Record number of Czech movies for 2008

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2008 will be record year for Czech cinematography, with 32 full-length features scheduled for release. That‘s the highest number since the former Czechoslovakia split in 1993 and nearly double the 18 films that were released in 2007, according to Czech Union of Film Distributors (www.ufd.cz).

Among the most anticipated features are the World War Ii film Tobruk by director Václav Marhoul, two new titles by Jan Hřebejk, Children of the Night by Michaela Pavlátová and About Parents and Children by Vladimír Morávek.

The most expensive film ever from Central Europe, the Czech-Slovak-Hungarian-British co-production Bathory by Juraj Jakubisko with a budget of more than €11 million, is set for release in Czech cinemas on Feb. 19.

The main reason for the big boost in production is Czech films is an influx of money. Under a law that took effect Nov. 21, the Czech State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography will be supplemented by revenues from advertising on state-controlled Czech television. The fund is to receive about 425 million crowns (€15.9 million) for new film projects in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Of that amount, 100 million crowns is set aside for the current year.

In addition, Czech Television (www.ceskatelevize.cz) is investing 134 million crowns into 11 of the 32 new titles in 2008, said spokesman Ladislav Šticha, more than double its 63-million-crown investment in nine movies in 2007.

Private companies have also increased their funding. For example, German-based RWE Group, which owns gas company RWE Transgas in the Czech Republic (www.rwe.cz) , will spend more than 25 million crowns in 2008.