Frugal films find foreign locale favorable

Prague is reclaiming its pre-WWII title of Euro film capital. Last fall saw producers scouting the city at the rate of one or two per week. The production boom has spurred predictions of a three-year explosion, spearheaded by feature films.

Extras and skilled craftspeople come at a tenth of the Hollywood cost. In countries where rampant capitalism only recently replaced communism, unions and labor regulations are dirty words.

Even Western actors get around SAG rules by being hired out of foreign addresses.

Prague has doubled for London, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin. Barrandov film studio’s impressive resources have added to the lure, with newcomer Prague Studio increasing the city’s sound studio capacity.

“From Hell,” “Blade 2,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “Bad Company,” “The Affair of the Necklace,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” “The Bourne Identity” and “Hart’s War” are some of the higher-profile titles that shot in Prague over the past two years.

And it’s not just Hollywood feeling the competition coming out of Prague. Local production services say they’re winning projects away from London, New Zealand — and even Canada.

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