Lights, camera, Prague: Hollywood stars and big budgets return to the Czech Republic

Netflix, Amazon, Lionsgate, and Sky are among the companies currently shooting or planning large projects in the Czech Republic.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 29.04.2021 12:00 (updated on 02.05.2021)

Movie making in the Czech Republic has returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a statement released by Czech Film Fund (SFK) today. They said that the level of activity has matched the record high of 2019, thanks to a system of incentives which has successfully brought CZK 9 billion of foreign investments to the country.

However, in order to continue to promote the inflow of foreign films to the country, the SFK would like to see the incentives budget raised by another CZK 500 million to match the 2019 level, when the Czech state increased the budget for film incentives to CZK 1.3 billion in a bid to prevent major Hollywood productions from leaving the Czech Republic. 

The recent lockdowns have accelerated the trend of series specifically produced for streaming platforms, as millions of people have watched content at home. Netflix, Amazon, Lionsgate and Sky are amongst the companies that are either currently shooting or planning large projects in the Czech Republic, including new series of Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom and Wheel of Time with Rosamund Pink – so far the largest productions made in the country.

Film incentives, which allow filmmakers to claim back up to 20 percent of their costs, were introduced in the Czech Republic in 2010. However, in other European countries, incentives often run at 25 to 30 percent, and may even reach 40 percent.

According to SFK director Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the movie-making sector has the potential to kickstart the economy after the pandemic: “At present, we are registering an immense demand for shooting in the Czech Republic. As the audiovisual industry has a very strong ability of adaptation and fast revival, it might become a perfect tool to restart employment and business in the post-coronavirus times.” She added that around 60 percent of the investments made by film-makers is spent on the services of other professions, as well as small and medium businesses.

Viewers can look forward to many high profile actors in upcoming Czech productions, including Gillian Anderson and Helen Mirren in White Bird: A Wonder Story, German actor Daniel Brühl in new Netflix series based on Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Hollywood A-listers Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans feature in the upcoming Netflix movie The Gray Man, while Adam Sandler is due to appear in Netflix's Spaceman of Bohemia.

In addition to Carnival Row, Amazon is currently shooting Operation Totems – a Cold War spy romance – and they have just completed filming a third series of the American action drama Hanna, while Lionsgate is currently filming a new adaption of the Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' period novel Dangerous Liaisons.

German broadcaster ZDF have finished filming a family-friendly fairytale, The Dwarf's Nose, but perhaps more in keeping with the mood of the times, shooting continues on Sky's post-apocalyptic thriller Extinction.

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