Czech Republic

Eastern European city a huge find for film

The scoop: A sophisticated infrastructure and experienced crews are what attract big-budget shoots to the Czech Republic and its picturesque capital city, Prague.

“Prague can continue to do big productions like ‘Narnia,’ ” says David Minkowski, topper of Czech production services company Stillking.

This year Teutonic film company Constantin re-created early 20th-century Paris in Prague’s Letnany district for helmer Julien Rappeneau’s “Faubourg 36,” boosting the country’s location business.

Meanwhile, local visual effects and post-production shingle UPP has generated major buzz for its work on “Flight 93” and “Perfume.”

The local film biz also is on the rise, with more Czech films being picked for festivals.

But other Eastern European countries are stealing business from the Czech Republic, with incentives and tax breaks. Foreign spend for 2007 here is estimated at $63.8 million, down 75% over the last three years, and there are signs that the government is finally coming around to the idea of tax credits to lure back production.

Prague Studios chief Tomas Krejci is one of many industryites who believe that the government can’t put off film tax reform any longer. “A new law with a very substantial rebate of around 20% will pass in 2008,” he predicts.

However, the Czech Film Commission’s Ludmila Claussova urges caution, reminding that the government has passed nothing yet.

Bonus: Barrandov Studio’s $4.7 million, 43,000-square-foot soundstage remains the biggest story.

Shot there: “Wanted,” helmed by “Night Watch” director Timur Bekmambetov, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman; “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”; “The Red Baron” with Til Schweiger and Joseph Fiennes

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