PRAGUE — A local production boom translated into an explosion for the Czech Republic-based service and production company, Stillking Films.
The ten-year-old outfit has become a favorite with Hollywood studios looking for dependable, affordable location shooting.
Founder and CEO Matthew Stillman told Variety that the value of films serviced through Stillking more that doubled last year, rising from $168 million in 2002 to $348 million in 2003.
The company also doubled the number of films serviced over the same period.
Last year’s line-up ran the gamut from tentpolers “Van Helsing” (Universal) and “Alien vs. Predator” (Fox) to the mid-range “Eurotrip,” (Dreamworks) and “Tristan and Isolde” (Fox) to bargain basement-priced Czech pic “Sentiment” (Bonton).
While Stillman declined to give exact figures on Czech spend through Stillking, the company claims a 60% share of the total Czech market, including the lucrative commercial market.
Total film spend in the Czech Republic in 2003 is estimated at $300 million, a 50% increase over 2002.
The company capped the year with the December opening of a new office in Capetown, South Africa, which joins sister offices in London, Los Angeles, Milan, Barcelona and Stockholm.
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of the “Cold Mountain” shoot in Romania, local production service companies in that country are optimistic that they can lure new production.
Up-and-comer Silver Bullet recently opened a London office and said it was considering raising money on the London stock market to build a studio in Bucharest.
Czech production companies argue that value for money remains stronger in Prague, and maintain that the Czech VAT refund and absence of fringe tax on labor are the equivalent to a 15-20% incentive.