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Film rebate may not be enough to pump Czech biz

New Barrandov sales exec pushed for local production

Incentives for foreign productions are fine but don’t count on them to revive business.

That’s the advice of Petr Tichy, the new sales director at Barrandov, the Czech Republic’s biggest studio complex.

Russia and Germany are ready to do more business in Prague, he added, but American producers “only want to talk about the incentives.”

With foreign productions at an all-time low, the news in June that the European Commission had approved the Czech Republic’s 20% rebate for foreign pics filming in the country was seen as a lifeline.

But with a newly elected government in place, no one’s sure how long the sweetener will last.

“The biggest problem is political uncertainty about whether the money will be available next year,” Tichy said.

In the meantime, it makes sense for Euro filmmakers to look closer to home, said Barrandov execs, who are also eager to take on the producer role more often.

They’re now tubthumping local scribe Jiri Hubac’s “Salon Gruber,” which follows the fortunes of a trendy Jewish fashion boutique maven in 1939 as the Nazis close in.

Studio plans to build on business already coming in the door from Central and Eastern Europe, citing Nikita Mikhalkov, who shot part of his sequel to “Burnt by the Sun” at Barrandov last year. Alexander Sokurov moved in for the Russian-German-Austrian-Czech co-production “Faust” last summer.

That brought shoots to nearby castles in Lipnice, Sazavou and Ledec, as well as the town of Kutna Hora.

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