Country Focus: Czech Republic
Local production plummets in 2008
by Theodore Schwinke
- The Czech film industry shrank last year, according to figures released Friday by the Audiovisual Producers Association (APA). Total direct spend in the Czech Republic stood at CZK 3.5bn in 2008, down 29% from the year before.
The Czech film industry has shed more than 1,500 jobs since 2003 — 1,200 of those in the last year alone.
“The figures are tragic. They could hardly be any worse,” said Negativ producer and APA president Pavel Strnad.
There was some good news among the gloomy figures, however. More money than ever went into local films. Producers invested CZK 880m in the production of Czech features in 2008, roughly a third more than in 2007. Last year local films in the Czech Republic enjoyed a market share second only to French films in France. Eleven of the top 20 films on the Czech market in 2008, and the top three box-office films in the territory so far this year, are local productions.
But the volume of international feature film production plummeted from CZK 2.1bn in 2007 to just CZK 705m — less than Czech features and less even than the volume of commercials shot in the country.
Producers point to the figures in their demands that the Czech government introduce financial incentives for film. Last week, political leaders from the left and right acknowledged the need to help the film industry, and Barrandov Studios announced that it would offer discounts to local filmmakers.