Czech Sirena Film shooting Heavy Water War with Anna Friel

Heavy Water War Heavy Water War Per Arnesen

PRAGUE: Sirena Film is in production with the Norwegian TV series Heavy Water War, a WWII story starring Anna Friel.

The series, produced by leading Norwegian production house Filmkameratene and coproduced by Prague based Sirena Film, is spending 40 shooting days in the Czech Republic. According to local press reports, some 95m CZK of the 275m CZK budget will be spent in the Czech Republic.

Heavy Water War, which tells the story of the Nazi’s nuclear weapons programme, is directed by Per-Olav Sørensen. The DoP is John Christian Rosenlund and the international cast includes Espen Klouman Hoiner and Philip Torrens.

Sirena Film has emerged as a leading coproducer and film services company for European films. The company recently completed over 100 days of shooting on the Danish film and eight-part mega-mini-series 1864, the most expensive Danish production to date, and was also the Czech partner on the 2012 Oscar nominated film Royal Affair.

Film New Europe caught up with Sirena Film producer Artemio Benki at the recent Connecting Cottbus pitching forum which Benki was attending on behalf of Czech distribution company Artcam. Benki spoke about the effect of Czech film incentives on production. “Unfortunately what is happening is that if you don’t get the 20% incentives, people are rethinking where to shoot. Now with the 20% incentive in the Czech Republic, we’re really competitive with Hungary. In the past we lost a lot of productions to Hungary,” Benki said. “1864 spent over 200m CZK in Prague, taking advantage of the 20% film incentives. Royal Affair had both incentives and support from the Czech Film Fund (Sirena Film was a minority coproducer) as well as Eurimages money.”

Benki said Sirena Film was looking at working on films from Scandinavia and France, with Sirena as a partner. “The fact that we have the 20% incentives allows us to come on board as coproducers,” he said. Wearing his Artcam hat, he added that the company was also looking at becoming more active in Central European productions. “We expect to start to produce our own documentary and feature films in 2014/2015 with projects originating in Czech Republic,” Benki said.