The Victorian fantasy series “Carnival Row,” starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, has wrapped its post-COVID shoot in the Czech Republic. The series, produced by Amazon Studios and Legendary Television, is the biggest spending production ever to shoot in the country.
The show’s second season began filming on Nov. 11, 2019, but was halted by the country’s pandemic shutdown on March 12, with only two weeks of shooting left. International shoots in the Czech Republic were allowed to resume on May 7, but U.S. productions held back until agreements were in place between Hollywood studios and unions.
Among other big-budget series shooting in the country are “Wheel of Time” (Amazon Studios), “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (Marvel Studios), “Haunted” (Netflix), and “Das Boot” (Bavaria Fiction), as well as the movie “Transatlantic 473” (Netflix).
The Czech Film Commission, together with its parent body, the Czech Film Fund, the Audiovisual Producers Assn. and the European Institute for Health and Safety in Film Industry, began work on preparations for restarting production immediately after the shutdown. The result was the first self-regulatory guidelines on the European continent. https://filmcommission.cz/en/self-regulatory-recommendations-samoregulacni-opatreni/
The Czech Film Fund, in cooperation with the Czech Ministry of Culture, has helped issue documentation that has allowed international cast and crew to enter the Czech Republic with minimal delay. Immediately before arriving in the country, cast and crew members are tested for COVID-19, and are tested again immediately after arriving. They then remain in quarantine until the test results are available, which is within two to six hours. Amazon Studios and Legendary Television took additional precautions including testing the cast and crew several times a week.
Producer David Minkowski from Stillking Films, “Carnival Row’s” Prague-based production services company, said: “The Czech film industry was hard hit due to the global coronavirus shutdown. I appreciate that the Czech government acted fast and provided great support in order to restart film production. Since the country re-opened May 7, international production has returned quickly. It’s a testament to the amazing cast and crew of ‘Carnival Row’ that it was one of the first global shows to get back on its feet and complete filming. To be sure, we adopted strict health and safety protocols even though the presence of the virus in the Czech Republic is low.”
The series takes place in a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological creatures whose exotic homelands were invaded by the empires of man. This growing population struggles to coexist with humans — forbidden to live, love or fly with freedom. The first season followed the investigation of a series of murders that leave the city on edge and threaten the fragile peace.
Around 900 people worked on the production, of which only about 10% were foreign crew members, according to the head of the Czech Film Commission, Pavlína Žipková. Of this number, 400 were craftspeople employed in the construction of the sets that went up at Barrandov Studios.
Season two showrunner, Erik Oleson, said: “The craftsmanship of our Czech crew is second to none, among the best I have ever seen in 30-plus years in the business. The massive sets of ‘Carnival Row’ are built out in such meticulous detail that you wouldn’t know you’re on a back lot. You can walk its streets and alleys and directly into buildings that are functional working sets of their own. What would be prohibitively expensive to construct and film elsewhere is not only possible in the Czech Republic, the locals make it happen for a reasonable price and with a smile.”
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