Prague studio spruces up with reshuffle

PRAGUE — Prague studio Barrandov has shaken up its management, replacing CEO Radomir Docekal with Veslava Piegzova, a finance wiz brought in from Moravia Steel, the majority owner of the venerable Czech production facility.

As the Prague production scene heats up with talk of Barrandov likely to host the next James Bond film — and possibly the next “Harry Potter” as well — insiders say the change is a first step as the company tries to become a more aggressive, marketing-savvy company.

By handling more production services inhouse, Barrandov stands to gain a larger slice of the $300 million-a-year spent on production in Prague.

Until now, most of this business has gone to firms like Stillking and Etic, which rent out space at Barrandov. Still to be seen is whether Barrandov — which has already undergone attempts at modernization under Piegzova’s predecessor — can compete with leaner and better-connected production services outfits.

Piegzova, who confesses she has few Hollywood relationships and no background in film, said Barrandov will continue financing new facilities and added its traditional low-return slate of Czech productions is “not going to be one of our priorities.”

She has said pointedly in interviews that Barrandov’s new revenues will not be siphoned off by the studio’s financially strapped owners, a frequent accusation in the past.

She did not discuss the possibility of a partial or complete sell-off of Barrandov’s 11 soundstages and 40-acre back lot, long a threat by Moravia Steel and something that would interest many in Prague.

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