Czechs Anticipate Studio Boom With New Stable Film Funding System in Place


Studios in the Czech Republic are looking forward to a business upturn thanks to a new law that supports annual production incentives to local and international productions.

A new law on film incentives – overwhelming approved by Czech lawmakers last December after years of opposition from right-wing President Vaclav Klaus, who stepped down in February, guarantees an annual fund of over $16 million for film and TV features, documentaries and cartoons.

Producers can access 20 percent of in-country spend up to a maximum of $770,000 for full length features for projects shooting in the Czech Republic.

The Czech Cinematography Fund, established under the new law, is a much more stable partner for producers than the earlier system, where the funding pot was subject to annual parliamentary wrangling, fund CEO Helena Frankova in Cannes told The Hollywood Reporter.

“The key thing is that this is now a state fund, not a culture ministry fund, which means we now have a more stable system of funding,” said Frankova, who as a senior culture ministry official helped steer the new law through parliament.

“Everything is better for the filmmakers and producers because money can be pledged and paid out over more than one financial year,” she added.

The earlier system – set up despite twice being vetoed by President Klaus who opposed public subsidies for the film industry, was widely criticized for lack of budgetary guarantees that forced producers to bid as early in the year as possible for funding whether their projects were ready or not.

The new system – which allows for subsidies of up to around $513,000 for animated films or series and $154,000 for documentaries, is likely to do much to help revive the film industry in the Czech Republic, where low costs and highly professional crews were factors in creating an international film boom there in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“Currently we have around 20 incoming projects, including the BBC television series The Four Musketeers and Ridley Scott’s Child 44," Frankova said.

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