed regulations for individual departments. However, the most important task for the COVID team is to get the entire film crew on their side. The moment the crew understands the need for all the safety measures, we’ve won at least half the battle. Automatic use of protective masks, maintaining safe distances, and constant disinfection guarantee a smooth shoot.”

Tomáš Krejčí, producer at the Czech company Milk & Honey Pictures, also has experience stemming from the ongoing shooting of an international project: “First of all, I have to thank the whole crew - their discipline is the foundation of success, both on set and off. It’s not just about strict rules for the set, but also about how people behave in private.”

According to film commissioner Pavlína Žipková, filmmakers need to adjust to the “new normal” and continue to shoot without over-exaggerating the situation: “According to experts, the coronavirus will be present globally for another 2 to 3 years - audiovisual production simply cannot be stopped for that long. Producers must adjust to the fact that COVID can appear on their set and then deal with the situation when it occurs. If the rules are strict, as they are here in the Czech Republic, and the crews are divided into groups that do not interact, then the risk of a suspended shoot is minimal. And should it happen, the stoppage will last hours to a couple of days.”

In order for foreign filmmakers to have the most beneficial conditions for their work in the Czech Republic and despite the continuously-changing conditions of various countries for cross-border transport, the Czech Film Fund, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, issues documentation confirming performance of economic activities in the interest of the Czech Republic, on the basis of which filmmakers can travel to the Czech Republic from countries more affected by coronavirus.

Updated self-regulatory guidelines for safe filming, cross-border transport, and procedures in case of on-set infection can be found on our website.


Some of the projects currently in preproduction or production: Wheel of Time (Amazon Studios), The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Disney / Marvel Studios), the third seasons of Haunted (Netflix) and Das Boot (Sky / Bavaria Fiction); Transatlantic 473 (Netflix), Allmen (ARD), Z.E.R.V. (ARD).