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The Czech government to pump more funding into film incentives this year


- The €23 million injection should enable the country to replicate last year’s record turnover fuelled by international shoots

The Czech government to pump more funding into film incentives this year
Netflix's The Gray Man, one of the high-profile productions filmed in the Czech Republic last year

The Czech audiovisual industry surpassed pre-COVID results last year, exceeding the turnover from 2019 (see the news). International projects accounted for CZK 8.73 billion (€358 million) in 2021, which represents 70% of the audiovisual industry's total turnover. The post-COVID filming boom caused the entirety of the film incentives allocated for 2022, to the tune of €32 million, to be depleted even before the year began. Since the whole amount of allocated funding had already been divided among the projects planning to shoot in the Czech Republic, the Czech Film Fund stopped accepting applications for more film incentives - and such incentives are a strong motivation for foreign film crews to shoot in the country. Due to the suspended incentives, international productions started to leave the country, as stated by the Czech Audiovisual Producers’ Association.

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The association argued that long-running international series and feature-film projects shot in the Czech Republic, such as The Wheel of Time (see the news), Carnival Row (see the news) and The Gray Man (see the news), make use of a wide range of domestic services. The quality of these services, and the incentives, attracts crews working for large international platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple (see the news). They employ 20,000 people and spend CZK 9 billion (€369 million) a year. Sixty percent of this sum is spent on non-film goods and services, and “the money invested in incentives is returned tenfold”, explains the Czech Audiovisual Producers’ Association.

After negotiations between representatives of the association, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance, the Czech government decided to increase the funding for film incentives by an additional CZK 570 million (€23 million) this year. Further funding is planned for 2023 and 2024. “We very much welcome the fact that this is a systemic solution on the part of the government. The increase in the amount of incentives to cover the liabilities incurred is linked to a longer-term reform of the incentive system. For the audiovisual industry, this means stability and the possibility for further growth. The boost to the incentives will have a significant economic effect during the financial crisis, and the money spent on foreign projects in the Czech Republic will also be of benefit to non-film professions and the state budget,” said the president of the Czech Audiovisual Producers’ Association, Vratislav Šlajer.

“The film incentive system as we have known it up until now has become outdated in recent years. The demands of foreign productions have risen steeply over time, and the audiovisual market has undergone some dramatic changes. Instead of dealing with the increasing demand from productions in a systematic way, past governments have poured extra money into the system above the planned budget, based on an on-the-spot decision. The system has thus become completely unpredictable,” explains Minister of Culture Martin Baxa.

This is why the Czech Audiovisual Producers’ Association has also been calling for the reformation of the existing incentive system and the transformation of the Czech Film Fund into the Czech Audiovisual Fund (see the news). Among this year’s large-scale projects filmed in the Czech Republic are a remake of James O’Barr’s comic book The Crow, starring Bill Skarsgård and FKA Twigs; the German-Norwegian thriller The Seed; the second season of the Apple TV+ sci-fi series Foundation; the Anne Frank miniseries A Small Light; and the Chris Hemsworth-starrer Extraction 2, among others. In addition, Robert EggersNosferatu has already registered to shoot in the country.

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