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Czechs Present Enhanced Production Incentives to Hollywood Producers

Kate Beckinsale, above, will star in 'Underworld: Next Generation,' which will shoot in Prague

The Czech Republic is making adjustments to its production incentives to make it easier for studio films and other big-budget productions to access the cash rebate.

The country offers filmmakers who shoot there a 20% rebate on the Czech production costs and 10% on above-the-line expenses. The Czech Cinematography Fund, which administers the program, has allocated approximately $49 million to 71 film and television projects that are shooting this year and next.

Ludmila Claussova, the Czech film commissioner, is meeting with studio executives and independent producers in Los Angeles this week to present the benefits of the enhanced production rebates. The Consulate General of the Czech Republic and the Czech Film Commission hosted a discussion on the topic Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

The rebate will no longer be subject to a yearly cap. Producers will be able to register at any time and immediately receive a registration certificate that guarantees payment of the rebate upon fulfillment of all conditions. Likewise rebates will be allocated throughout the year, and producers will be able to choose to receive their grants in two parts: once upon completion of filming in the Czech Republic and again after the completion of all Czech production. The changes are due to come into effect next year.

“Many territories offer filmmakers incentives in the form of tax credits, but the Czech plan is different in that it actually gives producers cash grants once they finish their production,” Claussova said.

“The planned changes in the scheme will make the system even friendlier and more flexible for film productions. It will be a great opportunity to show that the Czech film industry is capable to meet any challenge to the benefit of all sides,” she said.

“The first half of 2015 has confirmed what last year already showed: The successful rebate scheme is drawing more and more foreign productions to the Czech Republic,” Claussova added. “The next six months look even more promising, and we are thrilled to welcome several big-budget productions, including some from the U.S.”

Lakeshore Entertainment is in pre-production in Prague on “Underworld: Next Generation,” the fifth film in the action-horror franchise. Kate Beckinsale will reprise her starring role in the film, with Roland Emmerich collaborator Anna J. Foerster directing. Shooting starts in October.

“We are really looking forward to bringing ‘UW5’ to Prague this fall,” said Richard Wright, Lakeshore’s executive VP and head of production, and the producer of the film. “The Czech Republic has world-class locations, great production facilities and international-caliber crew, as well as a straight-forward, efficient production rebate. It’s a great place for us to be,” Wright said.

Another upcoming production is “Anthropoid,” based on the true story of the assassination of a leading Nazi figure by Czech paratroopers. “Fifty Shades of Grey” actor Jamie Dornan stars alongside Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception”) and French actress Charlotte Le Bon (“Yves Saint Laurent,” “The Hundred-Foot Journey”). The film is produced by LD Entertainment from the U.S. and 22h22 from France with Prague-based Lucky Man Films.

Historical events are also the basis for “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” about a Polish couple who saved hundreds of people and zoo animals from the horrors of World War II. Two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Help”) will star in the film, which is produced by Scion Films from the U.K. and Rowe/Miller Productions from the U.S., along with Czech Anglo Production. Pre-production is under way, with filming scheduled to begin Sept. 21.

Fox 21 has begun filming the second season of “Legends”; the first season shot in California. The crime thriller stars Sean Bean (“Game of Thrones,” “Lord of the Rings”) as a deep-cover operative. Stillking Films is the Czech producer on the production.

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