Czech film incentive flaws push pix away

Czech industryites are concerned after actioner “Die Hard 5” opted not to shoot in Prague because of flaws in the film incentive system.

Czech Film Commission topper Ludmila Claussova said the local biz feared that Hollywood would think twice about filming in the country because, unlike its neighbors, the 20% cash-back system adopted in 2010 is not written into law and the funds run out quickly.

She traveled to L.A. earlier this year with foreign minister Karel Schwartzenberg to tubthump the film business, at which time Fox producers for “Die Hard 5” were interested in the rebate available for shooting in Bohemia.

However, this depends on the Czech parliament approving the rebate fund of $16.6 million for another year, said Claussova, who would also like to see the amount raised. Although it’s expected to pass, the doubt is enough to put off producers who need to plan months in advance of a shoot.

Hungary is a more attractive location, with its year-round 20% rebate system and surfeit of modern studios and expert crews.

Local industryites say it’s clear Czech sweeteners need adjusting.

The incentives, like others in Germany, Hungary, France and the U.K., offers rebates on local spends for productions that meet EU-approved criteria. But unlike others, the Czech coffers could run dry after just two big-budget productions, a problem local producers have been cautioning the government about since the system was launched.

Michael Schwarz, a producer for miniseries “Borgia,” which did film in the Republic, said, “Confirmation that the rebate will definitely be available should come at least half a year or more before (shooting starts); otherwise there is no planning security and financing can’t be closed.”

Loss of “Die Hard,” which was expected to lense for three months in Prague beginning in February, is keenly felt at at a time when there are no other major films booked.

Czechs remain hopeful that another Fox production, Brad Pitt-starrer “The Gray Man,” which has already secured a Czech rebate of $233,000, will come in 2012.

Fox did not respond to requests for comment.

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