You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Czech Producers Urge Politicians to Raise Incentives as Rivalry Heats Up

Taika Waititi's 'Jojo Rabbit,' starring Scarlett Johansson, is shooting in Czech Republic

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic – Czech film producers are demanding the government step up its game if the country wants to have any chance of remaining competitive as an international filming location.

“We used to be the leaders,” said Kevan Van Thompson of Prague’s Czech Anglo Productions, a company with a long record of partnering with Western producers. “Now we are following.”

Speaking at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival at a conference of the Audiovisual Producers Association, the primary Czech film industry org, Van Thompson and other local leaders said the production rebate incentives passed in Prague in 2011, which remain at 20%, are no longer enough.

With Romania having just passed a 35% incentives scheme and Hungary doing brisk business for years with rates of 25% and more, Czech producers are now lobbying their parliament to kick in for additional sweeteners.

Overall feature film production is down slightly for the second year running in the Czech Republic, the APA reported Monday, with foreign shoots off $24.6 million in 2017 from the previous year. The foreign production total for 2017, $142.6 million, is also down from the same time two years previously, when those shoots’ spending peaked at $167.3 million.

Van Thompson, whose company co-produced “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” starring Jessica Chastain, and is partnering with New Zealand comic actor-writer Taika Waititi on “Jojo Rabbit,” a provocative Hitler youth fantasy sendup starring Scarlett Johansson, says production in the Czech Republic is still relatively robust – but only because work is spilling over from Hungary, where studios are at capacity.

Petra Ondrejkova of Prague-based Amazing Productions says the quality of Czech crews, known to many foreigners for their remarkable abilities to affordably create the look of almost any period in incredible detail, is still a major selling point.

But this can also have a downside, she adds, pointing out that the most talented crew members tend to be hired by foreign companies, leaving their countrymen behind as they move on. “We are losing those people,” Ondrejkova said.

One hopeful note, APA executive Katerina Weissova said, is that the Czech Cinematography Fund doubled its kitty in recent years, to $16.7 million in annual support for film productions.

So far, said Van Thompson, Czech government officials have been responsive in talks about raising the level of incentives for foreign producers, though no specific plan has yet been formulated.

A new incentives law will need to be passed to properly address the issue, setting the rebate rate in stone. In some of the 24 countries in the European Union with some form of incentives, the rate is set as policy, not law, and is thus more vulnerable to changes when a new government administration comes into office.

An APA study released Monday indicates that only four of the European nations offering incentives still remain at 20%. “The remaining countries offer to international producers significantly more accommodating commission conditions,” the report states.

More Film

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Buddha in Africa

    More than Half of Films at Hot Docs Film Festival Are Directed By Women

    More than half of the films playing at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, are directed by women, the Canadian event said Tuesday. The festival’s 26th edition, which runs April 25-May 5, will screen 234 films, with 54% of the directors being women. In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films receiving their world [...]

  • Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office

    Korean Distributors Fight for Box Office Market Share

    Korean distributors are having to fight ever harder for their share of Korea’s theatrical market share. Threats on the horizon include a slide in the performance of local movies, consolidation, the arrival of new players and the challenge from streaming services. South Korea’s theatrical box office is now bigger than that of France or Germany despite [...]

  • Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in

    Korean Distributors Learn to Downsize in Saturated Market

    In 2018, the Korean film business stumbled, as local films made with blockbuster budgets and targeting the usual high seasons of Chuseok and Christmas last year failed to deliver blockbuster earnings.  So Korean distributors have embraced some tactics to enhance their bottom lines.  Genre films “Monstrum,” “Fengshui,” “The Negotiation,” “Take Point,” “Swing Kids” and “Drug King” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content