US boss says Czech Republic should take centre stage as film location


The Czech Republic is trying to re-establish itself as a prime destination for international film and television projects. During his recent trip to the United States, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with American film representatives to discuss the incentives programme for foreign filmmakers hoping to attract more foreign productions to the country.

Photo: Public DomainPhoto: Public Domain During the 1990s, the Czech Republic established itself as one of the top destinations for foreign film productions, offering low production costs and professional staff. Box Office hits from Mission: Impossible to Casino Royale and Oliver Twist were all made in the country. However, the Czech Republic’s unique status started to change with the turn of the century with increasing competition from other European countries. Nowadays, foreign film crews often prefer to shoot in Hungary, Croatia or Bulgaria, which offer better conditions.

Although international film producers started to return after 2010, when the government introduced incentives for film productions, and gradually increased the budget to an annual 800 million crowns, new legislation is currently debated that would make the conditions for foreign filmmakers even more favourable. Minister of Culture Daniel Herman:

Daniel Herman, photo: Martina SchneibergováDaniel Herman, photo: Martina Schneibergová “Until now, it was only possible to ask for film incentives once a year. Under the new legislation on incentives which is now in the Senate, it will be possible to ask for them repeatedly throughout the whole year.”

During his visit to the US, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with former US senator Chris Dodd, the Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, which serves as the voice of the American motion picture industry around the world, who said the Czech Republic has one advantage over other countries:

“There is a long history of great filmmakers coming out of the Czech Republic. There is a history of great product coming out of the Czech Republic, and that helps. You have a relationship going back over years of filmmakers and studios that have had an ongoing good working relationship. And then it comes down to silly things. What is it like to be there? How warmly are you going to be received by the communities? That can have a lot to do with someone making a decision about where they are going to shoot the next films, besides the obvious choices, of course.”

Chris Dodd, photo: United States Congress / Public DomainChris Dodd, photo: United States Congress / Public Domain Mr Dodd has also stressed the importance of building what he called a human infrastructure network:

“Ninety-eight percent of the people who make a film never walk a red carpet. These are carpenters, electricians, make-up artists, truck drivers. When you grow the talent locally, it becomes attractive not just because of the financial incentives. It becomes attractive because you have highly talented people that know how to do this.

Among other issues discussed by the Czech Prime Minister and Mr Dodd was the possibility of having Czech students working with Hollywood studios, which has already been introduced in some other countries.