Foreign productions fuel the Czech audiovisual industry

– Big plans for Amazon, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ZDF and Sky help revitalize local industry which could reach all-time high of 2019

Margrete – Queen of the North, one of the first pandemic 2020 shoots (© SF Studios / Julie Vrabelova / Sirena Film)

2019 turned out to be a banner year for the Czech film industry in terms of foreign investment. A strong local system of film incentives has drawn major international projects to the country, totaling nearly 80 feature films and episodic productions, with streaming giants Netflix and Amazon becoming the country’s biggest spenders (read news). Once the pandemic hit the Czech Republic, measures implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus threatened to cut film productions by 75% (read news). However, the Czech Republic became the first country in mainland Europe to reopen to foreign filmmakers after the domestic industry developed and implemented self-regulatory recommendations as a form of protection against the coronavirus during filming, this which allowed the reopening of film sets from the middle. From May 2020 (read news) while avoiding similar disruptions when the second wave of the virus hit the country.

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“More and more multi-year projects are being shot, the intensive preparations for which involve expensive months of building sets and making special props, costumes and masks. Such projects are also filmed in Czech regions, where teams spend funds on rentals, accommodation, meals and other services, as well as the use of premises as extras and site security. It is a welcome decentralization of Prague, facilitated by a strong network of regional cinema offices aimed at helping filmmakers, ”notes the Czech cinematography commissioner. Pavlína Žipková. By opening up to foreign filming in May, the Czech audiovisual industry has shown its flexibility to quickly adopt the necessary measures in the face of new circumstances triggered by the pandemic, recalls the Czech Cinema Commission. The amount of work planned in the Czech Republic by foreign studios suggests that 2021 could fully offset the disruption of 2020 and even bounce back to the pre-pandemic highs of the record-breaking year of 2019 (read the news), when foreign productions spent 347 million euros in the country.

In addition to Netflix’s most expensive production to date, The gray man (read the news), other projects to shoot in the Czech Republic include a Cold War-era love story between two spies, Operation Totems, for Amazon, a new adaptation of the novel Dangerous Liaisons through Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (Lionsgate), the apocalyptic series of Sky Extinction and a Netflix adaptation of the Czech writer’s sci-fi novel Jaroslav Kalfař, Bohemian Spaceman, featuring Adam sandler. Amazon’s two-season fantasy series The wheel of time, which completes the shooting of the first season which will be immediately followed by the production of the second, and Carnival Row, remain the largest foreign productions in the country.

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