More international productions heading to the Czech Republic
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech audiovisual industry is buzzing with international projects
After last year’s big-budget productions shot in the Czech Republic (read the news), more international crews are now coming to the country to use its locations and studios. The epic period series Britannia for British channel Sky started production on 26 June and is scheduled to last 145 shooting days. The major, ten-part swords-and-sandals series focuses on the Roman Empire in 43 AD, charting the Roman invasion into what would later become Great Britain, with actress Kelly Reilly as one of the lead characters. One of the series’ producers is American expat Rick McCallum, the producer of the Star Wars prequels, with his Czech-based company Film United. “In recent years, it has mostly been the production teams of period television series and films that have been picking the Czech Republic for shooting, whether it is a story from long ago or one covering a variety of periods in the 20th century. The reasons are mostly the different locations and the creative and craftsman professions that the Czech Republic offers – from décor and set design to costumes and the making of props,” says Czech film commissioner Ludmila Claussová.
The historical drama series Knightfall for the History Channel recounts the fall, persecution and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar between the 13th and 14th centuries. Production on the ten-episode straight-to-series project started in Croatia and subsequently moved to the Czech Republic for more than five months. The series is a co-production by American outfits A+E Studio, Midnight Radio and The Combine, while Czech company Stillking Films is the executive producer. Both series will be shot at Barrandov Studios, which has prepared 30,000 square metres of sets.
From summer 2016 to February 2017, the first season of the series Genius will also be shot in the Czech Republic, for the National Geographic Channel. The series focuses on important innovators, the first season being dedicated to Albert Einstein. American director and producer Ron Howard is slated to direct the first few episodes of Genius, which is being produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, OddLot Entertainment, EUE/Sokolow and Czech outfit Stillking Films. Besides television series, several international film productions will also shoot in the Czech Republic, including Die Vergeltung for ZDF, set after World War II, and Zuckersand. Czech company Sirena Film is readying the Swedish film Borg vs McEnroe, about the 1980 Wimbledon final, while the Bollywood production The Ring, starring Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, will be shot in Prague, as will the Hong Kong action film Adventurers, directed by Stephen Fung, who will shoot in the confines of Prague Studios.