Czech government wants better film incentives to boost industry growth

The amendment aims to smooth out the funding approval process and keep Czechia on the map of attractive filming locations for big-budget productions. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 12.10.2023 11:00:00 (updated on 13.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Ministry of Culture has proposed an amendment to the Audiovisual Law to address the issue of blocked film incentives, ministry spokesperson Jana Zechmeisterová told ČTK. The proposed changes aim to ensure that the State Film Fund can support domestic and foreign production projects.

The government discussed the amendment on Tuesday, and its proponents suggested that the Chamber of Deputies should approve the draft law in the first reading.

Currently, the Fund is overwhelmed with incentive applications, leading to a backlog and preventing domestic projects from moving forward. This also discourages foreign productions from filming in the Czech Republic. The proposed amendment would allow the Fund to accept incentive project registrations continuously and suspend the process when funds are insufficient.

The Czech state earmarked CZK 1.4 billion for incentives this year. However, there are concerns about the Ministry's plans to reduce support for film incentives by CZK 200 million in next year's budget.

Rosamund Pike on a Czech location in 'The Wheel of Time.' (Photo: Amazon)
Rosamund Pike on a Czech location in 'The Wheel of Time.' (Photo: Amazon)

Filmmakers and the audiovisual industry worry that this could negatively impact the country's competitiveness and popularity among foreign crews. Foreign productions currently spend around CZK 14 billion per year in the Czech Republic, and further reducing incentives threatens the entire system.

American productions have not been able to shoot in recent months due to the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike and have therefore not received incentives. Minister of Culture Martin Baxa compared the film industry to a living organism, saying that the proposed changes were significant "so that the system of incentives works smoothly" and allows the State Cinematography Fund to offer its support to domestic and foreign production projects.

Upcoming projects that will benefit from state funding

In related news, the State Film Fund recently approved seven film projects out of a total of 27 submissions, and will disburse a total of CZK 62.5 million to support them, Cineuropa reports.

The selection includes a musical comedy-drama, a horror story, and the adaptation of a Czech bestseller. The Wild Hunt, directed by Marek Najbrt, received the largest funding of CZK 15 million; a tale set during the Thirty Years' War and inspired by an ancient German legend, the horror movie aims to be a metaphor for contemporary issues.

Two other projects received CZK 10 million each. Directed by Bohdan Sláma, and starring former First Lady Dagmar Havlová, Seesaws talks about unconventional friendships and the challenges of aging. Based on a true story, Hana is the cinematic adaption of acclaimed author Alena Mornštajnová's book telling the story of several generations of women who lived in modern Czechoslovakia.

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