Producers claim they're losing biz to neighboring countries

PRAGUE — Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has rejected a plea to expand the country’s film production incentives even as he acknowledges they help the local economy.

Culture Minister Alena Hanakova, echoing many local bizzers, had been urging the government to boost the rebates cap, set since 2010 at $15.9 million per year, by another $5.3 million, pointing out that projects shooting in the first part of the year use up the funds, leaving nothing available until the following January.

After reviewing a study of the program’s progress, Necas nixed pleas for more money.

Prague producers claim the Czech Republic is missing out on a significant number of shoots that are lured to neighboring countries, including Hungary and Germany, which don’t cap production rebates, while other Eastern European locales offer cheaper labor and resources.

The Culture Ministry’s figures estimate that the Czech incentives pay for themselves by returning some 18% over the amount given to productions in the form of services, employment and tourism spends and would bring in a higher ratio still if they were expanded.

The first year of the system helped attract an installment of “Mission: Impossible.” Cable series including “Missing 2″ and “Borgia” have aided biz for the last two years.

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